CHERN Joint WG Conference

in Paris, Inalco 2-3 September 2022

China in Europe in Times of Global Disruption

Preliminary Programme

Friday 2 September – Inalco (Maison de la recherche – 2 rue de Lille, 75007 Paris)

08:30-09:00     Registration and coffee

09:00-09:15     Welcome by CHERN (Nana de Graaff) and Inalco (Sebastien Colin)

09.15-09.30     Opening of the conference by President of Inalco (Jean-François Huchet)

09.30-11.00     Roundtable I “Implications of the Ukraine War on Europe-China Relations: Perceptions and Prospects“ 

Moderators: Agota Revesz (TU Berlin), Pal Nyiri (VU Amsterdam) & Agnes Szunomar (Corvinus University, Budapest)

Speakers (final list TBC): Ivana Karaskova (MAPInfluence, AMO), Marina Rudyak (Universität Heidelberg), Vincent Ni (The Guardian)

11.00-11.30     Networking coffee/tea break

11.30-13.00     Roundtable II “French Research on Global China: Diaspora, Social Norms and Investments in the Urban Environments and Telecommunications” 

Moderator: Sebastien Colin (Inalco/IFRAE)

Speakers: Wang Simeng (CNRS/Cermes3), Muriel Perisse (Université d’Artois/Lille Economie Management), Adele Esposito (CNRS/IRASEC), Nowmay Opalinski (Université de Paris 8/IFG)

13.00-14.00     Lunch buffet

14.00-15:00     Roundtable III “EU-China Cooperation for the Green Transition” 

Moderator: Agnieszka Mccaleb (Warszaw School of Economics)

Speakers (final list TBC): John Seaman (IFRI), Roberta Rabellotti (Università di Pavia)

15:00-15:15     Networking coffee/tea break

15.15-16:00     Roundtable IV “How Can Europe Achieve Strategic Autonomy in Digital Tech from China?” 

Moderator: Tim Rühlig (German Council on Foreign Relations)

Speakers (final list TBC): Agata Kratz (Rhodium Group), Sanne van der Lugt (Leiden Asia Center), John Lee (MERICS)

16:00-16.30     Networking coffee/tea break

16.30-17.45     Keynote “The Rise and Fall and Rise of Security Considerations in Framing European Perspectives of China”

Speaker: Shaun Breslin (University of Warwick)

Moderator: Jeffrey Henderson (Action Vice Chair)

18.00             Cocktails

Saturday 3 September – Inalco (Pôle des Langues et Civilisations, 25 rue des Grands Moulins, 75013 Paris)

09:30-11:00     Parallel Workshop Sessions of the Working groups I (click on the titles for more details)

Convenor: Agnes Szunomar

How do European publics respond to the competing narratives of China’s pandemic diplomacy? The workshop will give insights to an ongoing research that investigates the diverse and sometimes contradictory responses by European publics to narratives about China and the implications of these ‘affective investments’ for the future of the Liberal International Order (LIO). The project presents an important case for the study of affects, their evocation in the media, and their resonance with audiences. Media representations are only effective to the extent that they resonate with their audiences, yet research on media and global politics frequently neglects policy and public audiences as a site of analysis and the background knowledge they bring. This project addresses this gap by drawing upon theories of ‘affective investment’ that can help us address the neglected question of how audiences, including policy audiences respond to narratives of assistance aid during a crisis like the ongoing pandemic.

Convenor: Tim Rühlig

China’s digital technology capabilities are increasing. Since President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power, the Chinese Communist Party has tightened its control over the People’s Republic not least by means of digital technologies. China has further developed into an innovation powerhouse. Chinese digital technology is no longer primarily mimicking Western invention but has become cutting edge. Only a few years ago, most observers did not anticipate that the West would discuss how to protect its critical digital infrastructure from competitive Chinese solutions.
How can China scholars best analyze this rapidly developing dimension of Chinese power? Are traditional methods of social scientific research sufficient? What can we do to project developments better than in the past?
Research of political developments have become increasingly difficult during the pandemic due to the lack of access to the country. In the digital technology domain, another challenge is the pace of the development. This workshop brings together researchers from across Europe analyzing China’s digital technology policy domestically and its consequences in Europe and for the rest of the world to share experiences and broaden the perspectives for innovative and interdisciplinary research on China’s digital power.

Convenor: Nick Jepson

Property prices across much of Europe have risen precipitously in recent years, driven in large part by the growing attractiveness of real estate as a relatively high-yielding class of investments. In many cities these shifts are transforming the urban landscape and substantially raising the cost of living. While we know that volumes of capital flowing from China to overseas real estate markets are significant, the contours and relative significance of Chinese finance in European property sectors are still poorly understood. The CHERN Real Estate Project is a joint WG3/WG5 initiative aiming to address these gaps by mapping flows of Chinese finance into European cities. The first phase comprises initial scoping studies, focusing on Barcelona, Lisbon, Athens, Budapest, London and Amsterdam. This session will consist of a work in progress report from teams conducting initial fieldwork over the summer. We will then open up the session for a discussion of broader issues. Questions of focus might include: (i) what are the key drivers and trends of Chinese investment in European real estate? (ii) How do the various cities/regions compare? (iii) How are such investments linked to processes such as financialisation, migration, city formation and gentrification?

