GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Wai Yip
Title of Paper:
Aligning Asian Muslims, Targeting Arab Trade: China’s Ningxia as the Islamic Hub for China-Arab Connections
Paper Proposal Text :
After the success of flourishing Arab business in Yiwu of Zhejiang province, China has been strategically transforming Yinchuan of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as the Islamic hub for China-Arab trade. Through deploying Ningxia, the only provincial Hui Muslim region and an importance source of Arabic-language expertise for other parts of China, as the pioneer of non-oil trade like developing Halal food industry, this paper considers how China’s multidimensional diplomacy moves to a new phase of strategic engagement in the Arab world, emphasizing the Islamic cultural affiliation and common business interest that binds the ties between China and Asian states. First, undermining the state-centered international framework, China appropriates Ningxia’s Islamic alignment and highlights the complementary partnership with Muslim substantial population of Southeast and South Asian neighbors in developing Islamic economies (e.g. seeking recognition of Halal food certification from Malaysia and Thailand, inviting India in future cooperation of China-Arab trade forum). Second, overcoming the zero-sum conflictual relationship with Asian neighbors in energy competition, China attempts to broaden the future China-Arab interaction beyond merely oil and natural gas exchange. Finally, positioning Ningxia as the China-Arab states economic and trade forum, aligning Asian Muslim population and targeting the collective business interests in Arab world, this paper also reveals China’s response towards the changing Gulf politics in the midst of the Arab Spring.