P23. China’s Role in Asia

Session: Session 4, 8:30 – 10:00 am, Saturday 9/30

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Humanities

Chair: My-Xuan Hillengas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenters: Tiantian Cai, Yaroslav Komarovski, Trang Nguyen

To Defend the Peace of Asia: The Chinese Peace Committee and Visions of Asian History, 1949-60

Speaker: Yasser Nasser
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of Chicago
Abstract: In recent years, scholars have made strides in furthering our understanding of the People Republic of China’s (PRC) engagement with countries in the so-called ‘Third World’. Despite this, little has been said about the ways in which these this solidarity was grounded in a shared understanding of regional, and post-colonial, temporality. Focusing on the activities of the Chinese Peace Committee in the 1950s, this article uses the organization’s various outreaches to actors in Japan and India on the grounds of a shared ‘Asian’ history to understand how the PRC was able to position itself to both foreign and domestic audiences as a leader in the fight to preserve a decolonized Asia in the early Cold War.

Chinese Foreign Aid Allocation and Local Elite Preferences: Lessons from Southeast Asia

Speaker: Paul Un
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: UIUC
Abstract: Abstract: In the growing literature on foreign aid competition, Southeast Asia remains consistently neglected. In Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, China appears to be winning the aid competition, both against the United States and against its fellow ‘emerging donor’ rivals – including India, South Korea, and Thailand. As mainland Southeast Asian countries eschew other donors, China gains increased access to export markets and the ears of political elites. This paper asks how China has come to dominate in the Southeast Asian foreign aid competition, since its emergence as a major donor in the mid-2000s. This paper makes use of evidence from government documents, geolocation data, and extensive study of the Cambodian case. I find that China has edged out its donor-competitors by better coordinating its aid agenda with the preferences of recipient-side ruling party elites. By giving local elites more say in the aid allocation process, Chinese donors have fostered an environment of party-to-party cooperation, created a fertile environment for foreign direct investment, and have generally brought mainland Southeast Asia further into China’s geopolitical fold. Key words: Foreign Aid, China, Southeast Asia, alignment strategy, foreign direct investment