Corrosive Capital’s Threat to Democracy: How China and Russia Undermine Rule of Law Through Foreign Investment and Development Strategies

9.20.2018, 9:30AM to 11:30AM

Foreign direct investment and government-to-government economic development assistance are critical for emerging economies. Foreign direct investment also signifies a vote of confidence in the political leadership and long-term economic prospects in fragile states. However, there is growing evidence that many forms of state-driven capital from authoritarian nations are having a corrosive effect on democratic institutions and private enterprise. This event will examine the impact on rule of law and democratic governance in developing nations that receive substantial foreign investment or assistance from Russia and China, as well as ways in which domestic policy reform can counter potential negative effects.


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Opening Remarks

Provided by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy




  • Shanthi Kalathil, Director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy


Speaker Bios:

  • Shanthi Kalathil is Director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. Her work has focused primarily on issues pertaining to democratization, development, and the impact of information and communication technology, with a particular emphasis on Asia. Previously in her career, she served as a senior Democracy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, an associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a non-resident associate with the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and as a consultant for the World Bank, the Aspen Institute and other international affairs organizations. Kalathil has appeared on media including NPR, BBC, VOA, RFA, C-SPAN and others, and has authored or edited numerous policy and scholarly publications, including Diplomacy, Development and Security in the Information Age (Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, 2013). A former Hong Kong-based staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal Asia, Kalathil lectures on international relations in the information age at Georgetown University. She holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Read Shanthi Kalathil’s full bio on the NED website.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner began serving in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2005 where he spent time as the Minority Whip, before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. In addition to serving on the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Gardner serves on the Senate Energy & Natural Resource Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee. He also serves as Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Senator Gardner led the effort to impose broad new sanctions against North Korea, as the regime continues to be a leading abuser of human rights and its reckless advancement of nuclear weapons threatens our national security. Please read Senator Gardner’s full bio here on his official website.


Hart Senate Office Building
Room 902, 120 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002