Title

Undermining Western democracy promotion in Central Asia: China’s countervailing influences, powers and impact

Date of Publication

2017 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Political Stability

Keywords

China, Central Asia, democracy promotion, autocracy promotion

Description

This article examines whether and to what extent China’s involvement in Central Asian countries undermines the democracy promotion efforts of the European Union and the United States. Findings confirm that China does indeed challenge Western efforts, but in an indirect way. First, Chinese provision of substantial and unconditional financial assistance makes Western politically conditioned aid appear both ungenerous and an infringement of sovereignty. Second, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, inclusive of China’s leadership role, creates an institutional means through which the (semi-)authoritarianism of member states is legitimized and challenges Western emphasis on democracy and human rights. Finally, by the power of its own example, China demonstrates that democracy is not a prerequisite for prosperity, the rule of law and social well-being.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Undermining Western democracy promotion in Central Asia: China’s countervailing influences, powers and impact

This article examines whether and to what extent China’s involvement in Central Asian countries undermines the democracy promotion efforts of the European Union and the United States. Findings confirm that China does indeed challenge Western efforts, but in an indirect way. First, Chinese provision of substantial and unconditional financial assistance makes Western politically conditioned aid appear both ungenerous and an infringement of sovereignty. Second, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, inclusive of China’s leadership role, creates an institutional means through which the (semi-)authoritarianism of member states is legitimized and challenges Western emphasis on democracy and human rights. Finally, by the power of its own example, China demonstrates that democracy is not a prerequisite for prosperity, the rule of law and social well-being.