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International Relations expert highlights the link between Chinese expansionism in South Asia and the West


A delegation of EFSAS consisting of Ms. Yoana Barakova and Mr. Hossein Mojtahedi (Research Analysts EFSAS) held a meeting with Dr. Naná de Graaff, Associate Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Dr. de Graaff’s main research interests include Chinese political and economic elites, the globalization of Chinese firms and US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period.

EFSAS and Dr. de Graaff discussed China’s strategic expansionist designs and foreign policy, highlighting the necessity of conducting a comparative analysis between China’s debt-trap diplomacy in Asian and African countries and its investments and economic initiatives in Europe. Using the examples of Pakistan, Si Lanka and Nepal, the representatives of EFSAS emphasised that China’s policy of socio-economic, cultural and political neo-colonialism, bears underlying negative implications not only for the regional stability of South Asia, but also for western countries.

Ms. Yoana Barakova and Mr. Hossein Mojtahedi (EFSAS) with Dr. Naná de Graaff (VU University)


EFSAS further deliberated upon the building of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and highlighted the fact that this infrastructural project comes as a contravention of international law since it passes through the disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan, part of the region of Jammu & Kashmir. Hence, the construction of CPEC has triggered numerous human rights violations in the region. Examining the situation in Xinjiang and the repression of Muslim Uyghurs, EFSAS and Dr. de Graaff further agreed on the fact that China’s so-called ‘counter-terrorism strategy’ comes as a violation of human rights and therefore the international community should place a greater focus on these issues, instead of only safeguarding its relations with China under the pretext of economic opportunities.

EFSAS and Dr. de Graaff agreed on exchanging valuable expertise and opinions in the field of Chinese studies, while also discussed opportunities for organising events together in order to raise the international level of awareness on the aforementioned issues.