Racism as Dissent? – Harmonious Society, Internet Sovereignty, and Discussing Ethnic Minority in State-Regulated Cyberspace

by Lin Zihao


In this essay, the author wants to explore how discussions of ethnic minority are embedded in a wider public discursive field in Chinese domestic digital sphere in contrast to the global cyberspace. Before carving out the netizen mentality, the concepts of “harmonious society” (Chinese: hexie shehui) and “Internet sovereignty”, two defining official discourses developed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the ruling entity of PRC, since the new millennium, are introduced. Under the moral stances of social harmony guarded through means of state-sponsored online regulation, Chinese netizens are positioned in a state where certain boundaries of free speech are pinned down: ethnic hatred and religious discrimination become heavily censored issues. To fulfill a harmonious socialist vision, the state actors take pain to promulgate positive images of ethnic minorities in digital media. With strict online content regulation on the other hand, overt racism/ ethnic hatred is prohibited and hugely marginalized. This is in no way asserting Chinese blogosphere as a trouble-free utopia: the author illustrates further how certain netizens shun perceived punishment or social pressure, negotiate their counterattacks on state-dominant narratives and, eventually, racialize heated discussions.


Read the fifth Mapping China Working Paper of 2017 here.

CfP „Regional Integration and Disintegration“ contribution: China’s Approach to Multilateralism – The Case of the AIIB

China’s Approach to Multilateralism – The Case of the AIIB

Written by

Elisabeth Waldmann


China’s current ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and the related establishment of a new multilateral development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), lead to the assumption of a new trend within China’s approach to multilateralism. While in the past China was a rule taker in multilateral processes, it appears that through these new developments and in particular through the China-led AIIB, it has increasingly turned to a rule maker in the multilateral sphere. Considering China’s role in its regional integration policy, this change towards a regional multilateralism under Chinese dominance is crucial because it also might have significant impacts on future developments of Asian regionalism. This paper presents an analysis of the current change in China’s approach to multilateralism by examining the case of the AIIB. The preliminary results of the research show that in some cases the AIIB enables China to expand its influence and power regionally as well as globally. However, it has also been found that external channels are influencing and even restricting China’s dominance in the AIIB.


Read the fourth Mapping China Working Paper of 2017 here: Working Paper Series 2017 4


Lama Temple Beijing

China Model, Beijing Consensus, State Capitalism, East Asian Developmental State or Varieties of Capitalism? On the issue of conceptualizing China’s politico-economic system

China Model, Beijing Consensus, State Capitalism, East Asian Developmental State or Varieties of Capitalism?

On the issue of conceptualizing China’s politico-economic system

Written by

Aya Adachi



China’s rapid economic development has inspired many scholars to write about how it was achieved and which role state-industry relations played in fostering growth. The diversity of the vast literature on the topic has brought forward various conceptual ideas, including the China Model, Beijing Consensus, as well as positioning of the Chinese case within the debate of State Capitalism, East Asian Developmental State and Varieties of Capitalism. This Working Paper presents a literature review on the various conceptualizations of China’s politico-economic system and maps out the ontological scopes of the “battle of ideas”. When referring to and basing an argument on one of the concepts, balancing between the issue of conceptualizing the political economy of China as a whole and accounting for the sum of its highly diverse parts has profound ontological implications on subjective assessment in an analysis.


Read the third Mapping China Working Paper of 2017 here.

National Museum Beijing

CfP “Maturing Relations between China and Africa: What’s special in the “special relationship”?” Contribution: The Darfur Dilemma

From “non-interference” to a more constructive engagement: China’s role in the attempt to bring peace to Darfur


Madelaine Wiebalck



In the West, it was widely assumed that the major obstacle to ending the atrocities in Darfur was Beijing’s political support of Khartoum. This paper aims to give a more precise account of China’s role in the conflict in Darfur. The study also sets out to analyze the stages of, and reasons behind, China’s changing attitude vis-à-vis Khartoum. The explanation for this shift proves to be highly complex, as it includes factors such as China’s political and economic interests in Sudan, its aspiration to uphold good relations with the international community and its desire to host a successful Beijing Olympics in 2008 despite calls for boycott due to China’s close ties with Khartoum.

The main conclusion that can be drawn from this research is that China’s approach to foreign policy, which differs greatly from that of its Western counterparts, initially invoked a lot of international criticism; however, when China over time moved closer to the pre-existing conventions of foreign diplomacy, such reproaches were heard less and less.


Read the first Mapping China Working Paper of 2017 here: Working Paper Series 2017 1.



Chinas Anti-Korruptionskampagne unter Xi Jinping – Motive und Vorgehensweise

von Julia Tatrai


Seit der Machtübernahme Xi Jinpings im Jahre 2012 bemüht sich die KPCh verstärkt Korruption, die zunehmend als endemisch und zutiefst systemstörend interpretiert wird, in den eigenen Rängen aber auch in Wirtschaft und Militär einzudämmen. Auch unter Xis Vorgängern wurden Versuche unternommen Korruption zu bekämpfen. Es entstand jedoch der Eindruck, dass der politische Wille Korruption zu bekämpfen zwar vorhanden gewesen ist, jedoch schienen die Regierungskapazitäten der Zentralregierung nicht auszureichen um Korruption in den Provinzen langfristig und effektiv zu begrenzen.

Beobachter sprechen von der bisher konzentriertesten und weitreichendsten Anti-Korruptionskampagne in der chinesischen Geschichte, die die bisher größten Erfolge in der Anti-Korruptionsbekämpfung aufweisen kann. Xi scheint hierbei eine politische und personalisierte Säuberungskampagne zu verfolgen, die Schlüsselpositionen neu zu besetzen versucht und bestehende Machtzentren in der KPCh angreifen möchte. Das vorliegende Paper argumentiert hingegen, dass der bisherige Erfolg der Kampagne eher institutionellen Neuerungen zuzuschreiben ist und einen „positive change“ darstellt.




CfP “Regional Integration and Disintegration” contribution: China in Afghanistan

von Karin Chau


Das 2013 angekündigte Seidenstraßenprojekt der chinesischen Regierung „One Belt, One Road“ (OBOR) verspricht neue wirtschaftliche Wachstumsimpulse für die über 60 betroffenen Länder. Besonders für Zentralasien und Afghanistan bietet OBOR die Möglichkeit, Anschluss an Wirtschaftsmächte zu bekommen und in die Wertschöpfungsketten zwischen Europa und Asien integriert zu werden.

Von besonderem strategischen Interesse für die Volksrepublik ist Afghanistan. Geopolitisch gesehen sieht China in Afghanistan einen schwierigen Nachbarn, denn das Land ist durch den anhaltenden Krieg gegen die Taliban geschwächt und darüber hinaus zentraler Ort für einige radikale Islamistenbewegungen, die potenziell Einfluss auf die uighurischen Unabhängigkeitsbestrebungen in Xinjiang haben könnten. Das vorliegende Papier untersucht Chinas Gesamtstrategie im Zuge der Umsetzung von OBOR und die sicherheitspolitischen Aspekte der Sino-Afghanischen Beziehungen.