Pre-Shanghai Forum 2018: China-EU Relations in a Changing World Order

On May 7 and 8, the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies held its annual pre-Shanghai Forum. Under the overarching theme ‘China-EU relations and Sino-Nordic Cooperation’, this year’s pre-Shanghai Forum featured a number of events, including a forum on ‘China-EU relations in a Changing World Order’ and a policy brief session at the Nordic Council of Ministers, with talks by Prof. Song Xinning (China Director, BACES) and Prof. Chen Zhimin (Vice President, Fudan University).

The central event of the May 7 pre-Shanghai Forum was the open forum on a ‘China-EU relations in a Changing World Order’. The forum featured presentations by colleagues from the Department of Political Science of the University of Copenhagen as well as Chen Zhimin, Vice Director of Fudan University and Song Xinning, China Director, Brussels Academy for China and European Studies (BACES). 

Prof. Ian Manners: “EU-China Normative Power in Planetary Politics”
Prof. Ole Wæver: “A Post-Western Europe”
Prof. Jens Ladefoged Mortensen: “Trade War”
Prof. Song Xinning: ”Understanding EU-China Strategic Partnership”
Prof. Chen Zhimin: “Managing a Two-Level Relationship with Europe”

The presentations were followed by open panel discussions moderated by Head of Department of the Department of Political Science Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen.


China’s New Foreign Policy and the Implications for the Nordic Region

As China becomes an influential presence on the global stage, there are numerous questions and concerns regarding the dynamics of its foreign behaviors – what are the new mechanisms of foreign policy making? What are the new norms and policy priorities? While China has been reconfirming its strategic partnership with EU, its recent diplomatic and economic initiatives have been increasingly decentralized. Notably, there has been a growing preoccupation with China-Nordic sub-regional diplomacy.

This policy brief session – a part of the Fudan Centre’s 2018 pre-Shanghai Forum – featured two leading experts on China and its international relations. It offered a rare insight into China’s new foreign policy thinking and the synergies between China and the Nordic region.

The event was convened by the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies in collaboration with NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and the Nordic Council of Ministers at the Nordic Council of Minister’s headquarters in Copenhagen on 8 May 2018. It was attended by the staff of the Nordic Council of Ministers as well as Nordic foreign ministry officials.


The event was officially opened with opening remarks by Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. In his welcoming remarks, he highlighted the longstanding cooperation and good relations between China and the Nordic region, and emphasized the important contribution by academics for this development throughout the times. Furthermore, he argued that Sino-regional cooperation – such as Sino-Nordic cooperation – will complement, not eliminate, existing bilateral relations.

Prof. Song Xinning first gave a presentation entitled “Assessing the China-EU Strategic Partnership”, in which he outlined the history, current status and possible future trajectories of China-EU partnerships, and highlighted its characteristics.

Prof. Song argued that the China-EU partnership is realized in many different areas. The importance of China-EU partnership, however, is most protruding within the fields of economy, global governance, development and culture. Furthermore, he argued that, from a Chinese perspective, China-EU relations are guided by a ‘New Thinking’ introduced by the change in leadership in 2013. Under this conceptualization, China and EU are considered as two forces for global peace, two markets for world economy, and two origins of world civilization (a thinking commonly referred to as the ‘Three Two’s’).

Prof. Song concluded that China and EU’s relations should be seen as being in a new era. The two try to work more closely together, and have an overall positive interaction, which could be highly beneficial for both parties. 


Prof. Chen Zhimin then gave a talk entitled “China’s Foreign Policy in a New Era”, in which he sought to analyze and characterize China in its new role as a country assuming international leadership responsibilities.

In his talk, he defined China’s current position in the international arena as undergoing a ‘re-rise’: after having lost centrality in Asia in 1840, it has now achieved substantial economic development following economic reforms in the 1970s, and has been pushed onto the center stage in 2010 after becoming the biggest economy in Asia. A development which Chinese leadership was still unprepared for. The current state of international leadership is one which Prof. Chen characterizes as insufficient (problems, such as poverty, remain unsolved) and wrong (problems are created or worsened through international leadership). Therefore, in Prof. Chen’s mind, the question is no longer whether China should lead – it is how it should lead. In Prof. Chen’s view, China should embrace a facilitative leadership.

