Chinese populism in the 1920s, extraterritoriality and International Law

Wanshu Cong
2020 Revista de Direito Internacional  
Recent scholarship and commentaries on populism and international law often focus on the rise of right-wing populist regimes in contemporary politics. This paper invites a shift of attention to populism in the (semi)colonies in the process of national liberation and anticolonialism, in order to achieve a more historically and socially informed understanding about the relationship between populism and international law. The paper chooses the populist movements in China against
more » ... extraterritoriality and imperialism in the 1920s. I will ask what particular frustrations and ideologies motivated the populist movements in the 1920s. Drawing on Laclau's theory, I will analyse why and how exactly these movements were populist. In addition, the direct and indirect consequences of the Chinese populism will be examined to understand its ramifications not only on the revision of unequal treaties and the dismantling of extraterritoriality, but more broadly on the development of international law. Using this historical episode, the paper highlights populism's emancipatory potential of mobilising resistance against repression and correcting systemic injustice, as well as the intrinsic ambivalence of such potential.
doi:10.5102/rdi.v17i2.6611 fatcat:tusnarbl5jbh7cw7bu5rt32ore