1st Edition

China in European Narratives Policy, Identity, and Image

By Li Zhang Copyright 2024
    172 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores how China, and especially China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is viewed in European media and by European think tanks, thereby uncovering European elites’ views of China. Looking across Europe—the European Union, Western Europe (including the United Kingdom), Central Europe, and Eastern Europe—the book reveals a complex picture, with different views in different places, and with different aspects of China disproportionately emphasized in some places. As China’s importance in the world continues to grow, it is crucial to understand how distorted views of China are shaping international relations.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables


    Chapter 1: Introduction: EU-China relations and the Belt and Road Initiative

    Chapter 2: Images and Stereotypes of China in Europe

    Chapter 3: Strategic Narratives and the Rhetoric of Motives in Understanding China’s Policy, Identity, and Image

    Part I: China in the Narratives of the European Union

    Chapter 4: Narratives of China and the BRI in the European Transnational Media

    Chapter 5: Narrating China and the BRI in EU Think Tanks

    Part II: China in the Narratives of European Countries

    Chapter 6: Narrating China and the BRI in the British, French, and German Media

    Chapter 7: Narrating China and the BRI in Western and Northern European Think Tanks

    Chapter 8: Narrating China and the BRI in Central and Eastern European Think Tanks

    Chapter 9: Conclusions: A Comparative Approach



    Li Zhang is Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University, China.

    Professor Li Zhang is a leading Chinese scholar of “Perceptions” and her new book is timely, impressively researched and set to make an important contribution to the EU-China relationship. Her analysis draws on both media data as well as the influential role played by think tanks and, as such, is a welcome and innovative addition the Perceptions literature. - Martin Holland, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, Founding Director of National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

    In this insightful and comprehensive work, Li Zhang, a Jean Monnet professor at Tsinghua University and a leading scholar on China-EU relations, presents an in-depth exploration of the narratives shaping China's image in Europe. Straddling both continents, Zhang delves into the intricate tapestry of historical, cultural, and contemporary influences that have molded the perceptions of China within the European sphere.

    Drawing on a diverse set of theoretical frameworks, including strategic narratives and the rhetoric of motives, Li Zhang employs a multidimensional lens to dissect transnational European media and think tanks. Her research not only bridges cultural gaps but also paves the way for greater mutual understanding between China and Europe. With a holistic perspective and a commitment to fostering mutual trust, Zhang's work is a crucial contribution to the exploration of international relations in our ever-changing world.


    This book is a must-read for scholars, policymakers, and anyone interested in understanding the intricate narratives that shape the contours of one of the most consequential relationships in the modern geopolitical landscape.

    Leen d’Haenens, Professor of Communication, Institute for Media Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium

    Loaded with so many important messages about the views of and attitudes toward China in different parts of Europe, this book is a pit stop of wisdom to guide you to understand contemporary EU-China relations. - Chun Ding, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair, Fudan University, Vice President of Chinese Association for European Studies, China

    Unique and innovative in its approaches, this insightful research offers a comprehensive, multidimensional and multifaceted perspective on how China is narrated in the news media and think tanks. A must read for researchers, policy makers and the public interested in gaining a better understanding of China’s image in Europe. - Professor Xiaoling Zhang, Head of Department of Media and Communication, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China