China in Xi’s “New Era”: Forging a New “Eastern Bloc”

Issue Date April 2018
Volume 29
Issue 2
Page Numbers 83-89
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The China-led “16+1” initiative in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is crafting a soft version of the old East European bloc, this time under Chinese rather than Russian tutelage. A collection of sixteen bilateral, uneven relationships with China rather than a true regional organization, 16+1 undermines existing Euro-Atlantic alliances. It also reinforces tendencies toward crony capitalism in the participating CEE states, reversing the progress toward more open socioeconomic systems that these countries have achieved since 1989 under the EU’s normative guidance. Ultimately, CEE countries will have to choose between the EU regulatory framework, designed to secure a level playing field, and the “China model” of a politicized economy controlled by a party-state.

About the Author

Martin Hála is director of AcaMedia and the website, which tracks topics related to China in the Czech Republic and beyond. He is coeditor of Investigative Journalism in China: Eight Cases in Chinese Watchdog Journalism (2010).

View all work by Martin Hála