China's Foreign Relations and the Survival of Autocracies
By Julia Bader
Routledge – 2015 – 224 pages
Is the rise of China a cause of autocratic longevity? The Chinese government has frequently been criticised for propping up anti-democratic governments, whether in blocking UN sanctions on human rights violators or making huge investments in resource rich, but repressive countries.
This book investigates the rise of China as an emerging major power and seeks to answer the question whether China’s rise stabilises other non-democratic leaders in the world. From a theoretical perspective, dictators are easier to be influenced from the outside than democratic leaders who are constraint by accountability rules and are more dependent on public opinion in their political survival. By comparing China’s bilateral relations to three Asian developing countries – Cambodia, Burma and Mongolia - with varying political types of regime, the book illustrates that the Chinese government has indeed profited from exploiting secretive decision making in autocracies to realise its own external interests such as achieving access to natural resources. Through a statistical analysis of the patterns of Chinese external cooperation and their impact on the survival of dictators, Julia Bader argues that China’s economic cooperation has been targeted increasingly towards dictators in recent years. However, only some forms of bilateral interaction, such as high trade dependence on China, effectively do increase the prospect of survival for autocratic leaders while others, such as diplomatic relations or economic cooperation do not have such an effect.
This important contribution to the understanding of both external factors of authoritarian endurance and China’s foreign relations, a field of study still lacking systematic investigation, is of great interest to students and researchers in Development Studies, Asian Studies, International Relations, and International Political Economy.
Part 1: Supporting Dictators? If So, Why and How 1. What We Know and Why We Know So Little 2. Why We Should Assume Autocratic Preference 3. The Domestic Logic of Political Survival 4. Foreign Policy - Preferences for Regime Convergence and Autocratic Stability 5. Domestic Politics, International Cooperation and Leadership Survival Part 2: External Exploitation? Of Whom, How and When 6. How External Exploitation Materialises 7. Case Study Myanmar 8. Case Study Cambodia 9. Case Study Mongolia 10. What the Comparison Tells Us Part 3: Autocratic cooperation? Patterns, Causes and Consequences 11. Does Autocratic Cooperation Exist? 12. How to Measure Autocratic Cooperation 13. With Whom does China Cooperate and What Determines Economic Cooperation? 14. Does Autocratic Cooperation Lead to Autocratic Survival? 15. How to Measure Autocratic Longevity 16. Does Chinese Cooperation Impact on Autocratic Survival? 17. Findings, Reflections and Conclusions