Neighbouring China

Old Connections, New Dynamics

A Research Project

Neighbouring China

A Research Project

Neighbouring China is a research project initiated by Martin Saxer in 2010. It is concerned with the effects of China’s rise on the lifestyles and micro-economies of communities living along its borders.

The PRC’s increasing significance in the world attract much public interest: Chinese investment-cum-development aid shapes African realities, China finances the deficits of Western consumer societies, governments around the world are cautious not to hurt Chinese sensitivities, and most of the consumer goods we buy are “made in China”. While these questions make headlines, a related issue receives far less attention: What does China’s rise mean for its immediate neighbours? This question is the starting point of the present research.

As the borderlands, both in the PRC and its neighbouring states, are becoming targets of ambitious development schemes, “special zones”, pipelines, road- and railway-projects, the daily process of “neighbouring” China increaslingly shapes dreams, ambitions, and fears. New opportunities arise, but legal uncertainty and political tensions remain high. As hotspots of conflict and avenues of exchange, the borderlands between China and its neighbouring countries play an eminent role in contemporary globalisation – not in the globalisation of Nestlé, MacDonald’s, or Samsung, but in an equally global economy at the edge.

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