CDT Bookshelf: Joshua Kurlantzick Recommends “China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the Twenty-First Century”

For the CDT Bookshelf, China Digital Times invites experts on China to recommend a book to CDT readers. This month, Joshua Kurlantzick, a visiting scholar in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s China Program and author of Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power is Transforming the World, recommends China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham, and Derek Mitchell, M.E. Sharpe, March 2007. Kurlantzick writes:

EisenmanOver the past two years, China has emerged onto the global stage, with China’s growing relations with , Latin America, and other regions forcing Beijing to confront issues ranging from local governance to global environmental standards to peacekeeping to international aid policies. Until recently, China, which had for two decades pursued a defensive foreign policy, had little impact in these areas of the world. China-watchers had little idea if Beijing was developing coherent strategies and tools in its emerging foreign policy. China itself often seemed caught by surprise by intense local reaction to China’s growing power – reactions both positive and negative – in nations like Zambia, where anger at poorly-managed Chinese investment has led to widespread protests against China.

In the new book China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the Twenty-First Century (M.E. Sharpe, released Mar 2007), editors Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham, and Derek Mitchell, and a range of authors, offer the first in-depth examination of China’s policies toward Central Asia, Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, and . Each essay focuses on China’s relations with one region, and offers a relatively exhaustive survey. The section on , which synthesizes Chinese and Southeast Asian sources, is one of the strongest. It debunks conventional wisdom that China’s growing presence in that region necessarily means a diminishment of American influence. Taken together with the thoughtful introduction, the essays also expose common themes in China’s strategy towards the developing world, including China promoting the idea that Beijing, as a non-Western power, offers a unique kind of cooperation with the developing world, that China will embrace regional multilateral groups while the US focuses on bilateral relations, and that China will offer an alternative to the conditionality and standards of Western and multilateral lending institutions.

Read also:

* The Table of Contents of China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, as well as comments about the book.

* “China’s New-Rich and Global Responsibility” by Joshua Eisenman and Devin Stewart

* More about Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham, and Derek Mitchell

* An excerpt of Joshua Kurlantzick’s book Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power is Transforming the World, via Newsweek.

* More writing by Kurlantzick, via CDT.

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