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China: A New Imperial Power?*

The global power balance is changing in favor of China, now the second largest economy in the world. China is opening new commercial routes across Eurasia. There are worries that Beijing will use trade routes to increase its influence and export an authoritarian brand of politics. Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative a threat to the existing world order? (language: English)

Program information
Date Thursday, March 21, 2019
Time 13:30- 16:00 hrs
Location Black Box, Esplanade building, Tilburg University
Admission free admission
Speaker Marijk van der Wende (Utrecht University), Ching Lin Pang (KU Leuven), Ties Dams (writer/strategic thinker), Zhimin Tang (former Chinese student)
Language English
Organization Study association ELSA , Academic Forum
Contact Luc Jeurissen
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Academic Forum Certificate
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Belt and Road Initiative

The construction of a new network of Silk Roads – as well as railways, pipelines, ports and ferry routes – is part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. There are worries that Beijing will use trade routes to increase its influence and export an authoritarian brand of politics. Beijing sees labeling China as a new imperial or colonial power as part of vicious western propaganda.

A global powerhouse

Some have warned of an “infrastructure power grab”; This will depend for a great part of China’s relation with the US. Both countries are momentarily engaged in a trade war.  Further escalation may also affect the political world order in the long run. Chinese parliament abolished presidential term limits, clearing Xi Jinping to become lifetime leader and giving him time to push his goal of turning China into a global powerhouse. This may also lead to a further tightening of already strict controls on media, civil society and religion, as Xi tries to impose his highly ideological vision of one party rule on every aspect of society. After the 1989 bloodshed of activists at Tian’anmen Square a highly repressive period was slowly altered in opening up more space for discussion. Now with Xi in power series of moves to curb personal freedoms and free speech seem to demonstrate China’s drift towards a new authoritarianism.


  • Marijk van der Wende, professor of Higher Education Systems Utrecht University
    The New Silk Road: Implications for academic cooperation between China and Europe

  • Ching Lin Pang, professor of Anthropology, KU Leuven Belgium
    Trade War and Chinese-American relations

  • Ties Dams:  writer and strategic thinker
    Author of ‘De nieuwe Keizer’  (The new Emperor)

  • Zhimin Tang, former Chinese student, since 1995 living and working in the Netherlands

This symposium is organized by study association ELSA  in cooperation with Academic Forum.


When: 21 March 2019 13:30

End date: 21 March 2019 16:00