Facilitative Leadership and China’s New Role in the World

Zhimin Chen, Guorong Zhou

Chinese Political Science Review. Oct 2017 [Link]


China is becoming a more influential actor in the world, being a key factor in global climate governance and international development. While the Chinese government is still avoiding the term “international leadership” in its official discourse, China is in practice exercising international leadership and is bound to assume more leadership in the world in coming years. This article explains the reasons behind Chinese reluctance to embrace a leadership discourse, and attempts to develop the concept of facilitative leadership, based on existing Chinese leadership practices, to solve the conceptual problem and to ensure a sustainable and constructive leadership role in world affairs. The key features of a facilitative leadership are collective rather than hegemonic leadership, attractive rather than coercive leadership, win–win rather than solipsistic leadership, and empowering rather than patronal leadership.


This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.