Convenor: Agota Revesz

Higher education and research institutions across Europe have developed a number of guidelines for research cooperations with China in the recent years – or are currently in the process of developing some. The environment, however, is changing every day, resulting in a need to adjust those strategies. How can institutions cope with this challenge? What interests and goals are prioritized? Is the recognition of a volatile international landscape present in the guidelines? This workshop aims to pool together experiences and practices across Europe with regard to guidelines on research cooperation and knowledge security in relation to China. The focus is on adaptation strategies at the institutional level in higher education and research.

Convenor Pal Nyiri

Speakers: Mikkel Bunkenborg, co-author of Collaborative Damage, Caroline Knowles, author of Serious Money, and Fran Martin, author of Dreams of Flight
The pandemic and the ensuing limitations on travel, as well as tightening surveillance and limitations imposed on academics in China, have had consequences not just for research inside China but also for research on migration. The trend towards more online research has accelerated dramatically, making methodological and ethical dilemmas about it more urgent. At the same time, research outside China is once again becoming a proxy for research on Chinese society itself. This roundtable will discuss three recent books on that are not only highly topical in their focus but have also broken new ground for how we think about research on Chinese migration, its methods, and its relationship to China.

11:00-12:30  Market place of Ideas: Networking and Exchange of Research Ideas and Projects (instructions for participation are provided in the invitation letter)

12:30 -13:30 Lunch buffet

13.30-15.00  Parallel Workshop Sessions of the Working groups II (click on the titles for more details)

Convenor: Agnes Szunomar

Using the lens of Chinese investment in European infrastructure the workshop will examine what China’s rise means for how we understand global development and, specifically, Europe’s place in it. Presentations will take a disaggregated approach to unpack project-by-project effects. Through comparative case studies in the UK, Germany, Greece and Hungary, presentations will produce fine-grained analysis to understand the rationales for Chinese infrastructure investment in Europe, the geopolitical dynamics surrounding these financing streams, the structuring of projects, and how they interface with national and local development policy.

Convenor: Nick Jepson

The global political economy has entered a period of flux. Ripples from the Russian invasion of Ukraine have been felt in capital, commodity and currency markets, with some observers even questioning the longevity of global dollar hegemony. Simultaneously, logistical disruptions, inflation and rising interest rates are complicating pandemic recovery across much of Europe, while China has resorted to strict lockdowns to control Covid spread among economic uncertainties. All of this is occurring in an environment of still rising US-China tensions. This session will explore the implications of this current conjuncture for the state of financial relations between China and Europe. Topics may include (but are not limited to):
• Recent developments in China’s financial opening and implications for Europe (RMB internationalisation, Chinese onshore and offshore market opening)
• Shifting patterns of investment and capital flows between China and Europe (regulatory crackdowns in China, capital flight, RMB depreciation)
• Financial sanctions on Russia and implications for China and Europe (China-Russia financial relations, dangers of secondary sanctions, financial shifts in response etc.)
• European/Chinese financial infrastructures, standards and governance
• Chinese state capital in Europe
• European and Chinese finance in the rest of the world (e.g. Global Gateway and Belt and Road)
• Theorising finance in China and Europe
The session will consist of a number of presentations of research related to the above, plus a wider discussion of these issues.

Convenor: Agota Revesz

Doing research on China has become very difficult in the recent years: China researchers have to develop various strategies for continuing their work. They have to adapt to the new institutional guidelines (see Workshop I) and also to the fact that they are isolated from China and cannot do field research. It is hard to see when things might change, and when they do, in what direction. How do researchers cope with this challenge? This workshop complements the first one, focusing also on adaptation strategies in higher education and research – at an individual level.

Convenor: Pal Nyiri

The coronavirus pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, and lockdowns in China have had multiple effects on international migration and Chinese outside China. First, mobility has been severely limited, forcing many migrants to reconsider their life strategies and transnational practices. Second, migrant populations that have been largely unnoticed before, such as Chinese students in the Ukraine, have suddenly attracted media and research attention. Third, conflicting narratives between Chinese and Western media about the pandemic, the means to contain it, and the war have caused Chinese outside China to reevaluate the ways they relate to China and their countries of residence.

Roundtable participants: Krzysztof KARDASZEWICZ (University of Warsaw), Maria REPNIKOVA (University of South Georgia, tbc), Natalia RYZHKOVA/Yulia KORESHKOVA (Palacký University, tbc) WANG Simeng (CNRS), ZHANG Juan (University of Bristol), ZHAO Bei (Kharkov Pedagogical University, tbc)

15.00-15.30  Networking coffee/tea break

15:30-16.30  Wrap Up Session – Research and Policy Take Aways and the CHERN Agenda

16.30-17.30  Strategy and Planning Meetings of Individual WGs (hybrid)

17:30               Closing drinks

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