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Killing the Chickens, Scaring the Monkeys? Demonstration Effects from PRC Coercion and its Limits

February 12 @ 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program Event


Please join us for a lecture with:

Ja Ian Chong, Associate Professor of political Science,

National University of Singapore

Moderated by:

Thomas Christensen, Professor of International and Public Affairs,

Columbia University

A common claim about PRC economic statecraft is that it aims to discourage states from engaging in behavior Beijing finds undesirable by visibly punishing third parties. However, there is limited evidence about how such third-party punishment works, particularly when states are more or less sensitive to such indirect demonstration effects. This talk seeks to address this question by examining the cases of the United Kingdom, France, Malaysia, and Taiwan. We argue that states with experience of direct punishment tend to be more resistant to demonstrations of punishment toward third parties and more confident of their ability to navigate areas of potential friction. Even though our focus is on states, similar reasoning about demonstration effects and their limits could apply to non-state entities as well. Our work here augments existing work on coercive diplomacy and economic statecraft tends to focus on the direct effects of threats and punishment and sometimes the audience costs the initiator faces.

About the Speaker:

Ja Ian Chong is associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. He previously worked atthe Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore and was a Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program fellow. Dr. Chong’s work crosses the fields of international relations, comparative politics, and political sociology, with a focus on security issues relating to Asia, China, and the United States. He has particular interest in security cooperation, major power rivalry, and external intervention in domestic politics. Dr. Chong follows the interplay of social movements, political liberalization and democratic backsliding, and foreign policy in Asia closely. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute where he is working on a project comparing regional reactions to US-China competition in East Asia.


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute Lectures Series event.

No registration required



February 12, 2020

4:30 PM-7:30 PM



International Affairs Building, Room 918

420 W 118th Street


Cosponsors:  Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program


February 12
4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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