Julia Bader, Christine Hackenesch | 2020

Networking with Chinese Characteristics: China’s party-to-party relations in Asia

in: Kneuer, Marianne/Demmelhuber, Thomas (eds.), Authoritarian Gravity Centres: A Cross-Regional Study of Authoritarian Promotion and Diffusion, New York: Routledge, 225-248.

China recently articulated its ambition to shape the regional and global order and to share the lessons of its own experiences with one-party rule. One of the key actors tasked with implementing this shift in Chinese foreign policy is the International Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP-ID). The CCP-ID maintains the kind of collaborative network that is hypothesized to be a channel of policy diffusion and learning. Offering a first exploration of this under-researched aspect of China’s foreign policy, this chapter systematically compares the activities of the CCP-ID in five of China’s close neighbors to better understand the patterns of interaction and, even more importantly, the topics and content of engagement. Party-to-party relations are used for both promoting China’s foreign policy interests and diffusing authoritarian practices. Our comparison of the CCP-ID’s activities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Japan suggests that these objectives and the CCP’s cooperation strategies vary considerably across countries, regime types, and domestic power structures.

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