Projects, Processes, Politics
Edited by Susan L. Robertson, Kris Olds, Roger Dale and Que Anh Dang
Chapter 8: Ir-regular regionalism? China’s borderlands and ASEAN higher education: trapped in the prism
The fact that China–ASEAN relations are conventionally viewed through the prism of economics and trade is misleading in at least two senses. Firstly, even within the trade portfolio, the emphasis is conventionally on goods, obscuring swiftly rising service sector trade in areas such as finance, tourism and education. Secondly, the emphasis on trade is itself misleading, in that China–ASEAN relations are far richer, of longer duration, and more varied than mere trade relations indicate. In this chapter I will show that China’s southern borderlands, selected as an illustration of wider China–ASEAN regionalism in higher education, reveal a rich and complex tapestry of relations extending over more than a millennium, and that crucially embrace forms of higher learning and knowledge mobility. Six pillars of China–ASEAN relations are sketched below: economics, knowledge mobility, historical background, Chinese regional diaspora, territorial disputes and regional perceptions of Chinese minorities; before turning to a specific focus on China’s southern borderlands region that has long featured close relations with Viet Nam. This might be considered an asymmetric relationship. Yet Chan has argued that, whilst Viet Nam has maintained its independence, China will have to buy its way into Southeast Asia, via Viet Nam (Chan, 2013: 121–122; South China Morning Post, 2015a, 2015b).
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