Domestic Politics and the International Community: A Case Study of China's SARS Policy in 2003

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Virginia Tech

A distinct feature of contemporary politics is the involvement of international forces in a state's domestic politics, and vice versa. Despite the plethora of literature on the international system and comparative state politics, relatively little addresses the interpenetration of international and domestic systems in intermestic issues. This thesis explores intermestic processes. It argues that states' domestic policies are increasingly formed in an intermestic context and such intermesticity has brought states a dilemma between maintaining effective domestic control and achieving integration into the global economy. This thesis examines China's SARS policy formation in 2003 as a case study. How did the internal health problem come to be addressed in an intermestic context in a country noted for its tight domestic control and long-term aversion to foreign intervention? The question is approached through a textual analysis of the story of China's SARS policy development. This study also identifies the patterns of international influence on China's domestic politics, particularly in the SARS crisis. I interpret the intermestic dynamic as a learning process through which China has chosen to embrace international institutions in its pursuit of national interests in a globalized world.

Chinese Politics, SARS Policy, International Community, Intermesticity