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Browse resources on authoritarian sharp power and its effects on the integrity of institutions and globalized spaces.

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Source: Hoover Institution

Publication Date: March 20, 2022

China’s Sharp Power In Africa: A Handbook For Building National Resilience

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Author: Glenn Tiffert, Oliver McPherson-Smith

View Resource: China’s Sharp Power In Africa: A Handbook For Building National Resilience

Although the Chinese government touts its dealings in Africa as partnerships among equals, overall they fall far short of that ideal. Beijing’s high-flown rhetoric masks a deeply asymmetrical relationship full of unfulfilled promises, hidden costs, and corrosive impacts.

Source: Asia Democracy Network

Publication Date: February 21, 2022

China’s Rise Under the Lens: Democracy and Human Rights at Risk

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Philippines, Malaysia, Asia-Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, South Korea, Pakistan, Cambodia

Author: Cleve V. Arguelles, Karel Jiaan Antonio Galang

View Resource: China’s Rise Under the Lens: Democracy and Human Rights at Risk

Beijing continues to actively undermine strong democracies, enthusiastically support illiberal forces in fragile democracies, and diligently create relationships of mutual dependence among non-democracies. Outright coercion, disinformation, censorship, and influence-peddling campaigns are commonplace.

Source: Foreign Affairs

Publication Date: February 16, 2022

Russia Has Big Plans for Africa

Authoritarian Country: Russia

Affected Region: Middle East and North Africa, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mali

Author: Samuel Ramani

View Resource: Russia Has Big Plans for Africa

Russia is not expanding its influence in Africa just through the use of military contractors; it has also made a hardcore diplomatic push across the continent and views Africa as both a provenance for resources for its state-owned companies and a potential market for Russian goods.

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations

Publication Date: January 31, 2022

Tough Trade: The Hidden Costs of Economic Coercion

Authoritarian Country: China, Russia

Affected Region: Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Europe, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Netherlands

Author: Jonathan Hackenbroich, Filip Medunic, Pawel Zerka

View Resource: Tough Trade: The Hidden Costs of Economic Coercion

To build resilience against economic coercion by China and Russia, the European Union should develop an Anti-Coercion Instrument, along with a strong agenda for improving economic strength and trade links, a Resilience Office, and a reformed Blocking Statute that can counter secondary sanctions.

Source: The Hill

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Democracies Must Stand with Lithuania Against China’s Aggression

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Lithuania, Taiwan, Germany, Asia-Pacific, Europe

Author: John Shimkus, Jan Surotchak

View Resource: Democracies Must Stand with Lithuania Against China’s Aggression

In response to the opening of a “Taiwanese” representative office in Lithuania, the PRC cut diplomatic ties and turned to its business partners in Europe—namely, the German auto parts manufacturer Continental AG—to apply pressure on the Lithuanian economy.

Source: Hoover Institution

Publication Date: January 17, 2022

The Trappings of the Mauritius Safe City Project

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius

Author: Roukaya Kasenally

View Resource: The Trappings of the Mauritius Safe City Project

Africa’s digital infrastructure is increasingly at risk as the PRC rolls out hardware and software, offers attractive concessionary loans, and promotes digital sovereignty. One of the most damaging outcomes, as exemplified by the Mauritius Safe City Project, is a culture of opacity and impunity.

Source: Hoover Institution

Publication Date: January 17, 2022

Corruption in the Zambian Construction Sector: The China Factor

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia

Author: Rueben Lifuka

View Resource: Corruption in the Zambian Construction Sector: The China Factor

The Zambian construction sector was beleaguered by allegations of corruption among local and foreign companies. Preferential funding support from Chinese banks and tolerance for noncompetitive behavior by Zambian authorities presented PRC-linked companies with unfair advantages over local competitors.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Publication Date: January 9, 2022

Intel Erases Reference to China’s Xinjiang After Social-Media Backlash

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: United States, North America

Author: Liza Lin

View Resource: Intel Erases Reference to China’s Xinjiang After Social-Media Backlash

U.S. semiconductor producer Intel apologized to the Chinese public and altered a letter published on its website after Chinese social-media users and state-run media denounced the company for calling on its global suppliers to avoid sourcing products from Xinjiang.

