January 23, 2015
International Institutions and China’s Health Policy

by Yanzhong Huang

Over the past several decades, growing transnational health challenges and the multiplication of global health norms and processes seeking to address these challenges have led to an intensified exchange between various global health actors, including nation-states, international governmental organizations, public-private partnerships, and nonstate actors. Scholars contend that with this complex web of transgovernmental networks, the only way for states to realize and express their sovereignty is to participate in international institutions of all types (Slaughter 2004). To most countries accustomed to the concept of sovereignty-as-autonomy, however, this development also means that they have to increasingly subject their domestic policy structure to the influence of international institutions. The dilemma could be particularly distressing for an emerging superpower such as China, which remains sensitive to issues of national sovereignty.

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