The presence of China in the OSCE region is becoming resilient, particularly after Beijing began providing infrastructural loans to OSCE states. The size of the issued infrastructural loans in less developed economies is disproportionate to national economies, resulting in the borrowing countries becoming incapable of paying back the loans. In this chapter, I argue that China’s practices of infrastructural loans and China’s overall standing on minority issues and democratization contradicts the OSCE core principles and undermines OSCE integrity. To illustrate this, I use, first, the example of the promotion of non-democratic practices through non-transparent procurement, surveillance of civilians, and supply of police hardware for suppression and control of political dissidents (based on evidence from Eastern and Central Europe, and Central Asia) and, for the second example, I illustrate the violation of minority rights in re-education camps in the Xinjiang region (based on political and civic reaction from Central Asia), which Chinese authorities call “Vocational Education and Training Centers.” The first example helps to analyze how Chinese foreign loans contradict the democratic commitments of the borrowing countries. Chinese infrastructural loans promote non-democratic practices in borrowing countries through unfair, non-transparent procurement in infrastructural development projects. The Chinese side also provides surveillance systems and anti-protest police vehicles and ammunition which help to undermine individual rights and freedoms. The second example helps to analyze the reaction of Central Asian Muslim countries toward China’s treatment of kin-groups, namely the lack of critical reaction of CA states despite their OSCE-membership and commitment toward promotion of individual rights and freedoms (including freedom of faith). China has been providing infrastructural loans to most OSCE member states over the past two decades; and these member states have not officially responded to Chinese treatment of their own kin-groups, such as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Uyghur minorities—according to the OSCE core principles on minority rights. The OSCE core principles are categorized under the “human dimension” to ensure OSCE states’ “respect for individual rights and fundamental freedoms” and their commitment to “abide by the rule of law; promote principles of democracy; strengthen and protect democratic institutions” Yamamoto (2015). Most likely if there were no infrastructural loans from China, the OSCE countries under analysis would respond to Chinese domestic policy toward ethnic minorities critically. Most likely, by providing surveillance and police machinery, China tends to support the existing political regimes in borrowing countries and, by its non-transparent procurement, it does not encourage enforcement of laws.
Uraimov, M. (2021). China’s Emerging Political and Economic Dominance in the OSCE Region. In A. Mihr (Ed.), Between Peace and Conflict in the East and the West (pp. 95–116). Springer International Publishing; MTMT. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-77489-9_5, https://m2.mtmt.hu/gui2/?mode=browse¶ms=publication;32168747