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: Over the past two years, China has emerged onto the global stage, with China’s growing relations with Africa, 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 Southeast Asia. Each essay focuses on China’s relations with one region, and offers a relatively exhaustive survey. The section on Southeast Asia, 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 ...
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