School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Elzbieta Maria Pron

Elzbieta Maria Pron
Start Date:

Research Topic
International institutions in Chinese foreign policy – the case of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 

Research Supervisors
Supervisor 1: Prof. Stephen Morgan (School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham)
Supervisor 2: Dr Zhengxu Wang (School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham)
External Advisor: Dr Miwa Hirono (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies)

Short Research Summary  
In 1991 China concluded that the promotion of its development could be achieved through participating in and shaping of international multilateral cooperation. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), co-established by China, Russia and three Central Asian republics in 1996 and institutionalized in 2001, was a mechanism that could serve this goal. Drawing from the literature on China’s multilateral engagement and the post-1991 Sino-Central Asian relations, analyses of the SCO documents, and the interviews conducted in China and Central Asia, this thesis looks at how China has used the SCO in its foreign policy objectives in Central Asia. This central question is broken into three sub-questions, the first about China’s objectives concerning Central Asia, the second on the role of the SCO institutional framework in furthering them, and the third on what China’s experience with the SCO reveals about China’s behaviour in international institutions. The thesis begins with the analysis of China’s multilateral engagement from the perspective of the constructivist, realist and liberal theories of International Relations to conclude that the realist schools provide the best explanations of China’s foreign policy choices. Then, it looks at China’s objectives in Central Asia and Central Asian expectations from China. The core of this thesis is the study of how the SCO security, economic and energy institutions correspond with China’s objectives in Central Asia. The findings reveal that China has used the SCO for ideational purposes, to promote a friendly environment for its foreign policy objectives both in Central Asia and beyond. The thesis also exposes similarities between China’s use of the SCO security mechanisms, particularly the joint military exercises, in Central Asia and China’s similar international engagement beyond the SCO. The study contributes to the knowledge of China’s foreign policy and its behaviours in international institutions.


  • 2002 – 2007 M.A. in Chinese Studies. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland)
  • 2007 – 2009 M.A. in National Development. National Taiwan University (Taiwan R.O.C.)


  • Pron, E., 2014, “China energy diplomacy via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”, in: Herrerias, Yao (eds), 2014, Energy security and sustainable economic growth in China, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 52 – 73
  • Pron, E., 2012, “Chinese Perceptions of Putin Reelected”, Asian Politics and Policy, vol. 4, issue 4, pp. 587 – 591
  • Pron, E., 2012, “Taiwanese dITlomacy (sic) in Kazakhstan”, accessible at the University of Nottingham China Policy Institute (blog entry)
  • Pron, E., 2012, “Putin regional policy challenges China”, accessible at the University of Nottingham China Policy Institute (blog entry)
  • Pron, E., 2011, “The killing of bin Laden: policy implications for China”, in: CPI Briefing Series, issue 69, accessible at the University of Nottingham China Policy Institute

Teaching and research

  • Nov. 2014 – Jun. 2015 university teacher at the University of Silesia Institute of English Language, M.A. course in English with Chinese, subjects taught: Chinese-Polish translations, English-Chinese translations (Katowice, Poland)
  • 2012, Autumn term lecturer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Academy in Bishkek, M.A. course in Security and Politics, subject taught: China and Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
  • Feb. 2012 research fellow at the American University of Central Asia, Central Asian Studies Institute (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
  • Dec. 2011 – Jan. 2012    research fellow at the Kazakhstan Institute for Management, Economic and Strategic Studies (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
  • 2011, Autumn term    research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Center for the SCO Studies (Shanghai, China)

School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Si Yuan Centre
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: 44 (0) 115 846 6322
fax: 44 (0) 115 846 6324