MERICS Blog, European Voices on China, Header

 

Linda Liang

Nationalism is a powerful force in China – one that, once mobilized, can serve the government’s purposes. As EU member states weigh up their decision on Huawei, the possibility of a backlash by Chinese consumers has to be considered. Could the Chinese government let loose a retaliation from the bottom up? Linda Liang weighs up the odds. 

In its fight against the spread of the Coronavirus, Beijing is placing an awful lot of faith in untested AI and big data applications. Kai von Carnap says the world should use these new tools with caution.

Chinese tech companies are turning to European suppliers and collaborative projects to cut their reliance on US suppliers. Caroline Meinhardt says Europe faces some tough choices.

As European governments debate whether to allow Huawei to build critical 5G infrastructure, fears of economic retaliation by China play a major role in their thinking. While this is a legitimate concern, it would be a mistake if such concerns were allowed to dominate decision-making on strategic issues, argue Lucrezia Poggetti and Max J. Zenglein.

China is pushing for its currency to be used all over the world and its renminbi trading infrastructure is particularly good in the European Union. Maximilian Kärnfelt says this looks set to bring the Europeans real commercial benefits – and create real geopolitical problems. 

 

The US and Europe differ on using Chinese companies for next-generation mobile-phone networks. John Lee says that reflects different assessments of whether the benefits can outweigh the risks.

That China has a stake in the Middle East became evident just recently, when the killing of an Iranian general by a US drone strike drew a very critical response from Beijing. However, wary of further antagonizing the United States and prolonging their trade dispute, China refrained from taking concrete action to support Tehran. Faced with the choice between supporting its ally Iran or staying out of the fray, Beijing chose the status quo, says MERICS analyst Helena Legarda.

For much of the past year, China has been preoccupied with its trade conflict with the United States. Now that it has a clinched a “phase-one” deal with Washington, it is turning its attention to Europe. The problem? Europe hasn't made up its mind about how to respond, says Noah Barkin. 

Barbara Kelemen

Growing Chinese commitment to Afghanistan’s pine-nut industry is a small but illuminating example of Beijing’s interest in the region bordering Xinjiang, says Barbara Kelemen.

A wave of ideological indoctrination and discipline is undoing a generation of flexible policy making, says Nis Grünberg. Love for the party and the socialist idea are no replacement.

Over the past decade, China has established itself as Kyrgyzstan’s most important economic partner. The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is one of the most successful state-owned Chinese companies invested in projects in this landlocked and mountainous central Asian country. In his conversations with workers on the ground, Jacob Mardell found out that BRI is not only a tale of national, but also of personal ambition. He is currently travelling countries along the Belt and Road to investigate how the initiative is being implemented on the ground.

Resistance to Chinese technology is growing in Germany—and the ripple effects could reach across the continent.

Beijing can’t allow the yuan to keep falling, says Maximilian Kärnfelt. A weaker currency is good for exporters, but bad for other parts of the economy.

Beijing talks up equality for foreign and domestic businesses but action is slow, say Mikko Huotari and Agatha Kratz.

Washington is escalating its campaign to contain China by blacklisting technology firms. It’s not clear if Europe is prepared to follow suit. Either way, there will be a price to pay.

Lavender Au, Mats Kuuskemaa

China’s personal social credit scoring has sparked controversy, but many in China appear willing to accept it. Lavender Au and Mats Kuuskemaa ask how far this acceptance goes. This article is part 4 of a mini-series to present the outcomes of the MERICS European China Talent Program 2019.

Linking China and Europe via the Caspian Sea, the “Middle Corridor” is one of the BRI’s six “official” corridor. But in the South Caucasus region, China is almost nowhere to be seen, says Jacob Mardell. He is currently travelling countries along the Belt and Road to investigate how the initiative is being implemented on the ground. 

 

Alice Mingay

The first in a series of Courts of the Internet to open across China utilizes Alibaba’s size and experience to pioneer online dispute resolution reform. It not only demonstrates the Chinese internet giant’s growing influence in the regulatory sphere, but more widely shows the increasing symbiosis of big tech and government, says Alice Mingay.

Julian Weber

The Indian Ocean is a critical link in global trade routes, with 80 percent of global seaborne trade passing through it. As China increasingly asserts its interests in the region, Europe cannot afford to turn a blind eye, argues Julian Weber.

As Chinese companies become ever more assertive globally, Europe needs to better support up-and-coming industries and advance cross-regional partnerships, argue Alexandra-Andreea Pop and Anne-Sophie Deman.

This article is part 3 of a mini-series to present the outcomes of the MERICS European China Talent Program 2019.

Ben Miller, Aljoscha Nau, Clémence Lizé

Brussels and Beijing should use their trading clout to forge new rules for online shopping and create new momentum for WTO-reform, argue Ben Miller, Aljoscha Nau and Clémence Lizé.

This article is part 2 of a mini-series to present the outcomes of the MERICS European China Talent Program 2019.

Selina Morell

In the space realm, Europe still seeks cooperation with China despite having framed it a systemic rival. This creates serious strategic and economic risks, because Europe is too fragmented to keep up with China’s concerted commercial and military efforts to challenge the US dominance in space.

This article is part 1 of a mini-series to present the outcomes of the MERICS European China Talent Program 2019.

The protests in Hong Kong that have been going on for weeks and the tough attitude of the city’s government, which is remotely controlled from Beijing, now make it unmistakably clear to everyone that the coexistence of totalitarian politics and a liberal economy does not work with China, says Kristin Shi-Kupfer.

Dozens of European companies have business ties to Xinjiang, where according to UN estimates Chinese authorities have detained more than a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. European governments need to take a more active interest in their companies’ operations in the region, says MERICS Visiting Policy Fellow Benjamin Haas.

Insa Ewert (via Young China Watchers)

In March this year, Italy became the first G7 nation to sign an official MoU with China in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The move by the Italian government has been interpreted as a sign of increasing divisions within Europe over China. But to what extent might the Italian example be an indication of a shift or rift in EU-China relations?