Apr 8, 2021
Episode 03. The Geopolitical Economy of China's BRI in Central Asia with Niva Yau Tsz Yan
Play • 49 min

Today I am talking about China’s engagement in Central Asia with Niva Yau Tsz Yan from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A region often overlooked by Western  media and academic research, Central Asia plays a central role in China's Belt and Road Initiative. Niva clarifies the relationship between China’s BRI projects in Central Asia and the militarisation of the South China Sea, and how Central Asia functions as a testing ground for initiatives that China seeks to export even further. She points out that the BRI is more than gigantic construction projects: digital soft infrastructure, ITC technologies such as Smart Cities and 5G, but also financial de-dollarization and education are core aspects which are materially and culturally changing the political economy of Central Asia. Niva’s ongoing research also sheds light on how Chinese projects in the region might affect regional and domestic politics, by pacifying inter-state relations marred by energy disputes, while on the other hand antagonizing political relations between local communities and national political elites. Interestingly, she argues that far from passive rule-takers, Central Asian states and elites have significant political autonomy and are conscious of the leverage they have vis a vis their giant neighbour.

You can follow Niva on Twitter at: @nivayautszyan

You can check some of Niva's research output below :




Other resources recommended by Niva:

Research by Raffaello Pantucci available at: https://rusi.org/people/pantucci

Research by  Dirk van der Kley on Twitter at @dvanderkley

He B (2019) The Domestic Politics of the Belt and Road Initiative and its Implications. Journal of Contemporary China. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2018.1511391.(116): 180-195.

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