Kazakhs are wary of neighbours bearing gifts

01 May 2020

(OpenDemocracy) The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a new front in great power competition — global health posturing. Whether it is assigning blame, providing medical aid, or modelling the most effective response, great powers are waging an information war against each other. China is aggressively defending its crisis management methods in the face of rising criticism from the international community. Alongside its "face mask diplomacy," China is touting its governance model as the most efficient in dealing with crisis situations. But how well positioned was China before the crisis really hit?

Some answers can be found in Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan, long an object of Chinese soft power. As the crisis developed, we surveyed ordinary people in Kazakhstan for their opinion on the different great powers, and which they believed had best coped with the pandemic. [...]

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