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MERICS researchers discuss and analyze developments and current affairs in China: What is behind the Belt and Road Initiative? What kind of leader is Xi Jinping? How should we assess China’s climate change policies? How does the Chinese government use social media to its own ends?

In addition to MERICS’s own staff, other experts on China and guest speakers at MERICS also take part in the interviews.

Follow us on Soundcloud or iTunes to see which podcasts we are currently airing.

Rui Ma on China’s fast-changing internet industry

November 22, 2019

China leads the world in the number of unicorn startups, many of which are e-commerce and other Internet-based businesses. New e-commerce platforms are emerging alongside established players, such as Pinduoduo, the group buying platform that trails only Alibaba in number of users and has become one of China’s five most valuable Internet companies. TikTok owner Bytedance recently revised its revenue target for 2019 to 120 billion RMB, from an earlier goal set late last year of 100 billion. At the same time, the US-China trade dispute is putting relations between China and Silicon Valley under strain.

Angel investor and entrepreneur Rui Ma shared her insights into the fast-changing ecosystem of China’s Internet at a MERICS Lunch Talk in November. She talked about the companies to watch, the biggest trends, including the rise of rural users and live e-commerce, among other topics with MERICS experts Kristin Shi-Kupfer and Rebecca Arcesati.

Listen to an edited version of the discussion in the MERICS experts podcast.

Peter Gries: How Germans feel and think about China

November 8, 2019

How do Germans feel and think about China, and why? What are the primary ideological drivers of their views? And how do they differ from other European partners or the US? In this episode of our MERICS Experts podcast, Peter Hays Gries, Lee Kai Hung Chair and Director of the Manchester China Institute at the University of Manchester, where he is also Professor of Chinese politics, is discussing these and other aspects of China’s perception in Western countries with Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich, Director of Communications at MERICS.

Chen Xiangming on the China-Europe Freight Train

October 31, 2019

Since the first China-Europe freight train reached Duisburg from the megacity of Chongqing in southwestern China in 2011, the number of trains and routes have multiplied to various and frequent services. The trains carry containerized goods between Chinese cities and major European urban centers. The China-Europe Freight Train (CEFT) is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its Go West Strategy. What kind of opportunities and challenges will the implementation of the China-Europe Freight Train (CEFT) face? What local impact will it have? In this episode of our MERICS Experts podcast, Chen Xiangming, Professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, is discussing these and other aspects of the BRI with Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich, Director of Communications at MERICS.

Abdul Abiad on the US-China trade conflict and its impact on Asia

October 18, 2019

Growth prospects in developing Asia are dimming. Slowing activity in major advanced economies, the ongoing US-China trade conflict, and a sharp downturn in the global electronics cycle necessitate a reassessment of the region’s outlook. How much will Asia’s growth slow? How might the trade war evolve, and how is it affecting countries in the region? In this episode of our MERICS Experts podcast, Claudia Wessling, Head of Publications at MERICS, talks to Abdul Abiad, Director of the Macroeconomic Research Division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila. Abiad was in Berlin to present the ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update.

Gregory Chin: “The AIIB is more than a China-only story“

October 8, 2019

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) provides financing for public and private infrastructure projects for Asia, but also beyond. When the AIIB was launched in January 2016 with 57 founding members, many observers argued that it will become a Chinese dominated bank instead of a multilateral one: For the first time a new multilateral development bank championed by China – with Beijing sitting at the center of the table, setting the agenda, defining the priorities, making the rules.

Almost five years later, the AIIB has progressed faster than many expected and counts 100 members already. In the latest episode of the MERICS experts podcast, Gregory Chin, a former Canadian diplomat and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at York University (Canada), talks to Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich about the AIIB, potential new members, and China’s priorities.

MERICS China Dispute: 70th anniversary of PRC - Can the CCP deliver its "China Dream"?

October 1, 2019

On September 26th, MERICS hosted a China Dispute on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Leading experts from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada discussed if the CCP - after 70 years of rule and facing intensely challenging domestic and international environments - can deliver its “China Dream”, create a more just and equal society, and reestablish the social contract between the leadership and the people?

Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Director of Public Policy and Society at MERICS, moderated the debate featuring Sarah Eaton (Professor for Transregional China Studies in the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin) Christian Göbel (Professor of Modern China Studies at the University of Vienna), Andreas Møller Mulvad (Assistant Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen and MERICS director Frank N. Pieke.

Before the panel discussion, Shi-Kupfer talked with MERICS research associate Nis Grünberg about the latest MERICS China Monitor on Party-state relations.

Listen to an edited version of the debate in the latest MERICS Experts Podcast!

Adnan Aamir: BRI in Pakistan

September 25, 2019

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is often referred to as the flagship project of China' Belt and Road Initiative. However, five years into the project, “change has been nowhere near what was expected,” says Adnan Aamir, founder and editor of the Pakistani online newspaper Balochistan Voices. So far, the Pakistani chapter of the BRI neither solved the energy crisis nor did it create new industries, jobs or opportunities for Pakistani companies. Pakistan's new government, in office since August 2018, is now reviewing some of the far reaching BRI contracts. Claudia Wessling, Head of Publications at MERICS, talked to Adnan Aamir for the latest episode of our MERICS experts podcast.

Helena Legarda: “Military conflict about Taiwan is nobody’s preferred option at the moment”

August 6, 2019

For the first time in four years, China has released a major defense white paper. While much of its content is familiar from previous white papers, the line taken on the United States and Taiwan is markedly more aggressive, says MERICS analyst Helena Legarda, author of the China Global Security Tracker. In the latest MERICS Expert podcast she argues that the overall intention of this white paper is to signal to the outside world that China and its armed forces are responsible, engaged members of the international community.

Yuen Chan on Hong Kong protests and the role of the media

July 23, 2019

Since more than seven weeks, people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets in opposition to an extradition law and the continuous loss of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The protesters demand an independent investigation into the use of police violence during earlier demonstrations. On July 21st, the situation escalated, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters following a large rally. For the first time, protests were not only directed at the Hong Kong government but also at Beijing.

Yuen Chan, currently teaching at the City University of London, worked for many years as a journalist, columnist and senior lecturer for journalism in Hong Kong. She talks with MERICS’ Director of Communication, Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich, about the bloody weekend in Hong Kong and the special role of the media. She argues, “I think, for journalists in Hong Kong it is really, really important that they get to frame the narrative, get to tell the Hong Kong story. Don’t let other people tell your story!”

Tom Bayes on Chinese presence in the African tech sector

July 9, 2019

China’s engagement in Africa is often reduced to infrastructure and resources. But China is also massively increasing its presence in the African tech sector. Chinese state-owned enterprises and private companies are providing telecommunication lines and consumer electronics, but also surveillance technologies and digital solutions to enhance government control. “It is important that we have a nuanced understanding of what is going on both positive and negative dimensions,” argues China-Africa researcher and former MERICS Visiting Academic Fellow Tom Bayes in the latest episode of the MERICS Experts podcast.