"China wants to adjust the international order"

The seasoned China expert, who is fluent in Mandarin, presented his analysis at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and discussed China's growing international role with MERICS Director Sebastian Heilmann. Please listen to an edited version of the event in our new MERICS Experts podcast.

No radical break with the past in China’s military reform programme


The announcement of China’s far-reaching military reform package on 1 January 2016 set off an avalanche of news reports and scholarly debate. Amid disagreements over the motivations behind the reform initiative and its possible consequences, a dominant narrative quickly took shape: the structural changes to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) amount to a radical break with the past.

China needs to do more to shore up a fraying international order. Beijing is thinking about it.


The world is in turmoil. Islamist terrorist attacks hit France, Indonesia, Somalia, Burkina Faso; the Syrian civil war continues unabated; North Korea tests another nuclear bomb. The United States can and will no longer lead the way in solving all these crises, and the consequences of this void are not exactly reassuring, especially not for China. Rather than transitioning from a Pax Americana to the much-touted Chinese vision of a multipolar world, the global order seems to be falling apart.

China’s role in global innovation – more than a fast follower? (Part One)


Weaning China off dependence on foreign knowledge is a long-standing goal of China’s leadership, embodied in successive policies to promote technology transfer, research output and patent filings. China’s president Xi Jinping recently declared that “the situation of our nation being under others' control in core technologies of key fields has not changed fundamentally, and the country's S&T foundation remains weak.” 

Gossip, guanxi, and guesswork: time to demystify the Chinese leadership


We’ve tended to view Chinese policy and politics through the prism of guanxi (connections) and factions—somewhat specialized “China” categories that help us make sense of the black box of Chinese leadership politics. But are we relying too heavily on terms like “guanxi” and “factions,” preventing us from thinking about Chinese politics in a more cross-cutting, relevant way? 

China drops anchor in Mediterranean ports


The sale of the Port of Piraeus to China’s COSCO shipping company has captured the public attention like no other Chinese investment in Europe. The recently completed privatisation of the Greek port became a symbol for the Eurozone’s economic woes as well as for China’s global reach.