Even as global public opinion on China grew negative during the pandemic, Arab Barometer showed that in the Middle East and North African countries surveyed, popular views of China’s favorability remained relatively high.
What explains this popular perception of China in the MENA region?
Shaojin Chai is assistant professor of International Relations in School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sharjah as well as a research fellow on soft power and cultural dialogues for the UAE government. Born in China, Dr. Chai graduated from the School of International Relations at Peking University and got his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. He taught international relations in Zayed University in the UAE, and served as nonresident fellow in Hebei University in China between 2015-2020. He has been serving as advanced researcher and adviser in the UAE Ministry of Culture & Knowledge Development since 2014 to develop cultural understanding, knowledge infrastructure and technology transfer between the UAE and China. He also served as advisor in the UAE Minister of Tolerance’s office between 2017-2021. He is the co-founder and vice president of Zhenghe International Peace Foundation in Washington DC, a multi-disciplinary think-tank to conduct research and advisory on China’s global outreach and policy, especially along the Belt & Road Initiative.