EU-China relations


published: 27.09.2023

Report: Image control – how China struggles for discourse power

China’s leadership is strengthening and refining its efforts to manage public opinion abroad, including in Europe. Through media activities and interactions with policymakers, business representatives, civil society and academia, it aims to shape and control discourse on China at various levels.

For their research on the topic, MERICS experts Katja Drinhausen and Grzegorz Stec teamed up with Mareike Ohlberg, Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and Ivana Karásková, European China Policy Fellow at MERICS and founder and project leader of MapInfluenCE and China Observers in Central and Eastern Europe (CHOICE).

The authors identified important patterns in China’s struggle for discourse power and conclude that China’s growing assertiveness in gaining discourse power requires concerted action. This should include efforts to document the range of measures in Europe, countering this through regulation, responses to practices that violate laws, as well as raising the issue diplomatically.