2020 promises to be a critical year in Europe-China relations. Results of a MERICS expert survey, however, indicate that prospects for success look dim, unless European governments can translate last year’s shift in rhetoric into real changes in policy and approach.
Hong Kong is still crucially important for China to access global financial markets. But Beijing’s reaction to the protest movement is increasingly putting this system at risk. Other financial centers, like Singapore or London, have been named as possible alternatives. But China cannot yet do without Hong Kong, argues Max J. Zenglein.
President Xi has recently been promoting Macau as the posterboy for China's “One Country, Two Systems” principle. He may be hoping that Hong Kong's citizens will heed his call, but this seems unlikely for the differences between the two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) are huge.
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.
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.
The government continues to lock up activists to stop feminism becoming a mass movement. Charlotte Cramer says Beijing will only succeed if it at last takes women’s rights seriously.
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.
Anti-Chinese protests in Russia and Kazakhstan show that Beijing’s Belt and Road projects can be undone by the popular resistance and local politics of their host countries. Government support is not enough, says Oyuna Baldakova.
For months now Hong Kong has gone through a rollercoaster of escalating protest, police action and government intransigence. The impression is left of a government that is out of touch with the population, unable or unwilling to represent Hong Kong’s interests against China and, most of all, without a game plan.
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.
Lacklustre collective action means Southeast Asia countries are failing to constrain the USA and China shaping the future of their region. Hanns W. Maull says European nations should take note.
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.
Do artists like Higher Brothers have the potential to boost the image of China abroad and finally bring Chinese societal resources to generate soft power?
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.
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.
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.
The Franco-German Alliance for Multilateralism, now officially up and running, will not be able to expect much of this American presidency. Can it count on China?
The Communist Party praises itself no end on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. But let’s not forget the truth on October 1 – China’s people are the power behind the country’s phenomenal rise over recent decades, says Kristin Shi-Kupfer.
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.
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.