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Chinese Think Tank Scholars Are Increasingly Concerned That Instability in North Africa Will Provoke a “Second Arab Spring”

Libyans take part in a demonstration against eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, and in support of the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA), in the Martyrs' Square in the GNA-held capital Tripoli on January 24, 2020. AFP

Chinese scholars are closely monitoring the deteriorating situation in Libya with an eye on whether instability there will spread to other countries in North Africa, particularly Algeria and Sudan. Sun Xia from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences wondered whether the twin forces of declining oil prices and a civil war in Libya will spark a “second Arab Spring.”

Now, it’s important to note that in a Chinese context, any reference to the Arab Spring is politically significant given Beijing’s high levels of insecurity over a similar people-led movement erupting at home. In fact, the term is largely banned on Chinese social media.

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