The Sino-Global Discourse

"The Growing Prominence of China on the World Stage: Exploring the Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations of China and Global Stakeholders"

Berlin; September 15th - 18th, 2011
Held Parallel to the "Berlin - Asia Pacific Weeks Conference 2011"

Forum Report

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy led the Europe meets China Young Leaders Forum from the 12th to the 14th September 2011 and the Sino-Global Discourse “The Growing Prominence of China on the World Stage: Exploring the Political, Economic and Cultural Relations of China and Global stakeholders” from the 15th-18th September 2011. This was Kindly hosted by the Chinese Cultural Centre Berlin, Hong Kong Economic and Trade office, the Bundestag and the ICD House.

The Program brought together a group of 30 participants - 13 Young Leaders and 17 Conference members and over 40 leading international speakers from professional backgrounds such as Academia, International Relations Public sector, Private sector and NGOs other civil society actors.

The Conference and Young Leaders forum consisted of very full program of interactive panel discussions, group workshops, EMC research paper presentation and presentation venues including the Hong Kong Trade and Economic Office in Berlin. The participants were also given the opportunity to present their own papers, which led to a varied and diverse program of events spread across the week.


During the forum the participants participated in lectures and workshops in the ICD House, as well as visiting a number of relevant organizations and institutions in Berlin. Below is a complete list of the locations that were part of the forum.
  • The ICD House
  • The Chinese Cultural Center Berlin
  • Hong Kong Economic and Trade Center Berlin
  • The Bundestag

Forum Speakers

  • Hon. Yaw Shin Leong
    Treasurer of the Workers’ Party of Singapore
    A Member of Parliament of Singapore  
  • Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt
    Associate Professor for the Institute for Global and Cultural Studies at Aalborg University.
  • Hon. Asraf Ally Dulull
    Former Minister of Housing & Lands and Minister of Information Technologies & Communication, Mauritius.
  • Sabrina Zajak
    Researcher at the Centre for Civic Engagement at Humboldt University.
  • Robert de Vos
    Chairman of Europe China Foundation.
  • Brigitte Wolf
    Managing Director of Management Engineers China LTD
  • Dr. Christian Soffel
    Professor of the Department for Asian Studies at Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich
  • Maximillian Rech
    Project Executive of Friends of Europe.
  • Dr. Makiko Hamaguchi-Klenner
    Professor of East Asian Politics Department
  • Nirj Deva
    Member of the European Parliament
  • Dr. Armand Clesse
    Director of the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies
  • Dr. Mammo Muchie
    Professor of Department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University.
  • Dr. Ole Doring
    Professor at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Dr. Eva Sternfeld
    Professor of Sinology at Technische University Berlin.
  • Dr. Jaap de Zwaan
    Professor of the Law of the European Union, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Viorel Isticioala- Budura
    Coordinating Director Asia of European External Action service
  • Hon. Emily Lau
    Vice Chairman of Democratic Party of China
    Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
  • H. E. Amb. Mosud Mannan
    Ambassador of Bangladesh to Germany
  • Csaba Sandor Tabaijdi
    Member of the European Parliament

Lecture Reviews

Thursday 15th September 2011

 The Dynamics of Worlds Order, Disorder and Reorder: Perceptions and Reality of China’s Role in Reordering the Current World System”
Dr. Mammo Muchie
  • How United States sees China will be a very important factor on the rise of China.
  • Currently the US is highly influenced by “the project for New American Century” a set of scholars who believe in US Imperialism. They play on the phenomena that there is a changing world order although the US is still top. Furthermore they present a negative perception of China.
  • The Chinese perspective is that of a peaceful rise they argue that their aim is to grow through cooperation with the weak. “Expo credit,” is a great example of this, this refers to China lending money to Africa’s domestic market to spend on products made in China. In this way both parties win.
  • These two competing perspectives will dictate China’s role in reordering the current world system.

