Narratives for Europe: Reading Room - Hongjian Cui

Hongjian Cui

has been associated with China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) since 1998. He is a senior research fellow and director of the Department for European Studies, CIIS. Dr. Cui served as First Secretary and director of the Office of Political Affairs, Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai, India from 2004 to 2007. From 2003 to 2004, he was director of the Office of Political Affairs, Chinese Embassy in Jamaica. He has published over one hundred of articles. Dr. Cui received his doctorate in International Relations from Peking University, China in 1998.
Cui is the author of a book on Containing China: Myths and Reality (1996) and his works included programs on Transatlantic Relations(2000-2003), China-EU Relations in the weak of International Order Change (2009-2010), European Public Opinion on China and Chinese Public Diplomacy in Europe (2010-2011), China-EU-USA: a possible framework for Global Governance (2012- ) and articles such as China-EU Economic and Trade Relations in the Post-Crisis era, European Energy Diplomacy in Central Asia Area and China-EU Cooperation (2010), Challenges to China’s Foreign Policy and Innovative ThinkingsModel RolesRediscovery: promotion of relations between China and Central & Eastern Europe (2012), China-EU Cultural Dialogue and its Relevance to a Forthcoming Global Civilization (2013).

The Evolution of European Image in China  and Europe’s Role in the World 


Image of Europe changed in China. It is a long story of the European image evolution in China which is traced back to the Opium War. Later, Europe has played the role of the “target” to be “caught up” in Chinese modernization movement and the main economic and trade partner to China in succession. Two recent events played the decisive role in changing the Europe‟s image in China further: the sufferings of 2008 Olympic torch relay in some European countries, and the Euro zone debt crisis. The former shaped especially the Chinese general public's impression on Europe which is turning from “romantic” to rationality, while the latter is making the Chinese people to cast doubt on the future of Europe. It is noteworthy that as a result of this change, the perspectives of Chinese government and the people on Europe are splitting. How does culture play its role in the image evolution? Besides the difference of their stages of development, historical and cultural differences between China and Europe are apparently becoming an important factor. There is a long-term ideological and political culture differences and disputes between China and the EU, and this argument is going to be strengthened by happenings at this moment: China's cultural self-confidence is increasing obviously with the economic development while it is taking place in the opposite thing in Europe. China is aware of some of the “defects” of the its culture from the current crisis in Europe, such as "democracy" may lead to “incorporation” between the government and the people, as well as a variety of interest groups‟ “over-expression”. But these “shortcomings” are also China's problems in turn, such as the decision-making process lack of the full participation of the people, the people is overrepresented by the government. All of these differences could be traced to the cultural differences between China and Europe and would strengthen the difference on the behaviours and narratives between the two sides. 

Narratives for Europe Reading Room

We invite you to read the contributions from journalists, researchers, writers who are, as we, investigating and questioning European Narratives and their making in the present and the future.