Strategic Foresight

China's public diplomacy: What does it mean for Europe?
13 Jan 2015 12:00

China invests heavily in policies aimed at improving its image, guarding itself against international criticism and advancing its  domestic and international agenda. The Chinese government seeks to  develop a distinct Chinese approach to public diplomacy, one that suits  the country's culture and authoritarian system. In “China's Public Diplomacy”, author Ingrid d'Hooghe argues that this approach is characterised by a long-term vision, a dominant role for the government, an inseparable and complementary domestic dimension, and a high level of interconnectedness with China's overall foreign policy and diplomacy. Europe encompasses multiple, potentially conflicting, levels of public diplomacy (subnational, national, transnational, and supranational) and the European Union lacks a structured public diplomacy policy. However, a number of recent initiatives aim to reinforce the link  between EU foreign and cultural policies, such as the EC Communication "European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World"  and the creation of a Member State expert group on culture and  external relations (taking China as a test case). As China steps up its public diplomacy efforts, what does this mean for Europe? Can Europe learn from China's approach to public diplomacy? Is there a degree of convergence between Chinese and European public diplomacy practices? Can public diplomacy help overcome stumbling blocks in mutual understanding? How could Europe improve its public diplomacy towards China (and the rest of the word)?

A lunch-seminar / book launch with:  

  • Ingrid d’Hooghe, Senior Research Associate, The Cligendael Institute
  • Damien Helly, Deputy Head of programme Strengthening European External Action, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
  • Jian Xiaoyan, Counsellor Director, Press and Communication Section, Chinese Mission to the EU
  • Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit, Culture policy and intercultural dialogue, DG Education and Culture, European Commission

The debate will be moderated by Jan Melissen, Senior Research Fellow, The Clingendael Instituten and Professor of Diplomacy, University of Antwerp. 

Speakers' bios

The debate will be held in English.

Sandwiches and drinks will be provided from 11:30 onwards.

To register, please send your name, title and the name of your organisation to [email protected]

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us on: +32 (0) 2 209 62 10.

This event is held on the occasion of the launch of the book “China's Public Diplomacy” (I. d’Hooghe, Brill Nijhoff, 2015).

This event is jointly organised with The Clingendael Institute.