Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Timothy Welliver


Observing Chinese foreign policy means looking through a clouded lens. A foggy image can be made out, yet specific details are left undefined. The Chinese reaction to the 1990s First Gulf War is a case in point. The perspective is opaque, yet we can still gather an understanding of important changes in China’s policies. The author provides insights not only into China’s foreign and military policy but also on Chinese-Arab relations. In analyzing China’s reaction to the war, we can see it was indeed a transformative period for China’s strategy in the Arab world. China reacted to the Gulf War in a substantial way, and there has been little scholarship exploring how these changes impacted Chinese ideology. This study will focus on the two decades surrounding the First Gulf War. This was a watershed moment for Chinese military, United Nations involvement, and arms sales, but it further demonstrated a shifting ideology in Chinese government and politics. At the First Gulf War’s onset, the “technocratic turnover” in the Communist Party leadership had already begun, and Maoist communism was dying. The war marked the final abandonment of Maoist-era principles in favor of more pragmatic, Technocrat-era principles.