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China Governs Borderless Threats: Chinese Counter-Narcotics and Riverine Law Enforcement in Southeast Asia
China is often seen as clinging resolutely to sovereignty and non-interference. This is typically viewed as a liability in an era where practically every problem appears to be transnational, requiring often-intrusive forms of interstate cooperation to address. In reality, however, China is increasingly softening its approach to non-interference and extending its ‘governance frontier’ beyond its borders to manage perceived threats to important interests. This seminar will discuss this phenomenon in general and provide a detailed case study of Chinese efforts to stem the influx of illegal narcotics from the Golden Triangle, by launching opium substitution projects in Myanmar and Laos and enhanced law enforcement cooperation, including joint patrols on the Mekong river. The specific interests involved in these governance projects shape their practical implementation, however, leading to results that are often not intended by top leaders and central agencies in Beijing.
Shahar Hameiri is Associate Professor of International Politics at the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland. Associate Professor Hameiri’s work focuses on the politics of security and development in the Asia-Pacific. His current project, with Dr Lee Jones, examines the effects of state transformation on China’s interactions with Southeast Asia. His latest co-authored books are International Intervention and Local Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and Governing Borderless Threats (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He is also a regular contributor to the media and tweets @ShaharHameiri.