Source: Bloomberg

Publication Date: January 5, 2022

China Fines 7-Eleven for Calling Taiwan a Nation on Map

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: United States, North America

Author: Yasutaka Tamura, Erica Yokoyama

View Resource: China Fines 7-Eleven for Calling Taiwan a Nation on Map

Beijing authorities fined convenience store 7-Eleven for listing Taiwan as a country on its website and displaying maps containing allegedly erroneous borders. Foreign companies operating in the PRC previously complied with censorship demands as the cost of doing business in the country.

Source: The Guardian

Publication Date: January 3, 2022

Tesla Criticised for Opening Showroom in Xinjiang Despite Human Rights Abuses

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: China, Asia-Pacific, United States, North America

Author: Helen Davidson

View Resource: Tesla Criticised for Opening Showroom in Xinjiang Despite Human Rights Abuses

Commercial operations in China became fraught as companies faced pressure to cut ties with Xinjiang suppliers. Shortly after state media criticized Intel for instructing its suppliers to avoid goods sourced from Xinjiang, Chinese social media users praised the opening of a Tesla showroom in the region.

Source: Reuters

Publication Date: December 30, 2021

China Warns Walmart and Sam’s Club Over Xinjiang Products

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: United States, North America

View Resource: China Warns Walmart and Sam’s Club Over Xinjiang Products

China’s anti-graft agency criticized U.S. retailer Walmart after Chinese news outlets reported its Sam’s Club chain had removed Xinjiang-sourced products from stores. It is not unusual for a foreign brand to be targeted by Chinese social media users or official outlets, and the impact can be damaging.

Source: Central European Institute of Asian Studies

Publication Date: December 18, 2021

Under the Radar: Mapping the Czech and Slovak ‎Local ‎Governments’ Ties to ‎China

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Slovakia, Europe, Czechia

Author: Matej Šimalčík et al.

View Resource: Under the Radar: Mapping the Czech and Slovak ‎Local ‎Governments’ Ties to ‎China

A mapping of the paradiplomatic relations of sub-national entities in Slovakia and Czechia identified at least 46 instances of agreement-based cooperation with Chinese partners. A lack of transparency and limited public control over these relations contributed to a culture of non-accountability.

Source: Reuters

Publication Date: December 16, 2021

Special Report: Amazon Partnered with China Propaganda Arm

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: United States, North America

Author: Steve Stecklow, Jeffrey Dastin

View Resource: Special Report: Amazon Partnered with China Propaganda Arm

Internal Amazon documents described how the company partnered with China’s National Press and Publication Administration and a state-owned enterprise to establish a China Books portal that hasn’t generated significant revenue, but which Amazon saw as crucial to safeguarding against license problems.

Source: Reuters

Publication Date: December 8, 2021

Lithuania Braces for China-led Corporate Boycott

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Europe, Lithuania

Author: John O’Donnell, Andrius Sytas

View Resource: Lithuania Braces for China-led Corporate Boycott

Beijing instructed multinational companies to cease using parts and supplies sourced from Lithuania, or risk exclusion from the Chinese market. China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania in 2021 after the opening of a representative office by Taiwan in Vilnius.

Source: Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Publication Date: December 6, 2021

Guānxì: Power, Networking, and Influence in China-Africa Relations

Authoritarian Country: China

Affected Region: Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Author: Paul Nantulya

View Resource: Guānxì: Power, Networking, and Influence in China-Africa Relations

China-Africa relations thrive on interpersonal ties of mutual dependence, obligations, and reciprocity. The net effect of instrumentalized “guānxì” is that African elites reap financial rewards and entrench their patronage networks while Chinese firms increase their political clout.