File Download
Supplementary

postgraduate thesis: China and its neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia : statehood, engagement and development

TitleChina and its neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia : statehood, engagement and development
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Schlenzig, N.. (2015). China and its neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia : statehood, engagement and development. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5576779
AbstractThis dissertation brings together insights from the fields of state theory, economic globalization, political geography and (sub-) regional development to conduct an exploratory study that puts two central questions in play, namely what role China’s local state plays in the country's internationalization process and, at an abstract level, whether there is something to learn from empirical analysis of this case about the link between regional processes and statehood effects. Qualitative data are gathered about evolving central–local relations and cross-border development initiatives undertaken by Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province and their immediate neighbours Vietnam and Myanmar. One contention is that the argument that China approaches the outside world as an integrated unit does not stand up to empirical scrutiny. Equally, exposing the domestic economy to the world, rather than unleashing supposedly inevitable forces of decentralization and regional integration as suggested by some theorists, appears to coexist with a situation in which domestic politics continue to dominate regional politics and reform. Therefore, the idea of state-making and regional processes as contested political constructs, mobilized to advance or privilege parochial domestic interests, looks to be more appropriate in this context. My claim rests on several findings. First, rather than focusing on their competitiveness in a regional market, local interests appear to engage in regional development largely as a lobbying strategy to accomplish domestic distributional goals and secure support from central authorities. Second, evidence of substantial decentralization in China’s southwest seems quite thin or somewhat exaggerated at best, especially as there are many signs that allowing local governments more autonomy has been paralleled by other measures designed to ensure that opening up the country will continue to take place on central authorities' terms. That China nonetheless does not approach other countries with a single face also rests on another feature of its statehood that is apparent from this study. A lack of direction or easily identifiable goals and incentives in the central government’s dealings with the provinces creates a general environment of ambiguity. In turn, this generates inconsistency and a lack of clear strategies towards neighbours, and sometimes results in cross-border relationships being used to deliver on domestic goals. Despite a reputation as a highly centralized state, strong in terms of capacity to impose its will on society, this preoccupation with retaining domestic control and a climate of mistrust therefore at times results in external behaviour that state theorists would usually attribute to weak states.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramPolitics and Public Administration
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221075

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorSchlenzig, Nora-
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-26T23:11:55Z-
dc.date.available2015-10-26T23:11:55Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationSchlenzig, N.. (2015). China and its neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia : statehood, engagement and development. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5576779-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221075-
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation brings together insights from the fields of state theory, economic globalization, political geography and (sub-) regional development to conduct an exploratory study that puts two central questions in play, namely what role China’s local state plays in the country's internationalization process and, at an abstract level, whether there is something to learn from empirical analysis of this case about the link between regional processes and statehood effects. Qualitative data are gathered about evolving central–local relations and cross-border development initiatives undertaken by Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province and their immediate neighbours Vietnam and Myanmar. One contention is that the argument that China approaches the outside world as an integrated unit does not stand up to empirical scrutiny. Equally, exposing the domestic economy to the world, rather than unleashing supposedly inevitable forces of decentralization and regional integration as suggested by some theorists, appears to coexist with a situation in which domestic politics continue to dominate regional politics and reform. Therefore, the idea of state-making and regional processes as contested political constructs, mobilized to advance or privilege parochial domestic interests, looks to be more appropriate in this context. My claim rests on several findings. First, rather than focusing on their competitiveness in a regional market, local interests appear to engage in regional development largely as a lobbying strategy to accomplish domestic distributional goals and secure support from central authorities. Second, evidence of substantial decentralization in China’s southwest seems quite thin or somewhat exaggerated at best, especially as there are many signs that allowing local governments more autonomy has been paralleled by other measures designed to ensure that opening up the country will continue to take place on central authorities' terms. That China nonetheless does not approach other countries with a single face also rests on another feature of its statehood that is apparent from this study. A lack of direction or easily identifiable goals and incentives in the central government’s dealings with the provinces creates a general environment of ambiguity. In turn, this generates inconsistency and a lack of clear strategies towards neighbours, and sometimes results in cross-border relationships being used to deliver on domestic goals. Despite a reputation as a highly centralized state, strong in terms of capacity to impose its will on society, this preoccupation with retaining domestic control and a climate of mistrust therefore at times results in external behaviour that state theorists would usually attribute to weak states.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.titleChina and its neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia : statehood, engagement and development-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5576779-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePolitics and Public Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

Export via OAI-PMH Interface in XML Formats


OR


Export to Other Non-XML Formats