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China's Belt and Road Initiative: Patron-Client and Capture in Cambodia

Young, S; (2020) China's Belt and Road Initiative: Patron-Client and Capture in Cambodia. The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law , 8 (2) pp. 414-434. 10.1093/cjcl/cxaa025. Green open access

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Abstract

The launch of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has sparked scholarly interest in understanding how global Chinese capital has entered and faced the unique challenges often associated with the business and regulatory environments of developing economies. Drawing on the case of Cambodia, this article seeks to understand: (i) how the new generation of overseas Chinese investors and companies, in the era of BRI, acquire licences and secure business operation in developing economies and (ii) how these investments cope with the host country’s regulatory institutions, including grassroots communities and civil society organizations. The article argues that, while the BRI’s Chinese investors have played a crucial role in the Cambodian economy, this injection of capital has co-opted and exacerbated the ambiguity of Cambodia’s regulatory environment. These Chinese investors have perpetuated the host country’s socio-political culture of patron-client networks, partly entrenched by the Sino-Cambodian elites. These networks are necessary to tap into secure investment operations, and they duly capture (and influence) regulatory institutions at the expense of marginalized communities and civil society organizations. Drawing on Cambodia’s case, the article contributes to the understanding of patron-client relations and regulatory capture in the context of socio-legal studies and the political economy of China’s global capitalism.

Type: Article
Title: China's Belt and Road Initiative: Patron-Client and Capture in Cambodia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/cjcl/cxaa025
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cjcl/cxaa025
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: patron-client, intermediary, capture, regulation, China, Belt and Road Initiative, Cambodia
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111855
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