Past ChinaTalks – University of Copenhagen

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Past ChinaTalks

In March 2014, and Asian Dynamics Initiative launched the lecture series ChinaTalks, which brings international scholars and experts specialized in China to the University of Copenhagen to give presentations for both students and external participants. The events are open to all, but registration is usually required.

For upcoming ChinaTalks head over to our event page

23 May 2019, 16:00-17:30: Peter Hays Gries

ChinaTalks Lecture: Will China 'forcefully reunify' Taiwan? Wishful Thinking in Beijing, Taipei, and Washington Could Spell Conflict in 2019


“We do not forsake the use of force,” Chinese president Xi Jinping warned on January 2, 2019. While he also spoke of the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan, the tone and context of Xi’s speech suggested a final warning shot. Positioning himself as the gentleman who advocated peace, Taiwan president Tsai Ying-wen is depicted as a villain opposing peace—so responsible for a subsequent conflict. Seen as a double “window of opportunity,” 2019 is shaping up to be a dangerous year in the Taiwan Strait. Wishful thinking in Beijing, Taipei, and Washington is increasing the odds of miscalculation. Xi and many Chinese nationalists desperately desire reunification, and appear to have convinced themselves that it can be accomplished by force. Trump’s isolationist “America First” rhetoric and volatile China policies have only encouraged such reckless thoughts. And many Taiwanese appear to suffer from learned helplessness, remaining passive in the face of a threat they cannot control…

Organizers: ThinkChina, Department of Political Science

25 February 2019, 16:30-18:00: Joergen Oerstroem Moeller

ChinaTalks Lecture: China as (near-) Arctic great power – drivers and perspectives


USA was the last country able to project power globally in support of allies and shaping economic globalization. It is no longer capable of doing so. The global financial crisis 2008-2009 disclosed a number of weaknesses in the US economy signalling inability to finance a global role. President Trump realigns benefits and commitments flowing from its global role by reducing commitments. The main challenger, China, is not strong enough to be a global leader. Both countries are pushed towards regional powers with the main goal of keeping access to the global economy open. This points to a future global structure built around regionalization instead of globalization.

Organizers: ThinkChina, Centre for Military Studies, UCPH and the Danish Foreign Policy Society

20 February 2019, 15:30-17:00: Astrid H. M. Nordin

ChinaTalks Lecture: China’s international relations and harmonious world - Time, space and multiplicity in world politics


As scholars and publics look for alternatives to what is understood as a violent Western world order, many claim that China can provide such an alternative through the Chinese dream of a harmonious world. This talk takes this claim seriously and examines its effects by tracing the notion across several contexts: the policy documents and speeches that launched harmony as an official term under previous president Hu Jintao; the academic literatures that asked what a harmonious world might look like; the propaganda and mega events that aimed to illustrate it; the online spoofing culture that is used to criticise and avoid ‘harmonization’; and the incorporation of harmony into current president Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese dream’.

Organizers: ThinkChina & the Department of Political Science, UCPH

24 January 2019, 15:30-17:00: Camilla T. N. Sørensen

ChinaTalks Lecture: China as (near-) Arctic great power – drivers and perspectives


In January 2018 China released its first Arctic Policy White Paper reflecting how the region is assigned growing strategic importance in Beijing. Chinese Arctic-diplomacy is increasingly confident, proactive and sophisticated in line with how China overall appears as a more assertive and ambitious great power. An increasing number of Chinese investments and infrastructure projects take place in the Arctic, propelled primarily by growing Chinese interests in Arctic resources and Arctic sea routes, which are now officially included in President Xi Jinping’s prestige project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The intensified Chinese efforts to ensure its access, interests and great power influence in the Arctic give rise to new tensions and challengers, but also new opportunities in the region. The talk sets out to contextualize and examine the drivers behind Chinas growing priority of - and presence in - the Arctic and the implications hereof as they play out in the region with a focus on China-U.S.-Russia relations and on Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark.   

Organizers: ThinkChina & Centre for Military Studies

13 December 2018, 17:00-19:00: Professor David Shambaugh

ChinaTalks Lecture: The Evolution of Chinese Leaders’ Styles: From Mao to Xi Jinping


China has had eight paramount leaders since 1949: Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping. Each leader has had his own distinctiveness, but there have also been continuities over time. In this public lecture, Professor David Shambaugh will compare and contrast each leader’s political personae and tactics, their ideologies, policymaking practices, and nature of rule. Further, how has each leader affected the Chinese Communist Party as an institution, and the People’s Republic of China as a nation? What lessons can be drawn about the Chinese political system—past, present, and future—from contrasting these leaders’ styles? Finally, where is China headed under the leadership of Xi Jinping?

Organizers: Think China, Centre for Military Studies, Department of Political Science University of Copenhagen

12 November 2018, 15:00-16:30: Professor Marc Lanteigne

ChinaTalks Lecture: Europe within China's Belt and Road: Superhighway or Diverging Lanes?


Although Europe had been viewed by China as an essential economic partner for several decades, the advent of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative has placed Europe into a much brighter spotlight within Chinese foreign policy, even though it remains uncertain what the precise roles European economies will play within the greater BRI framework as it continues to evolve. Although the European Union and its immediate neighbours have been seen as a major hub for China's expanding trade networks, obstacles have begun to appear which have begun to challenge the perceptions of both sides. These include the advent of Beijing's 'subregional' approaches to economic engagement in Europe, such as via the Central and Eastern European states as well as the Nordic-Arctic, China's still-developing European free trade diplomacy, concerns about ambitious Chinese investments in Europe, and, on a higher level, the potential backlash in the EU from the widening trade war between Beijing and Washington. These developments have suggested an emerging 'hedging' strategy on the part of the Xi Jinping government towards Europe, while the need for an EU-level approach to China's growing economic power has become more pressing. 

Organizers:, Centre for Military Studies and Political Science at University of Copenhagen

27. august 2018, 15:30-17:00: Søren Elbech

ChinaTalk and Panel Debate: AIIB – Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank


The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is the youngest multilateral development bank and began operations in 2016. AIIB was established as an initiative by the Chinese government with headquarters in Beijing and now has 87 members. AIIB’s mission is to promote social and economic development in Asia by investing in sustainable infrastructure. The motto of the Bank is Lean (effective, minimal bureaucracy and overhead), Clean (zero tolerance for corruption) and Green (environmentally friendly). Denmark is a founding member of the AIIB.

Organizers: ThinkChina, UCPH Global Development, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs