in: International Studies Quarterly, 59:1, 23-33.
Critics frequently accuse China of acting as a patron for autocratic states. But does Chinese engagement actually increase the stability of authoritarian clients? This article demonstrates that Chinese bilateral interactions have little effect on the longevity of autocratic regimes. Analyses of different forms of Chinese bilateral engagement between 1993 and 2008—including state visits, arms trading, aid projects, economic cooperation, and trade dependence—show that only export dependence on China may increase the likelihood of survival for autocratic regimes while doing little to stabilize their democratic counterparts.