The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary unit composed of faculty members whose teaching and research focus primarily on China, Japan, Korea, and bordering areas.
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Upcoming Event: Andrew Mertha, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University - "Brothers In Arms: China's Aid To The Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979"
|Date:||Thursday, December 12, 2013|
|Location:||Silverstein Forum, 1st Floor of Stiteler Hall|
|Beijing's extensive engagement with the developing world suggests an inexorably rising China, securing a degree of economic and political dominance unthinkable a decade ago. Yet, China’s experience with its first-ever client state, Democratic Kampuchea, suggests the effectiveness of Chinese foreign aid and the efficacy of Chinese influence that comes with it is only as good as the institutions that manage such a relationship.
When the Khmer Rouge regime came to power in Cambodia in 1975, it was utterly dependent on Chinese foreign aid and technical assistance to survive. Yet given this extremely asymmetrical relationship between a modernizing, nuclear power (China) and a pre-modern, medieval state (DK), China was singularly unable to leverage its power to influence Cambodian politics or policy. In this talk, I provide an institutionalist argument to explain why.
By focusing on this historical case, I peer into the “black box” of Chinese foreign aid (which is almost impossible to do today) to illustrate how China’s domestic institutional fragmentation limits its ability to influence recipient countries of Chinese foreign aid. This has important implications for understanding the limits of China’s contemporary foreign aid regime and its projection of soft power abroad.
Andrew Mertha is associate professor of government, specializing in Chinese and Cambodian politics, particularly on political institutions, the policy process, and the exercise of power.
He is a core faculty member in the Cornell East Asia Program and the Cornell Southeast Asia Program. He is also the Director of the China and Asia Pacific Studies Program.
For additional information about the East Asian Area Studies Major and Minor please visit our Degree, Programs and Requirements page or contact Dr. Frank L. Chance.
For the most recent list of courses, please visit our Academics page.
Center for East Asian Studies University of Pennsylvania 642 Williams Hall 255 S. 36th Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
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