In the process of drafting and adopting international legal documents, each participating state should ensure its participation is effective, i.e. it should ensure that its views and national interests are incorporated. However, this article argues that China's participation in the activities of the International Law Commission as well as at the International Court of Justice has not been effective, in contrast to the practice of the United Kingdom and the United States. In order to be a true leader in international affairs that has the capability to influence the course of legal developments, China should improve the quality and extent of its participation.