Understanding Today’s China

Geopolitical current affairs lecture by professor Frank Pieke

China is recurrently in the news, presenting itself as a superpower that is increasingly its place in the world in an assertive manner. China is a very important player on the world economic stage; it is the EU's largest trading partner, its (high) technological ambitions are enormous and with the Belt & Road Initiative (New Silk Road), China is rapidly expanding its influence - also in strategically important places in Europe. And with 1.4 billion Chinese, it is demographically spoken an exceptionally heavyweight that the EU simply cannot ignore.

At the same time, the human rights violations committed against Uyghurs and residents of Hong Kong, and the allegations of cyber espionage by China raise the need to find an appropriate European response. Meanwhile, the China-US trade war has continued under Biden, and China’s claims concerning the South China Sea and its assertiveness toward Taiwan are being monitored closely in Washington and Brussels.

High time to ask the question: How powerful is China militarily, economically, and culturally? What are Xi Jinping plans for China? What are the opportunities and risks for the New Silk Road? And how should the Netherlands and the EU position themselves against this 'system rival': with an outstretched hand or by further protecting its strategic knowledge sectors?



Prof. dr. Frank Pieke

Prof. dr. Frank Pieke is professor of Modern China Studies at the Leiden Asia Center and this academic year a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala.

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