Aziz Burkhanov

PANEL 2: China’s Soft Power in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s Perceptions of China: Media and Society

Aziz Burkhanov, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

While the state-to-state cooperation between Kazakhstan and China remains stable and positive, the societal perception of China in Kazakhstan is more nuanced. Earlier discourse analysis research of Kazakhstan’s media narratives has shown that Kazakhstanis’ views toward China are divided across language of publication (Kazakh and Russian) and affiliation with the state. This paper aims to continue this study and seeks to explore the evolution of perception of China in Kazakhstan by analyzing later developments in the media discourse in Kazakh and Russian languages, as well as the survey data of Central Asia barometer. The paper argues that some of the attitudes are affected by historical legacy, lack of understanding and expertise on China, and security environments. This is further exacerbated by the differences between Kazakh and Russian linguistic audiences.