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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.

Shen Dingli and Jagannath Panda on China-India relations

January 27, 2020

The relationship between India and China is traditionally fraught with difficulty. But tensions seem to have relaxed after a low point in 2017, when Chinese and Indian forces faced each other in a border standoff. Since then, China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met twice for informal meetings. In 2020, both countries celebrate 70 years of official diplomatic relations.

In our latest podcast Dr. Jagannath Panda, Research Fellow and Centre Coordinator for East Asia at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in New Delhi, and Professor Shen Dingli, former Executive Dean at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University and Vice President of the Chinese Association of South Asia Studies, discuss the current and past relationship between China and India and look at opportunities and challenges in the coming years. Johannes Heller, Communication Manager at MERICS, asked the questions.

This podcast was recorded on the sidelines of the MERICS China-India Conference titled: “India-China Dynamics: Reappraising the significance for Europe”.

Bertram Lang on International Civil Society Organizations and China


What are the implications of China’s growing global influence for the future work of International Civil Society Organizations (ICSOs)? How can organizations – such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Save the Children or Transparency International – deal with China, Chinese partners and the Chinese Communist Party?

In this episode of our MERICS Experts podcast, Bertram Lang, author of the recently released “Sector Guide” on China that was written on behalf of the International Civil Society Centre, is discussing these and other aspects of ICSOs and their relationship to China with Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich, Director of Communications at MERICS.

MERICS Lunch Talk on the future of Hong Kong

December 20, 2019

With no end in sight to nearly seven months of political tension, Hong Kong’s role as a financial hub crucial for the prosperity of China’s economy is being put to the test. The special administrative region’s economy has suffered as travelers avoid the city and locals cut back on retail spending. Yet the financial sector appears to remain relatively unaffected. But the protests have led to a stricter political environment. Economic liberties that once gave the city its special standing are increasingly at risk of being undermined.  

Listen to a panel discussion recorded just after the Hong Kong District Council elections with Hong Kong Legislative Councilor Hon. Charles Mok, Hong Kong based economist Alicia Garcia-Herrero, MERICS expert Max J. Zenglein and MERICS CEO Frank N. Pieke. The event was moderated by Claudia Wessling, head of publications at MERICS.

China as a major actor in climate policy – Preview

December 12, 2019

The international community is currently holding its 25th Conference of Parties in Madrid to negotiate climate protection targets and measures. As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is a major player in the discussions on how to achieve effective action for climate protection. One day before the China Renewable Energy Outlook 2019 was presented in Madrid on December 12, China’s role in climate policy was the topic at a MERICS Lunch talk.

The panel included Carolin Schenuit (Team Leader for System and Market Integration of Renewable Energies at the German Energy Agency, dena) and Lars Møllenbach Bregnbæk, partner at Ea Energy Analyses (Ea). Both were also involved in drafting the outlook together with the Chinese think tank China National Renewable Energy Center (CNREC). Nis Grünberg, analyst at MERICS and an expert on state-owned-enterprise reform in the energy sector, completed the panel. They discussed the challenges faced by China in its energy transition and ways in which China can meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The discussion was prefaced by a presentation of the China Renewable Energy Outlook 2019 by Carolin Schenuit. Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich, Director of Communications at MERICS, moderated the event. Listen to an edited version of the discussion in the MERICS experts podcast

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!