Repression in China, Money from China, and Attitudes toward China
65 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2022
Date Written: December 13, 2022
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
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