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China having negative impact on global democracy, says Nathan

[HONG KONG] China's pursuit of economic and security interests beyond its borders has a negative impact on global democracy, according to Andrew Nathan, a leading China scholar.

Concern is increasing that China "will seek to remake the world in its authoritarian image," Mr Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University, wrote in an article published on Thursday in a special 25th anniversary edition of the Journal of Democracy.

Over the past three decades of rapid economic growth, China created a large middle class and then succeeded in co-opting it politically, Mr Nathan said.

Beijing's success in using technocrats and experts in building modern infrastructure is encouraging, and other authoritarian regimes have looked to China's Internet management as a model, he said.

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Mr Nathan has written and edited numerous books on China's politics and foreign relations, including "China's Transition and The Tiananmen Papers."

He is co-chair of the board of Human Rights in China and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch.