China’s Future: Domestic and International Contradictions and Challenges

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European Institute for Asian Studies

10th Floor, Rue de la Loi 26

1040 Brussels


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China is facing difficult challenges both at the domestic and international levels. The economic reforms started 40 years ago have radically transformed Chinese society. While they generated unprecedented economic growth, reduction of poverty and technological progress, they have also generated new contradictions and challenges in China and in its international relations.

At the domestic level, China is now facing growing environmental problems with rising human and economic costs. Demographic shifts raise the possibility of China getting old before getting rich, putting pressure on its welfare system and keeping China in the middle income trap. Domestic economic contradictions in the relationship between state and market leading to overcapacity and high levels of debt are weakening China’s growth prospects. Economic, demographic and environmental problems highlight the need to shift from extensive to intensive growth relying increasingly on knowledge, technology and robotics rather than on massive capital investment and cheap labour. At the same time, inequality and regional disparities continue to widen, generating political and social tensions in the CCP’s core values. Corruption, state embezzlement, real estate bubbles and capital flight have been important threats to macroeconomic, social and political stability of China.

At the international level, China’s rising influence in the economic, political and cultural fields has reshaped international relations and global governance. But as China is turning into a global power, it faces new coalitions seeking to check its expansion through diplomatic, economic and even military means as they fear the impact of a rising China. China’s Belt and Rad may generate an acceleration of economic integration across the Eurasian continent and reshape existing international alliances but outside China it is often seen as an attempt to remake the international order in its own image.

In order look at the future development China, Belgian China Studies Network, Confucius Institute at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, EU-China Research Centre at College of Europe, European Institute for Asian Studies will jointly organize the two-day international conference on 20-21 June 2019 in Brussels.

The conference is supported by the FNRS.


Day 1, Thursday, 20th June 2019

  • 09h00 Registration
  • 09h30 Welcome and opening speech
  • 09h45-11h15 Panel 1. Domestic Economic Challenges

Chair: Prof. Dr. Xinning SONG (Renmin University-VUB)

Prof. Dr. HUANG Weiping (Renmin University)

Dr Duncan FREEMAN (College of Europe)

Prof. Dr. SHI Shiwei (UIBE Bejing-Jing Mao Daxue & Freie Universitat Berlin)

  • 11h15-11h30 Coffee Break
  • 11h30-13h00 Panel 2. Domestic Political and Social Challenges

Chair: Dr. Lin Goethals (EIAS)

Prof. Dr. LIU Chunrong (Fudan University & University of Copenhagen)

Prof. Dr. GU Xuewu (Universität Bonn CGS)

Prof. Dr. ZHANG Chongfu (Sichuan University)

Prof. Dr. QIN Shan (Jinan University)

  • 113h00-14h00 Lunch
  • 14h00-15h30. Panel 3. Energy and Environment Challenges

Chair: Pr.Dr. Jing Men (College of Europe)

Dr Coraline GORON (Oxford University) & Sarah Van EYNDE (KULeuven)

ZHANG Yunhan (Ghent University)

Rowan Alcock (Oxford University)

  • 15h30-15h45 Coffee Break
  • 15h45-18h00 Panel 4. China and Great Powers

Chair: Prof. Dr. David FOUQUET (EIAS- CERIS ULB)

Dr. Dorothée Vandamme (UCLouvain-UMons)

Prof. Dr. Tanguy Struye,(UCLouvain)

Prof. Dr. Barthélémy Courmont (Université Catholique de Lille, IRIS)

Prof. Dr. LI Wei (Renmin University)

GAO Weiyuan (CGGS KULeuven) & Prof.Dr. Jan WOUTERS (CGGS KULeuven)

Day 2: Friday 21st June 2019

  • 9h30-10h30: Panel 5. Religion, Minorities and Ethnicity in China

Chair: Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe Defraigne (UCLouvain Saint-Louis)

Hacer Z. Gonul (ULB EASt)

Prof. Dr.Vanessa FRANGVILLE (ULB EASt)

  • 10h30-10h45 Coffee break
  • 10h45-12h45 Panel 6. China, BRI and the world

Chair: Dr Duncan FREEMAN (College of Europe)

Dr. Jeanne BODEN (China Conduct)

Prof. dr. Xinning SONG (Renmin University & VUB)

Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe DEFRAIGNE (UCLouvain Saint-Louis)

Prof. Dr. Richard Griffiths (Universiteit Leiden)

  • 12h45 Lunch
  • 13h45-15h30 Panel 7. Debt, Security and Development along the BRI

Chair: Solange Guo Chatelard (Science Po Paris)

Prof. Dr. Chris Alden (London School of Economics)


Prof.Dr Barry SAUTMAN (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Dealan RIGA (Université de Liège)

  • 15h15-15h30 Coffee Break
  • 15h15--16h45 Panel 8. China, Regionalism and East Asia

Chair: Prof. Dr. Jan WOUTERS (CGGS KULeuven)

Prof. Dr. Mario TELO (Académie Royale des Sciences, ULB)

Prof. dr. WANG Junsheng (CASS) China and Northeast Asia

Prof. dr. ZHANG Zhenjiang (Jinan University) China and Free Trade Agreement of Asia Pacific

Dr. YUAN Feng (ULB)

  • 17h00-17h15 Conclusion Prof. Dr. Xinning SONG (Renmin & VUB)
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European Institute for Asian Studies

10th Floor, Rue de la Loi 26

1040 Brussels


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