How Chinese Identity Politics Shapes Its Depictions of Europe

Michael Barr


Sino-EU relations are officially described as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ and are bound to play a key role in shaping the character of the newly-emerging multi-polar system. At present, the EU is China’s biggest trading partner, while China is the EU’s largest source of imports and second largest two-way trading partner. However, while recognising such closeness, this paper will adopt a slightly more critical stance towards Sino-EU relations. I analyse how internal political debates within China influences how leading Chinese actors construct various images of Europe. Central to this analysis will be Chinese attempts to create counter narratives of both colonial history and of the structure of the state system as a way of challenging dominant European conceptions of order – that is to say, the paper will describe China’s efforts to launch an ideational challenge to the Westphalian system.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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