Silk Road Diplomacy

Deconstructing Beijing’s Toolkit to Influence South and Central Asia

Silk Road Diplomacy AidData Report Page

Many countries engage in public diplomacy—diplomatic instruments used to influence the perceptions, preferences, and actions of citizens and leaders in another country—as a means to win over foreign publics and advance national interests. In a new study and report published by AidData, in collaboration with the Asia Society Policy Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the authors look at the past two decades of China’s relationship cultivation—including efforts to balance negative perceptions of its growing military and economic strength—within its greater periphery, specifically the 13 countries of South and Central Asia.

This study collected an unprecedented amount of qualitative and quantitative data on Beijing’s public diplomacy in the South and Central Asian region from 2000 through 2018. In the report Silk Road Diplomacy, the authors analyze this data to illuminate which tools Beijing deploys, with whom, and to what effects within this subregion.

Read the Executive Summary

Read the Full Report


Samantha Custer, Director of Policy Analysis, AidData
Tanya Sethi, Senior Policy Analyst, AidData
Jonathan A. Solis, Research Analyst, AidData
Joyce Lin, Junior Program Manager, AidData
Siddharta Ghose, Associate Director, AidData
Anubhav Gupta, Associate Director, Asia Society Policy Insititute
Rodney Knight, Deputy Director of Research, AidData
Austin Baehr, Program Manager, AidData

The report was launched in New Delhi at a special conference on December 10th, held in partnership by AidData, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Observer Research Foundation, and the Asia Society Policy Institute.