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RECOMMENDED READING: “China’s Sticks and Carrots in Central Europe: The Logic and Power of Chinese Influence”

December 13th, 2020 15:05

A Czech think tank has released an out­stand­ing and detailed report on Chine influ­ence efforts direct­ed against four Cen­tral Euro­pean coun­tries. The Aso­ci­ace Pro Mez­inárod­ní Otázky (Asso­ci­a­tion for Inter­na­tion­al Affairs) report begins:

As Chi­na ris­es, it has increas­ing­ly come to be per­ceived through the prism of pow­er pol­i­tics, includ­ing attempts to carve out spheres of influ­ence. Such con­cerns have pri­mar­i­ly focused on East Asia and the broad­er Asia-Pacif­ic region, but through China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI) announced in 2013 also cov­er far­ther-flung ter­ri­to­ries like Sub-Saha­ran Africa, Latin Amer­i­ca or Europe.In some of the regions, such as in Cen­tral Europe (CE), Chi­na is a new­com­er and thus with­out an infra­struc­ture which would allow it to pull the levers of direct pow­er. CE may thus pro­vide an inter­est­ing case study of the strate­gies and tac­tics Chi­na employs to estab­lish its influ­ence from scratch. While Chi­na can cer­tain­ly apply its pow­er direct­ly against Cen­tral Europe, the extent of its impact is lim­it­ed due to the geo­graph­ic dis­tance of the coun­tries and their geostrate­gic loca­tion (thus prac­ti­cal­ly nul­li­fy­ing the pos­si­ble use of China’s mil­i­tary hard pow­er), the rel­a­tive­ly low lev­el of mutu­al eco­nom­ic exchange (which lim­its the effects of pos­si­ble eco­nom­ic sanc­tions) and, until recent­ly, the nar­row scope of polit­i­cal rela­tions (which puts in doubt the impact of diplo­mat­ic sanc­tions). This study maps the tools Chi­na employed in order to gain influence.

Read the entire report here.

Ear­li­er this month, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed on a promi­nent Euro­pean law­mak­er said to be act­ing as an agent of Chi­nese influ­ence in the Euro­pean Parliament.