Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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China's Energy Security: Going Beyond the Traditional Approach

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Version 2 2023-03-13, 23:55
Version 1 2021-11-10, 22:16
posted on 2023-03-14, 23:27 authored by Gao, Yang

China's rapidly growing economy has seen a sharp rise in energy consumption and correspondingly a new focus on energy security. Over the last decade, China has adopted an energy security approach emphasizing its external energy supply, especially oil supply, which is quite similar to the approach established in industrialized Western countries (IWCs) since the 1970s' energy crises. However, China‟s energy situation is profoundly different from the West with over 90 percent of its energy being produced domestically and nearly 70 percent being coal-based. To explain why the approach in China is similar to that of major IWCs, I demonstrate that while the IWCs constructed their energy security concept and subsequent policy responses on their energy situation, China's approach has largely been influenced by a domestic ideational factor and Western energy security concept. By providing a detailed examination of China's energy situation, highlighting the unique energy security vulnerabilities and threats it faces, I argue current mainstream energy security thinking in China does not match its comprehensive energy situation. It is therefore not adequate to address its energy security challenges. The thesis concludes that, a 'broader' energy security approach, going beyond the traditional thinking, should be developed to incorporate more energy sectors and domestic energy issues in China.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Capie, David; Huang, Xiaoming