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The Rapid Development of China’s Public Diplomacy: What Does it Mean for Europe?

This event finished on 13 January 2015.

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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)?

ECDPM’s Damien Helly sat on the panel of this event. You can find his presentation attached.


Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation
Avenue de la Joyeuse Entrée 14, box 2

EU foreign and development policyInternational RelationsChina