The ISIS’ killing of a Chinese national and as more Chinese travels internationally, exposing them to terrorism attacks, pose a question whether China will join the anti ISIS bandwagon.
China, has maintained a Non-intervention foreign policy anchored on Mao Zedong’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which has guided China’s foreign engagement since 1954. Mao Zedong is the founder of the People’s Republic of China.
The anti- ISIS worldwide campaign as well as intensified calls for international coalition to fight terrorism may push Beijing to review its foreign policy. Demands for action was made intense on Friday after three Chinese citizens were killed in the Mali Hotel siege.
Quoting China’s forceful reaction to the barbaric act, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Hong Lei said, “the Chinese government opposes all forms of terrorism and firmly cracks down on any violent and terrorist crimes that challenge the baseline of human civilization.”
Political analyst expressed doubts on the degree and level of ISIS violent behavior inflicted upon Chinese citizens or China’s sovereignty that could trigger a retaliation. But, China may not launched a frontal attack as what other countries do but may be working on the sidelines.
But how should a global power like China behave to protect its own citizens and its own interests? Totally, China will not abandon its non-interventionist foreign policy and its people is not yet ready to respond militarily to combat ISIS or to meddle in the Middle East squabbles.
A more active anti-terrorism fight in foreign lands is very slim. According to Jingdong Yuan, a Chinese defense and foreign policy academic from the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, “The Chinese government prefers a position of non-interference and diplomacy.
China had begun participating in international activities in peace – keeping missions and maritime piracy. One area of cooperation that the country is open to engage in is collaboration in non-combat pursuits and sharing of intelligence.
The Chinese government has other battles that take high priority than the ISIS and terrorism. Internally, it is dealing with its own “war of terror” in the ethnic unrest in Xinjiang for years. China’s overwhelming power is displayed in the much “talked about” South China Sea disputes.