lørdag 23. mai 2020

Sinophobia in Central Asia is real. But does that translate into a threat to China’s lasting presence in the region?

In the less than three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, China has emerged as a key player throughout Central Asia. Yet, despite increasingly prominent political, economic, and security relations, China for most Central Asians remains a little known, poorly understood, and even feared country. Since the 2000s, articles critical of Beijing’s policies have proliferated in Central Asian media. Over the past three years, several demonstrations have been organized in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to challenge the Chinese “soft expansion” in the region. Aware of the potentially negative impact of increasing Sinophobia on its foreign policy, China has countered with public diplomacy and soft power policies, including in Central Asia.

However, is Beijing succeeding, or will it succeed, in reversing this trend in the region? And could Sinophobia jeopardize China’s presence and relationships?