The Chinese Question in Central Asia: Domestic Order, Social Change, and the Chinese Factor

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Since the early 2000s, the People's Republic of China has become a key player in the fortunes of Central Asia, particularly by partnering with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Economically, China is one of the largest traders and investors in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, drastically reducing Russia's long-time dominance and the influence of the United States and Europe. Confronting the external conditions contributing to this rise, along with the domestic developments ...

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Overview

Since the early 2000s, the People's Republic of China has become a key player in the fortunes of Central Asia, particularly by partnering with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Economically, China is one of the largest traders and investors in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, drastically reducing Russia's long-time dominance and the influence of the United States and Europe. Confronting the external conditions contributing to this rise, along with the domestic developments transforming Central Asia into such fertile territory, this volume takes a rare look at contemporary change in Central Asia and China's role in the region's current remaking. This book opens a window onto these developments and their implications in domestic and global spheres.

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Editorial Reviews

Colin Mackerras

This is a multifaceted and timely contribution to the literature on the role and influence of China and Chinese in contemporary Central Asia. I strongly recommend this book to scholars interested in social change in Central Asia and the interrelationships between China, Chinese, and this fascinating process.

Elizabeth Wishnick

Laruelle and Peyrouse have written a detailed and multifaceted analysis of the economic, political, and societal interactions between China and the five Central Asian states. Thanks to their extensive fieldwork, they document a rich spectrum of views on China among students, researchers, business people, and ethnic communities within the Central Asian states. More importantly, they show how the encounters between China and the Central Asian states over the past two decades act as a prism through which we can assess how these societies grapple with major political, economic, and social changes.

Roland Dannreuther

An impressive and important book. There has been a striking absence of in-depth analyses of Sino-Central Asian relations that goes beyond the limits of security and energy dimensions and that does not rely primarily on secondary sources.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231703048
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marlene Laruelle and Sebastien Peyrouse are both senior researchfellows with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road StudiesProgram at SAIS, Johns HopkinsUniversity, Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I China as a Globalized Actor in the Central Asian States

1 Borders and Diasporas: Solving the Problems Arising from Central Asian Independence 13

The border treaties between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan 13

The unresolved water issue with Kazakhstan 17

Quelling the Uyghur diaspora's support for Xinjiang autonomy 20

2 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Successes and Challenges 27

The security paradigm: the effectiveness of the SCO and of China 28

The SCO's search for some "Shanghai Spirit" 33

The SCO political alliance: an "Axis of Convenience" 37

3 Chinese Economic Inroads in Landlocked Central Asia 45

Exponential growth in trade relations 46

Structure of Sino-Central Asian trade 50

Borderposts: Local theaters for large continental strategies 54

4 Energy-Thirsty Chinas Resource Diplomacy 63

The continued expansion of Chinese demand 64

Targeting a promising Central Asian market 66

Chinese strategy toward Kazakh oil 68

Chinese strategy toward Turkmen gas 74

5 China's Brand: Investments in Infrastructures 81

Sino-Kazakh nuclear cooperation and the export of Central Asian minerals 82

Participating in electricity development 85

Focusing on transportation in a landlocked region 89

Investing in the future: telecommunications 91

Part II From Inside: Domestic Order, Social Changes, and National Narratives on China

6 Discussing China: Sinophilia and Sinophobia in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 97

Pro-Chinese groups of influence in Central Asia 98

The Kazakh "Chinese Question": labor conditions, energy sector, and the land issue 103

The Kyrgyz "Chinese Question": border demarcation and bazaar competition 109

7 The New Mediators: Diasporas, Traders, Migrants, and Youth 117

Cross-border minorities: reviving an historical "go-between" role 117

The Uyghurs: commercial opportunities hampered by political suspicions 118

The Dungans: a double bet on ethnic business and state-level activism 121

China's Central Asian minorities: the rise of the Kazakhs 124

Central Asian shuttle traders and Chinese migrants 125

Central Asian petty traders and "shop tourists" 126

Chinese migrants: beyond the clichés, a large diversity of situations 128

The generation gap? Central Asian youth and the fashion for China 133

8 China as an Object of Academic Knowledge: Structuring National Sinology 143

The difficulties of launching Sinology in academia 144

Public research: the Institutes for Strategic Studies 151

The small sector of private expertise 154

9 Security and Economic Concerns as the Matrix of Central Asian Expertise 159

China: a credible partner in matters of security? 160

The SCO-a balancing act for or against Central Asia's interests? 162

China in Central Asia: economic opportunity or resource vassal? 167

An image problem: China's products, traders, and companies 170

10 Cultural Apprehensions: Historical Legacies and Demographic Phobias 175

The thorny border question: resolution or stalemate? 175

Is China a threat? Political pressure and the Uyghur question 178

China as empire: a culturally entrenched suspicion 180

The recurrent prism of the "Yellow Peril" 183

Conclusion 189

Africa, Central Asia, or the globalization of Chinese presence 189

Central Asia: five states, five "Chinese Questions" 190

Sinophobe and Sinophile trends in the Central Asian societies 192

Domestic order, strategic uncertainty, and the Chinese factor 196

Self-representation, social changes, and the Chinese factor 199

Notes 205

Bibliography 249

Index 265

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