Europe and China

In 2016, the Leiden Asia Centre conducted a research project on China and the Netherlands. The focus of the project was the increasing impact of Chinese students, tourists and companies on the economy and society of the Netherlands. Chinese are the second-largest nationality among foreign students in Dutch higher education. Every year, about 250,000 Chinese tourists visit. Chinese investments are rapidly rising, including some very large takeovers, particularly in the past few years. As there was very little existing literature at the time, the project was explorative and mainly descriptive in nature with a view to provide information to Dutch stakeholders. With the information from the reports on our project we are now in a position to propose a new project with a broader scope and sharpened focus.

AIM

This follow up project will consist of two different sub-projects that will be carried out simultaneously, namely:

  1. Strategic impact of Chinese investment in Europe
  2. Impact of China on research, innovation and academic freedom in Europe

The Chinese Communist Party is again tightening its grip over China’s political system and society. In addition, there are indications that the engagement of Chinese institutions and individuals with foreign partners is increasingly tied into a strategic approach coordinated by the authorities in Beijing. Understanding the scope, inclusiveness, objectives and further development of this vision is urgently needed in Europe, if we are to develop an adequate response to China’s impact on our continent. It will not suffice to state that we should or should not be worried and conclude that we should either try to close the door on China or, alternatively, not interfere and let things take their own course. Either response is based on preconceptions and a lack of an empirically grounded understanding of the nature of China’s strategic vision of Europe. This project aims to conduct the research needed to provide this understanding.

The general questions that inform this project are:

  1. What are the objectives, scope and strategy behind the attempts of the authorities in Beijing to tie together the multiple engagements of China and Europe?
  2. To what extent is this strategy effectively implemented?
  3. To what extent are the interests of the EU and European stakeholders aligned or not aligned with the objectives of the emerging Chinese plan for engagement with Europe?
  4. What measures can the EU and European stakeholders take to maximize the benefits and minimize the liabilities of their engagement with China’s European strategy?

The sub-projects will each have their own research questions, approach, staff, stakeholder sounding board and budget, all of which will be described in more detail below. The projects will be carried out simultaneously and at the end of the project will lead to joint publications and dissemination events. Research will be conducted between January and June 2018. Reports will be written in July and August 2018 for presentation and dissemination as publications and through a public conference and several closed stakeholder events in September 2018.

DURATION

January 2018 – September 2018

RESEARCHERS

Part 1:

Prof Dr Frank Pieke
Frans-Paul van der Putten (Clingendael)
Matt Ferchen
Tianmu Hong
Jurriaan de Blécourt

Part 2:

Prof Dr Frank Pieke
Annemarie Montulet (KNAW)
Ingrid D’Hooghe
David Pho (University of Twente)
Marijn de Wolff

Stagiair: Joris van Schie

CONTACT

f.n.pieke@hum.leidenuniv.nl

 

Partners under Pressure? The future of civil society in Dutch human rights policy

Human rights have since long been a cornerstone of Dutch foreign policy. The Dutch government has over the past years aimed to cooperate with civil society actors to improve human rights conditions worldwide. It has not gone unnoticed, however, that civil society is facing growing pressure in many countries. Civil society space and critical voices are being restricted. In this research project, LeidenAsiaCentre aims at investigating what the implications are of this development for the Dutch efforts to include civil society actors in its human rights policy.

AIM

The research project consists of three individual but connected case studies: China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In each case, recent developments within the respective civil societies will first be discussed and their impact investigated. Subsequently, the policy of cooperation with civil society actors in each country by the Dutch government will be mapped, followed by an analysis of the implications of recent developments regarding civil society for this cooperation. Finally, the three individual cases will be brought together in a comparative discussion. Ultimately, the aim of this project is to facilitate a public discussion and to provide concrete policy recommendations.

METHOD

The research project consists of three individual but connected case studies: China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In each case, recent developments within the respective civil societies will first be discussed and their impact investigated. Subsequently, the policy of cooperation with civil society actors in each country by the Dutch government will be mapped, followed by an analysis of the implications of recent developments regarding civil society for this cooperation. Finally, the three individual cases will be brought together in a comparative discussion. Ultimately, the aim of this project is to facilitate a public discussion and to provide concrete policy recommendations.

A general debate on the basis of presentation of the three studies will be held on March 13th 2018.

DURATION

September 2017-March 2018

STAFF
Frank Pieke

Interns:
Jonas Lammertink
Emilie de Haes
Marit de Roij

PUBLICATION

Partners under pressure

CONTACT

Frank Pieke

frank@leidenasiacentre.nl