In recent years many former heads of foreign governments have visited China, appearing at various forums, conferences, and other events. China’s engagement with these former leaders may appear to be a form of public diplomacy, but even more importantly it has been a strategy of political legitimation adopted by the Chinese Communist Party. Based on an original database of hundreds of cases, we provide a systematic analysis of the visits of former foreign leaders to China and of their role as external validators for the party-state and its policy initiatives, particularly the Belt and Road Initiative. By shedding light on the Party’s search for external consent and support, we seek to fill a significant gap in the literature, which tends to focus narrowly on the domestic sources of legitimacy and domestic strategies of legitimation.
China’s Engagement with Former Foreign Leaders: In Search of External Validation of Regime Legitimacy
Andrew F. Cooper is Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and Associate Research Fellow, UNU CRIS (Institute on Comparative Regional Integration), Bruges, Belgium. Email: <email@example.com>.
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Andrew F. Cooper, Hongying Wang; China’s Engagement with Former Foreign Leaders: In Search of External Validation of Regime Legitimacy. Asian Survey 5 August 2020; 60 (4): 634–658. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2020.60.4.634
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