Rethinking China, the Middle East and Asia in a 'Multiplex World'


This edited volume critically examines the changing dynamics of multidimensional relations between China, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia in an emerging 'multiplex world'. It challenges both extremes of 'Sinophobia' and 'Sinophilia' by studying the real 'pragmatist' China.

This book, in a foreword, introduction and thirteen chapters, problematises what MENA and Asia means to China in the age of neoliberalism, explores what are the real or perceived pillars of Sino‒MENA-Asia relations, and sheds light on how MENA can benefit from its relations with China while keeping a clear distance from the harms of neoliberal authoritarianism.

Contributors are Mojtaba Mahdavi, Tugrul Keskin, Manochehr Dorraj, Sari Hanafi, Habibul Haque Khondker, Dara Conduit, Rigas Arvanitis, Saeed Shafqat, Jordi Quero Arias, Mahesh Ranjan Debata, Andrea Ghiselli, Mher D. Sahakyan, Michael McCall, Yossra M. Taha and Xiaoyue Li.

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Mojtaba Mahdavi, Ph.D. (2006), Western University, is Professor of Political Science and the ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is the author of numerous works on MENA and Muslim politics, and the editor of The Myth of ‘Middle East Exceptionalism’: Unfinished MENA Social Movements (Syracuse University Press, 2022).

Tugrul Keskin, Ph.D. (2009), Virginia Tech, is Professor of Global Studies and the director of the Center for Global Governance and Political Economy at Shanghai University. He is the editor of Middle East Studies after September 11 Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony and Academia (Brill, 2018).
Foreword: Belt and Road: China’s Opportunities and Challenges
Manochehr Dorraj
Mojtaba Mahdavi and Tugrul Keskin

Part I: China–MENA Relations at Large
Chapter 1: The Triple Pillar of Sino–MENA Relations in the Age of Neoliberalism
Mojtaba Mahdavi
Chapter 2:China’s Mental Maps of the Middle East and North Africa: Critical Discourse Analysis of the Contemporary PRC Leadership’s Geopolitical Images
Jordi Quero

Part II: The Belt and Road Initiative: Challenges and Opportunities
Chapter 3: Is Growing the Iran–China Relationship as Easy as Building a Belt and Road?
Dara Conduit
Chapter 4: The Belt and Road Initiative: Central Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia
Mahesh Ranjan Debata
Chapter 5: The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor: Building National Consensus, Curbing Terrorism, and Managing Regional Rivalries in Balochistan
Saeed Shafqat

Part III: China’s Soft Power and Hard Power in the MENA Region
Chapter 6: Confucius in the UAE: Chinese Soft Power in the GCC
Habibul Haque Khondker
Chapter 7: China–Egypt Relations: Constructing Images and Perceptions in the Belt and Road Initiative
Xiaoyue Li
Chapter 8: Smoothing the Waters: Science and Research Collaboration between China and the Arab World
Sari Hanafi and Rigas Arvanitis
Chapter 9: China and the MENA Region in a Decentred World
Andrea Ghiselli

Part IV: Sino–MENA Regional Dynamics: Energy and Beyond
Chapter 10: Sino–Turkish Relations in the New Era: From Political Conflict to Economic Cooperation
Michael McCall and Tugrul Keskin
Chapter 11: Sino–Egyptian Relations and the New Regional Dynamics of the Middle East
Yossra M. Taha
Chapter 12: China’s Policy on the Iranian Nuclear Issue: Cooperation and Disagreements with Russia and the United States
Mher D. Sahakyan
Chapter 13: Chinese Engagement with the MENA Region: Exploring Sino–MENA Event Data
Michael McCall
This book serves as a significant scholarly endeavour; both as a resource for policy-makers and as an academic textbook for students and professors of Political Science, Sociology, History, Anthropology, International Studies, and Middle East, Asia & Chinese Studies.