Within the frames of the BRIDGE initiative, Civic IDEA has contributed to the creation of the International Republican Institute’s 2021 report “A WORLD SAFE FOR THE PARTY, CHINA’S AUTHORITARIAN INFLUENCE AND THE DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE”. The research includes the case studies of Nepal, Panama, Kenya, Montenegro, Georgia, and Greece and exposes the impact of CCP influence operations on fragile democracies around the world.
Georgia’s case focuses on its strategic geolocation, making it an essential part of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” in China’s BRI. However, Sino-Georgian economic cooperation boosted through the BRI, FTA, and various dual agreements have yielded mixed results. “BRI-related investments by Chinese state-owned or government-linked companies in Georgia have spurred infrastructure developments while fueling corruption and rent-seeking behavior among Georgian politicians. Many large projects undertaken by Chinese companies are left unfinished or are beset by financial and logistical problems.”
Although China is more perceived as an economic partner of Georgia, the Sino-Georgian cooperation has gone beyond the economic sphere covering other areas such as media, CSO, culture, and academia. The various initiatives implemented through these domains influence Georgian public opinion about China and serve the CCP’s broader foreign policy goals.
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The BRIDGE initiative, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, works to bolster democratic resilience to foreign authoritarian influence. By increasing awareness of authoritarian tactics and equipping stakeholders with the tools and resources to overcome them, BRIDGE programming supports at-risk countries to safeguard democratic institutions and advance their democratic development.