Repression in China, Money from China, and Attitudes toward China

57 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2022 Last revised: 3 May 2023

See all articles by Jean Hong

Jean Hong

University of Michigan

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: May 1, 2023


How does China's global economic engagement affect foreign public opinion about China at critical times, i.e., when the Chinese government uses repressive measures against its citizens? To examine this question, we analyze global surveys conducted just before and after repression incidents in China. We find that in aid-recipient countries, the foreign public becomes more supportive of China's political leaders after repression. The text analysis of local news content suggests a clue to this puzzling finding: In these countries, the sentiment of the articles becomes more positive toward China after repression. However, in the recipient countries of China's infrastructure investment loans, which have caused a "debt trap" problem in several places, the public becomes more critical after repression. These findings suggest that China's repression triggers the foreign public's increasing concern about, or praise for, China's influence abroad conditional on the nature of economic relationships with China.

Keywords: foreign public opinion, China, foreign aid, foreign investment, repression

JEL Classification: F34, F35, F50, P33

Suggested Citation

Hong, Ji Yeon and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Repression in China, Money from China, and Attitudes toward China (May 1, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Ji Yeon Hong

University of Michigan ( email )

5700 Haven Hall
505 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI N/A 48109-1045
United States

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States


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