This thesis examines the evolution of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) foreign policy to the Middle East from 1949 to 2008. Using a historical analysis approach, it argues that in the past fifty nine years, the policy has changed from ideology orientated to economic oriented, from idealistic to pragmatic, and from reactive to pro-active. The reasons behind these changes are mainly due to the changing situations within and without the PRC. It concludes that in the near future, the PRC may not confront the US's policy in the region, but instead will actively engage with Middle East countries with soft power attraction. Combining the research results of almost all the existing literature on this topic in English and available sources in Chinese as well as interviews with Chinese scholars and diplomats, the thesis offers an updated overview of the complicated and yet seldom known history of the PRC's involvement in the Middle East.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Joel Beinin

Committee Member 1

Michael Reimer

Committee Member 2

Martina Rieker

Document Type



93 leaves


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Call Number

Thesis 2008/49