Encounters After the Soviet Collapse: The Contemporary Chinese Presence in the Former Soviet Union Border Zone


Introduction to new Special Issue in Problems of Post-Communism: https://doi.org/10.1080/10758216.2020.1746912


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the former Soviet Union’s borders, cross border interactions between the former Soviet Union states and China have augmented, and particularly the impetus given by the Chinese authorities to the Belt and Road Initiative has increased the presence of various Chinese actors in the countries along China’s western border. Notably, China’s ‘going global’ has received increasingly scholarly attention in the past few years. Hitherto comparative analyses or in-depth case studies on Chinese presence in the states along China’s western border are yet sparse. By focusing on specific actors and on the ground interactions, this special issue, which includes case studies of the interactions between Chinese and Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik actors, aims to show a) the diversity in scope, actors and modalities of involvement, and b) the sometimes ambiguous goals and interests within China’s going out strategy in the region. At the same time, it aims to present a more close-up study of the responses of the population in the host states. Through a focus on encounters on the ground, imaginaries, and perceptions, we aim to get deeper insights in the character and consequences of China’s involvement in the post-Soviet border region.


This publication is based on outputs from a workshop held at Leiden University in 2016. More details here.