Abstract: This article explores how International Studies as a scientific discipline emerged and developed in China, against the background of a Sinocentric world order that had predominated in East Asia for a long time. The argument of this article is threefold. First, the discipline relied heavily on historical, legal, and political studies, and placed a heavy focus on the investigation of China’s integration into the Westphalian system. Second, studies of International Relations were grounded in a problem-solving approach to various issues China was facing at various times in the course of modernisation. Third, the historical development of International Studies in China has had a profound impact on the current IR scholarship in both the PRC and Taiwan, including the recent surge of attempts to establish a Chinese School of IR theory in China and the voluntary acceptance of Western IR in Taiwan. By way of conclusion, the article suggests that there is still an indigenous Chinese site of agency with regards to developing IR. This agency exists despite the fact that in the course of the disciplinary institutionalisation of IR Chinese scholars have largely absorbed Western knowledge.