The South China Sea is one of the most important bodies of water in the world, strategically, economically and in China, as the content of this blog often suggests, politically.

The aim is to provide a window into the conversations taking place within China regarding the country’s South China Sea territorial and maritime disputes with its six co-claimants – Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia – plus the U.S., India and any other foreign power that weighs in.

The author is Andrew Chubb, a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University of Western Australia, who is researching the relationship between Chinese public opinion and PRC foreign policy on territorial disputes. My project was prompted by the rising claims of “rising” nationalism as an influence on the Chinese party state’s behaviour, which i am attempting to put to the test on the South China Sea and Diaoyu issues over the period 2007-2014.

Research questions include:

  • What is the nature of Chinese public opinion on different territorial issues, and how is the party-state shaping its development in the era of the Chinese internet?
  • How do different foreign policy actors within the party-state make use of public opinion (or the appearance thereof) for their own purposes, and to what policy effect?
  • When do the PRC’s actions actually accord with hawkish or nationalistic strains of Chinese public opinion?
  • When does Chinese foreign policy defy nationalistic trends in public opinion, and how does the party-state handle the issue domestically?

If you have knowledge of or interest in these issues, please get in touch, either by leaving a comment or by sending an email to achubb ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com.

Regarding translations of comment threads, note that while i try to focus on the comment threads with large numbers of ‘participants’, there is no implication that these conversations are representative of any significant proportion of the PRC population. One percent = roughly 13 million people. 0.1% = 1.3 million.

As a non-native reader of Chinese, i especially welcome clarifications, corrections and comments.


Political beliefs and biases after the jump. It find it helpful to state them, both as a disclosure for others and to keep track of them myself, but it’s largely off-topic so i’ve put the page a click away. I’ll try to frequently update it (winky face). [More.]

5 Comments on “About”

  1. Con Vẹo says:

    Since when Indonesia became one of the claimants in South China Sea? What kind of doctoral candidate is that? (LOL) You don’t know a thing Andrew.

    • Andrew Chubb says:

      Thanks Con Veo, i’ll take your comment in the spirit of robust scholarly exchange!

      Of course Indonesia doesnt claim sovereignty over any disputed features there, but i must have missed the news that Indonesia has dropped its claim to exclusive economic right in the southern SCS, and canceled its agreed maritime boundary with Vietnam (the one that intersected with the southeastern dash of the PRC nine dash line).

      And the Natuna Islands – are they no longer part of Indonesia, or no longer in the South China Sea?

  2. Emily Hoble says:

    Dear Andrew,
    My name is Emily Hoble and I am an IR undergraduate studying at the University of Exeter. As part of my final year, I am enrolled in a module called ‘War and Public Opinion’, led by Jason Reifler. Jason has asked us to find an original article to use as a springboard for a quantitative essay. As I am sure you are aware, most of the literature regarding public opinion addresses that in the US. However, having just returned from living in China for a year and about to begin writing a dissertation on China, I am keen to focus on Chinese Public Opinion. As a result, I was drawn to your article published by the Perth USAsia Centre, ‘Exploring China’s Maritime Consciousness’.
    Unfortunately, Jason has told me that I need to access the original dataset for this article in order to use it as a basis for my essay. I have emailed the Perth USAsia Centre but have yet to receive a response. I would be greatly appreciative if you would be able to give me any further information about how/if it might be possible to access the dataset. Please let me know if this isn’t possible so that I can begin to make alternative essay arrangements!
    Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it.
    Yours sincerely,

  3. […] of a many minute contention of a South China Sea can be found on a South Sea Conversations website, run by Andrew Chubb an Australian academic. The South China Sea website has a extensive set of […]

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