Dynamic, fast-paced, and multifaceted – these and other similar attributes are often used to describe the ascent of the People’s Republic of China. What happens in the world’s second-largest economy, how the political leadership positions itself, and how China interacts with its neighbour states, partners, and critics is the stuff of discussion worldwide. The focus of this interest is not limited to questions of trade and economics – for example, the ambitious and long-term "New Silk Road Initiative" – but also includes questions of democratic development, human rights, and environmental protection. China is Germany’s most important trading partner in Asia, and bilateral relations are cultivated and maintained at the highest political level.
What influence does China have on the world today? What geopolitical interests is it pursuing? And what middle- and long-term goals does it aim to achieve? The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) has studied China’s domestic and foreign policy development as well as its economic and social development for over 50 years. As one of the largest European centres dealing with the Middle Kingdom from a social science perspective, the GIGA cooperates with local partners and publishes an internationally refereed academic journal, the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (co-edited since 2018 with the Lau China Institute, King's College, London). In this online dossier, we bring together the GIGA’s expertise on the People’s Republic of China.