China’s Western Frontier and Eurasia The Politics of State and Region-Building
China has emerged as a dominant power in Eurasian affairs that not only exercises significant political and economic power, but increasingly, ideational power too.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic, Chinese Communist Party leaders have sought to increase state capacity and exercise more effective control over their western frontier through a series of state-building initiatives. Although these initiatives have always incorporated an international component, the collapse of the USSR, increasing globalization, and the party’s professed concerns about terrorism, separatism, and extremism have led to a region-building project in Eurasia. Garcia traces how domestic elite-led narratives about security and development generate state-building initiatives, and then region-building projects. He also assesses how region-building projects are promoted through narratives of the historicity of China’s engagement in Eurasia, the promotion of norms of non-interference, and appeals to mutual development. Finally, he traces the construction of regions through formal and informal institutions as well as integrative infrastructure. By presenting three phases of Chinese domestic state-building and region-building from 1988-present, Garcia shows how region-building projects have enabled China to increase state capacity, control, and development in its western frontier.
Recommended for scholars of China’s international relations and development policy.
"Zenel Garcia has produced an in-depth examination of the historical underpinnings of China’s westwards expansion, now labelled the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Garcia utilises a rigorous theoretical framework concerning the co-constitutive relationship between state-building and region-building to evaluate the implementation of the BRI in the Eurasian landmass. He achieves this through the judicious deployment of rich troves of empirical data. The book fills a gap in terms of putting China’s current Eurasian expansion via the BRI into historical context in terms of earlier eras of government. Although other authors mention the fact that the BRI builds upon previous Chinese initiatives, few of them make this point the central focus of their research."---Jeremy Garlick, Associate Professor and Director of the Jan Masaryk Centre for International Studies, Prague University of Economics and Business.
"Zenel Garcia's thorough analysis of the impact of China and its Belt Road Initiative on the Eurasia region is timely and important to understanding the many political, economic and social issues involved. The author brings deep historical knowledge and a solid theoretical approach to explore what has been an understudied area, including the strong link between the Chinese domestic elite-led narratives about security and development with state-building and region-building initiatives. It is a must read for researchers, students, or anyone interested in both Chinese politics and the challenges facing Eurasia in the 21st century."---Sebastien Peyrouse, Research Professor, Central Asia Program, IERES, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University