As Europe is waking up to the Chinese party-state’s growing influence inside its territory, China experts in Europe need to make themselves heard, write Tabitha Speelman and Matej Šimalčík.
“So what are the European data on this? Should we worry? And how much?,” a European journalist hoping to address China’s growing political influence in Europe recently asked. He had picked up on the shift in European public debate on China’s rise. Chinese state actors’ influence in Europe is becoming an increasingly important topic in Brussels and national governments across Europe.
Elsewhere this is different. The impact of the United Front, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) department responsible for advancing Chinese interests abroad, and of China’s Confucius Institutes in local universities has attracted in-depth research and media attention in countries like Australia and New Zealand for quite some time. In Europe, however, the conversation has only just started.
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