China Report

China Report; 56(4)

An Introductory Note for the Articles


This paper by Israel Nyaburi Nyadera, Billy Agwanda and Michael Otieno Kisaka seek to revisit the narratives surrounding China and Africa relations. While these engagements have attracted the attention of scholars and policymakers, the emphasis has been on the economic aspects and a little attention has been made to examine the role of non-economic drivers. This paper argues that even though economic drivers are significant, Africa and China relations go beyond economic drivers. It identifies non-economic factors like the personality of president Xi Jinping and his personalised relations with African leaders, perceived attitudes of Western countries towards the continent, China’s political system, politics of mega projects in Africa, China’s soft power strategies and historical experiences as significant factors in strengthening relations between Beijing and the continent. It looks at attractiveness as an important concept in understanding states’ actions and relations. The paper concludes that engagements between China and Africa may be characterised by huge economic factors, but the foundation of these relations is attractiveness anchored on a number of non-economic drivers.

China’s strategic culture has mostly been understood from the competing prisms of Confucianism and realpolitik traditions. However, Anand. V in this paper argues that there is a need to go beyond this binary approach to explore the more nuanced civilisational basis of China’s strategic thinking. It is in this context that the role of Daoism becomes significant in understanding China’s behavioural patterns. The Daoist strategic tradition has been found to be a highly cogent system based on five key pillars—strategic rationalism, strategic aloofness, strategic optimisation, strategic restraint and strategic flexibility. These aspects have been found reflected in various key instances of China’s strategic practice, demonstrating its relevance for understanding China’s strategic culture.

The purpose of this article by Rubiat Saimum is to examine the prospect of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from the perspective of Bangladesh. The article investigates fundamental aspects of China’s economic involvement in Bangladesh to understand the geo-economic basis of the initiative. In this respect, the objective and motivation behind Chinese involvement in Bangladesh’s economy are studied, and the political and economic challenges emanating from the participation of the latter country in the initiative are outlined. Methodologically, this research adopts a qualitative approach and relies on primary sources to collect data. It concludes with an observation that Chinese investments through BRI could, in the long term, be advantageous for Bangladesh’s economy as long as the regional and economic issues associated with the initiative are appropriately dealt with. Besides, it suggests that the success of the initiative in South Asia, as well as in Bangladesh, requires a collaborative effort from all the states of the region on functional issue areas such as trade and connectivity.

There is an ongoing debate about whether China is a satisfied power or a dissatisfied revisionist power. On the basis of the concept of regime insecurity and power transition theory, this article by Mintu Barua argues that the resolution of this debate mainly depends on some essentially interrelated complex factors—China’s assertive behaviour, China’s core interests, China’s internal security, and China’s involvement in territorial disputes. Moreover, this article examines the validity of the usual claim of power transition theory that the dominant power is always satisfied with the status quo, and contrary to this idea of power transition theory, this article suggests that the dominant power can be dissatisfied and revisionist too if its hegemony is under threat.


I Articles


  • Beyond the Yuan: Rethinking China’s Attractiveness to Africa
    Israel Nyaburi Nyadera, Billy Agwanda, Michael Otieno Kisaka
  • The Daoist Tradition in China’s Strategic Culture: Understanding the Pragmatic Dimensions of China’s Behavioural Trends in the International System
    Anand. V
  • The Prospect of Belt and Road Initiative in the Context of Bangladesh
    Rubiat Saimum
  • Contest for Dominance: US-China Rivalry in Asia
    Mintu Barua

II Book Reviews

  • Book Review: Bertil Lintner, The Costliest Pearl: China’s Struggle for India’s Ocean
    Reena Marwah
  • Book Review: Wang Jing, The Other Digital China Nonconfrontational Activism on the Social Web
    Mahesh Kumar Kamatam
  • Book Review: Sheldon Pollock and Benjamin Elman (Eds.), What China and India Once Were: The Pasts That May Shape the Global Future
    Ravi Bhoothalingam




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