Friday 16th September 2011

“Global Stakeholders and the Soaring Dragon”
Hon. Yaw Shin Leong
  • There needs to be a “mutual accommodation” between China and the rest of the world. In particular China cannot deal with the financial crisis alone until it develops its own domestic market it must rely on the global market.
  • Furthermore China as a permanent member of UN Security Council could help to deal with rogue states such as North Korea.
  • However China faces several challenges of its own:
  • Strong aspirations of national pride may act as obstacle to International Relations.
  • Aging problem could hinder economic development.
  • China’s size of 1.36 Billion means uneven wealth distribution, a varied and complex array of ethnic and languages (56 minority groups) may translate into social unrest. For example over last two years there has been 180,000 mass protests in China.

Saturday 17th September 2011

“Chinese Culture: A Vector or a Barrier to Globalisation.”
Hon. Asraf Ally Dulull
  • Chinese culture is very business-oriented and professional thus it is a vector to Globalisation.
  • Mauritian and Chinese relations are strong. They going back 100 years when Chinese traders came to do business. In 1970’s when China was considered a reject it was Mauritius that made an official visit to China despite US and Europe warning them not to. This lead to a Chinese Special Economic zone being set up in response to maintaining their friendship.
  • Thus he concludes that China’s rise is peaceful and based on business lines and one which “does not forget about its friends.”
“The Exploration of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power.”
Dr. Makiko Hamuguchi-Klenner
  • There has been a reverse in position between Japan and China on the world stage.
  • If you look over the last three decades you can see this change: 1980’s Japan was at its economic peak whilst China first established its “open policy” in an attempt to improve its economic position. Then in 1990’s Japan experienced economic crisis and China had slow economic development. However in the last 10 years the world has seen China rise in power and instability in Japan making it no longer a key player.
  • As a consequence there has been a significant change in both of their soft and hard power. In terms of hard power China’s military are engaged both domestically and externally this is supported by it hard liners of the government who are closely connected to the military and the industries.
  • In comparison Japan is bound by its constitution that forbids use of military abroad.
  • China’s soft power consists of five distinct images:
  • Scientific Development method
  • Confucianism
  • Maoism
  • Strategic mutual benefit relationships.

Sunday 18th September 2011

“China’s Soft Diplomacy in an Emerging Multipolar World”
Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt
  • There are two perspectives on the transfer of power after world war two to China.
  • The Chinese perspective takes into account their thousand years of history. Arguing that China’s rise is a re-emerging power whose previous leadership position was held during the 15th-16th Century.
  • In comparison to the emergence of other superpowers they see no evidence that suggests China’s rise will not be a peacefully process. For instance “Hitler’s quest” was driven by revenge or colonial aspirations.
  • Liberal/new Realist perspective directly opposes this view and is commonly held by those in the West. They question China’s agenda, what do they want? Proponents argue that China is the Pentagons biggest security threat.
  • Thus there is a grave need for China to use its soft power to promote China by creating a positive image. The 300 Confucius institutes that have opened across the world is evidence of China trying to achieve this. However the problem is that this requires funds meaning China must keep the status quo domestically therefore the chances of social unrest increases. 
“Democratizing China or de-democratizing world Politics? How China influences global stakeholder participation”
Sabrina Zajak
  • Over last 12 years opportunities to establish new relationships through political dialogue and treaties. As a result the gap between China and the World has narrowed.
  • China has been able to influence stakeholders in two ways:
  • Trade civil society Dialogue- consisting of EU parliament and lobbying groups.
  • Asia Europe Foundation- consisting of bilateral/regional framework.
  • However this dialogue focuses on only economic relations the political and social are neglected. Therefore a EU-China Civil Society dialogue needs to develop and then contribute to international partnerships.
  • 2007 onwards meetings between the two blocs have taken place annually yet issues discussed have been restricted.
  • Thus there is an increase dialogue with China in terms of de-politicised stakeholders but in terms of political and social dialogue it is restricted due to issues of selectivity.