International Development and China

Instructor Name

Alvaro Mendez

Instructor Biography

Professor Alvaro Mendez directs the Global South Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He teaches international relations at LSE, and Sciences Po Paris. He is also an Adjunct Professor and Foreign Expert at the Institute for Global Public Policy (IGPP) at Fudan University, and an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).     

Instructor Name

Chris Alden

Instructor Biography

Professor Chris Alden teaches international relations at the LSE and is the director of LSE IDEAS. He is also a research associate with the South African Institute of International Affairs. He is author/co-author of numerous books, well as having written numerous articles in internationally recognized journals.

Course Description

This course focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is now 10 years old, and how Beijing is leveraging its preponderance of material power in pursuit of global leadership through the implementation of ‘development as grand strategy’ with a special focus on developing regions. China’s economic position, coupled with an astute use of finances flowing from its neo-mercantilist policies, has enabled it to become the leading trading partner and a significant investor in the developing world, or Global South. Moreover, with the BRI, the Global South is increasingly figuring in Beijing’s expanding security interests and soft power provisions. Understanding the dynamics of this relationship and its impact on a host of global and contemporary issues (such as BRICs, multilateralism, peacekeeping, and the environment) is crucial to shaping the 21st century. Students will acquire a deeper appreciation of the concept of agency linked to the varied response of countries and regional organizations to the BRI, from policy elites to local communities in the rest of the world, against the backdrop of China’s growing structural power, and placing Chinese engagement within the context of other ‘traditional’ and emerging powers.

Course Schedule

Ten Session Topics

  • Introduction to China rising—BRI and development as grand strategy

  • China’s economic development model and the BRI

  • China and Africa

  • China and the Middle East

  • China and Central Asia

  • China and Southeast Asia

  • China and Latin America

  • China and International Organizations

  • China, BRI and the Global South: implications for relations with the US, Europe and Japan

  • Conclusion/review

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of why and how China initiates its international development (like the Belt Road Initiative) in pursuit of global leadership.

  • Understand the benefits and challenges during China’s international development.

  • Identify how China’s international development influences other countries on several global issues, such as environment and peacekeeping.

  • Explore what roles agencies, from policy elites to local communities, may play during China’s international development and consider how they contribute to a better development.

  • Analyze China’s international development with empirical cases.