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The Mysteries of Popularity

Last week we spoke with Joanna Chiu about her fascinating book China Unbound: A New World Disorder. The book focuses on the mechanics of Chinese influence-building around the world. It touches down in several places, including Greece, Russia, Turkey, and Hong Kong, but its main focus falls on influential middle powers, especially Australia and Canada, and the American sun under which they bask.


It was really interesting to speak with Chiu about the contrast between China’s cratering approval numbers in advanced economies, and the more complex situation in the Global South. Whereas both government and popular opinion of China in the rich Global North hover somewhere between disapproval and foam-flecked hatred, approval ratings in Africa, the Arab World, and elsewhere in the Global South are considerably friendlier.

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