China promoting authoritarian governance in developing world

June 15, 2024
A man looks at a decorative plate featuring an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at a souvenir store next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Feb. 27, 2018.— AFP

BEIJING: China has organised seminars and training courses for officials in African and Latin American countries, aimed at promoting its single-party system and President Xi Jinping´s worldview, a report said this week.


A central pillar of Xi´s rule has been the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive infrastructure project that China uses to expand its clout overseas by handing out onerous loans to developing countries.

A report released Thursday by a Washington-based think tank details efforts to promote single-party rule and Xi´s thinking to BRI partners in parts of Africa, Latin America and beyond, drawing on hundreds of publicly available documents from China´s commerce ministry.

The documents “clearly highlight aspects of (China´s) authoritarian model as central to the blueprint of successful development that others can emulate”, wrote the author of the Atlantic Council report, nonresident fellow Niva Yau.

Among the initiatives listed was a seminar held online for presidential advisers and cabinet-level officials in developing countries, aimed at expanding “the international influence of the... governance system of China”.

According to the ministry document cited by the report, the seminar held in June 2021 sought “to introduce President Xi Jinping´s thought on national governance, China´s current political system, political life and the features of decision-making process for fundamental policies”.

It also promoted China´s efforts at “social mobilisation and management” during the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw millions placed under strict, prolonged lockdowns.

Another training programme, aimed at African officials involved in city planning, focused on China´s pervasive surveillance system.