Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Chinese "expansion" in Europe

The goals and methods of China's soft power initiatives in Europe are a bit different.

With everyone focused on Russia, China is quietly expanding its influence across Europe
Shortly after the turmoil surrounding President Trump’s repeatedly rescheduled visit to Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on a trip to Beijing where she celebrated a new “golden era” and was cheered by the Chinese news media for not bringing up pesky human rights issues.

When it was President Emmanuel Macron’s turn earlier in January, the French leader similarly announced his “determination to get the Europe-China partnership into the 21st century.”…

Two new studies, however, suggest that Europe’s embrace of China, even as it warns against Russian meddling, might benefit from a certain degree of wariness. When it comes to Beijing, they argue, European leaders appear to too willing to overlook China’s authoritarian ambitions…

[R]esearchers examined a number of covert and more public means the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is believed to be using to influence European politics, such as infrastructure investments in eastern and southern Europe in cash-strapped countries such as Greece. Improved Chinese-Norwegian trade ties have coincided with a Norwegian effort to drop some of its human rights criticism of Beijing. China has also pushed its narrative in advertisements taken out in leading media outlets across the continent…

[R]esearchers explain, “By comparison, the CCP leadership’s buildup of influence across Europe is reinforced by China’s emerging status as a successful socioeconomic model. . . . It is China that is set to be the bigger long-term challenge to Europe’s values and interests.”…

“China senses that a window of opportunity to pursue its goals has opened, with the Trump administration seen as withdrawing from the role as guardian of the liberal international order that the U.S. has long played,” the authors write.

In its quest to gain more international leverage and respect, China has gone far beyond European borders. Beijing is especially active in Africa where it has offered sweeping trade and infrastructure deals to a number of nations and is expanding its network of educational Confucius Institutes as part of a soft power outreach effort. Critics say that those efforts are overshadowed by more covert activities. In January, French newspaper Le Monde claimed China had bugged and systematically hacked the African Union’s headquarters in Ethiopia for years — a building built and financed by the Chinese…

While both Russia and China appear to be keen on exploiting the E.U.’s weaknesses, China has found a way to also make Europe thank it for doing so.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.

Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home