Perceptions of Chinese Threat and Central Asian Public Attitudes toward Chinese FDI

Project: FDCRGP

Project Details

Grant Program

Faculty-development competitive research grants program for 2023-2025

Project Description

In Central Asia, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought the commodity-rich region many new economic opportunities and investment projects. Central Asia is filled with countries at various levels of development, largely dependent on extractive industries that China seeks to have access to while claiming through the BRI to also be working to simultaneously develop these countries. However, it’s not apparent that the BRI project is completely welcome by the citizens of these countries who have rising concerns over incoming Chinese investment (see table 1 for one example, which presents survey data from Kazakhstan). Relatively little research has been done on how these concerns over the rise of China may be shaping public attitudes, and what groups tend to have more or less Sinophobic attitudes. This study is designed to examine how concerns about the rise of China may be shaping public attitudes toward foreign direct investment in Central Asia.

Project Impact

Five Q1 publications will be the result of the present project:
1. Cumulative comparative paper that explores the perception of Chinese threat across the sample of three countries in Central Asia.
2. Paper on public attitudes and perceptions of Chinese threat in Kazakhstan
3. Paper on public attitudes and perceptions of Chinese threat in Uzbekistan
4. Paper on public attitudes and perceptions of Chinese threat in Kyrgyzstan
5. Paper comparing public attitudes and perceptions of Chinese threat in Central Asia and the United States.
As data is collected, it will be analyzed and shared among the research team to prepare journal articles on each of the publications listed above. There is the potential for further articles that expand on the given topics based on the research interests of each of the researchers on top of the expected journal articles. Each of the articles within countries will allow us to assess how the countries vary within their borders across demographic groups and across space. These are important to help local governments, and policy makers both internally and externally to understand how attitudes may vary based on regional discrepancies. Then at least one paper will be written that will compare attitudes across the three Central Asian states in our study that will help to better understand how public attitudes vary between countries. Between country comparisons are important to the generalization of attitudes and helpful in identifying indicators and mechanisms for why such variation exists. This is also important to the study of Central Asia as many papers focus on the countries individually but do not provide a larger comparative look across Central Asia, we are hoping to expand the surveys to the other Central Asian countries with future funding. Finally, we will be able to compare our work on Central Asia to Dr. Zeng’s previous work focused on the United States. This will allow comparison across different cases and see how/if there is comparatively similar attitude and motivations internationally. These publications will be focused on advancing the literature on international economics, globalization and foreign policy, and our methods and findings will make these publications an asset to not only the academic community but the policy community as well.
Because this information will have applicability beyond the scholarly community there is the possibility to produce a series of short policy briefs for governments, local and international civil society, and other interested stakeholders. They will be published through Nazarbayev University or through various state and local agencies that we are partnered with. In Kazakhstan, the PI works with Paper Lab, a local Kazakhstan think tank, who is interested in working with the research group on issues related to public perceptions on China, and sponsoring events, workshops, and policy papers that would help increase the local dissemination of the research.
Effective start/end date1/1/2312/31/25