Prof. Chen Zhimin defines ‘facilitative leadership’ as China’s use of its substantial influence to advance the shared goals of the members of international society, to achieve joint development and progress, in a cooperative, win-win, attractive and empowering way. It is most prominent in China’s support of inclusive multilateral institutions such as UN, WTO, G20, and the Paris Agreement. It is also reflected in China’s effort to build new multilateral institutions, including the AIID, NDB, and SCO.

Prof. Chen concluded that China should take on more responsibility as an international leader. Rather than pursuing a unilateral, coercive or monopolized international leadership, it should focus on building a collective, attractive, limited and empowering facilitative leadership.

Following the two presentations, the floor was opened for questions and comments from the audience.

Following the presentations, an informal meeting took place between the presenters, Dagfinn Høybråten and Kenneth Broman of the Nordic Council of Ministers, which was joined by Chunrong Liu and Geir Helgesen.


Finally, concluding the day, Professors Chen Zhimin and Chen Yinzhang were joined by Chunrong Liu for a meeting with Troels Østergaard Sørensen, Dean of the Dept. of Political Science, and Henrik Wegner, Rector of the University of Copenhagen, for discussions on future collaborations.



A visit from Zhongshan Hospital

On 19 March 2018, the Fudan Centre hosted a delegation from Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University. The delegation was led by Professor Gu Jianying 顾建英, Vice-President of Zhongshan Hospital.

The delegation was in Denmark to learn from the Danish hospital sector and exchange experiences with local healthcare professionals. Among other things, they met visited the Kolding branch of the regional Sygehus Lillebælt located in the Southern Region of Denmark, which employs approximately 5,000 people.

At NIAS the delegation was briefed by Geir Helgesen and Chunrong Liu on different aspects of the Danish healthcare system, including universal healthcare and differences in the public and private sector. The cultural differences shaping Nordic and Chinese healthcare institutions were also discussed among the participants of the meeting.

Zhongshan Hospital delegation picture.jpg

Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance 2018

Fudan University will hold the Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance (YICGG 2018) this summer from July 15th to July 20th in Chongming, Shanghai, China.

YICGG has been an annual international student competition since 2007, sponsored by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in China and organized by the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) of Fudan University. YICGG aims to promote global reform and global governance. Thanks to its high academic standard, YICGG has been cited as 'the Academic Olympics for the Youth' among similar students’ activities. During the past 10 years, more than 1250 participants, 312 teams from 143 universities and institutions, 81 countries and regions in total have taken part in the program and submitted over 419 proposals.

By attending YICGG2018, students can communicate with experts in the field of sharing economy and learn from delegates from around the world. YICGG will provide an opportunity for the world's young talent to gather and discuss issues of common interests. Valuable policy proposals of YICGG will be submitted to UNDP.

Please note that the YICGG committee will provide airfare subsidies and local accommodation for participants.

Students (BA or MA level) can register through this link:

The deadline for registration was March 31th, 10:59 AM EST.

For more information, please read the official YICGG 2018 announcement flyer or visit the official YICGG webpage.


Understanding Asia 2018

From February 12-16, the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies along with NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Nansen Academy co-arranged the 2018 Understanding Asia course, which took place at Nansen Academy in Lillehammer, Norway. Held annually since 2013, the course features five days of lectures and activities to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the cultural, political, and economic elements shaping today’s Asia.

Call for papers

The conference theme “China and the World: Development · Governance · Security” is broadly construed to include quantitative, data-driven studies and qualitative studies from all social science disciplines.PhD students up to associate professors under the age of 45 may apply. The conference will take place May 24-25, 2018 at Fudan University.

The conference theme “China and the World: Development · Governance · Security” is broadly construed to include quantitative, data-driven studies and qualitative studies from all social science disciplines.