Under Beijing's Shadow: Southeast Asia's China Challenge





China’s rise and stepped-up involvement in Southeast Asia have prompted a blend of anticipation and unease among its smaller neighbors. The stunning growth of China has yanked up the region’s economies, but its militarization of the South China Sea and dam building on the Mekong River has nations wary about Beijing’s outsized ambitions.

Southeast Asians long felt relatively secure, relying on the United States as a security hedge, but that confidence began to slip after the Trump administration launched a trade war with China and questioned the usefulness of traditional alliances.

This compelling book provides a snapshot of ten countries in Southeast Asia by exploring their diverse experiences with China and how this impacts their perceptions of Beijing’s actions and its long-term political, economic, military, and “soft power” goals in the region.

"Six hundred million people, three trillion dollar economy and strategic location--all reasons to pay close attention to Southeast Asia. This has been accomplished in fine fashion by Murray Hiebert. What sets him apart is he observes as a journalist, elicits facts, and reports them. You feel the growing influence of China on all aspects of Southeast Asia life . . . security, infrastructure, finance. Murray outlines the difficult choices each of the ten nations has as they wrestle with the promise and challenge of the bulk of China. Who better to do this than someone with 45 years of experience in the region? This book matters.”

— Richard Armitage, former Assistant Secretary of State 

"The next century will be defined by geopolitical competition in Asia and answering the ‘China Challenge.’ Murray Hiebert does a terrific job of examining the history and the importance of a region that will be critical to U.S. national and economic security. This work will help to develop a better model of engaging and thinking critically about Southeast Asia and China for scholars and policymakers alike. His work is clear: the future of the West will be met in the East.”

— Cory Gardner, U.S. Senator 

"Murray Hiebert weaves together a compelling and comprehensive portrait of Southeast Asia’s complex relationship with China. Under Beijing’s Shadow is an indispensable and enlightening read for anyone who seeks to understand this important region at a moment when major powers are increasingly vying for influence and access.”

— Danny Russel, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific 

“A significant and valuable work on a complex subject matter with resonance far beyond the region. Illuminating.”

— Marty Natalegawa, former Indonesian Foreign Minister

Murray Hiebert
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Southeast Asia Program