One of the major avenues of China’s interaction with Central and Eastern European states has been the Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative, established in 2015 and part of the Belt and Road Initiative. DSR is in some ways a complement to Beijing’s Made in China 2025 strategy, a national industrial plan that aims at transforming China into a high-tech global powerhouse. But in Central and Eastern Europe, as in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and parts of Asia, the DSR, and other, earlier Chinese telecoms investments, have run into roadblocks as countries are increasingly concerned about their digital sovereignty and about other potentially negative implications of allowing Chinese firms to build their telecommunications infrastructure. For more on the conflict between China’s increasingly assertive global technology firms, who gained a foothold in Europe well before the DSR was created, and Central and Eastern European states’ desires to protect their sovereignty and digital privacy, please read the entire paper here.
The Council on Foreign Relations acknowledges the Ford Foundation for its generous support of this project.
Marta Makowska is an analyst in the European Union program at the Polish Institute for International Affairs.