The Chinese Communist Party as a Global Force
Open lecture with Frank N. Pieke, Professor of Modern China Studies at the Leiden Asia Centre, Leiden University
This paper investigates China’s presence abroad from the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), asking how the Party attempts to prime itself for the challenges posed by China’s globalization and the rising superpower competition with the U.S. The CCP is currently in the throes of redefining itself as not just China’s ruling party, but also as the dominant force of global China. The principal aim of the CCP’s global extension overlaps with and complements the CCP’s strategy of influencing and interfering in the society and politics of other countries, but has different aims. The CCP seeks to expand the reach of its system abroad and strengthen the cohesion of the Chinese nation beyond China’s borders. This includes not only strengthening and extending the existing armoury of overseas Chinese and united front work, but also mobilizing the organizational power of the CCP itself to tie party members among Chinese businesspeople, professionals, contract workers and students abroad back into “the system” in China. The paper concludes that the extraterritorial extension of the Party, nation and culture documented in this chapter is certainly not innocent and benign, but poses less of an immediate threat than the Party’s attempts at influencing other countries.
Frank N. Pieke (1957) studied Cultural Anthropology and Chinese Studies at the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in 1992. After lectureships in Leiden and Oxford, he took up the Chair in Modern China studies at Leiden University in 2010. In Oxford, Pieke set up and directed the University of Oxford’s China Centre. In Leiden, he was co-founder and first executive director of the Leiden Asia Centre. Between 2018 and 2020, he was the director of the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin. This academic year he is in Uppsala as a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study.
Pieke’s own research revolves around governance in China and the evolution of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese globalization and the impact of China on Europe. His current project is entitled “The rise of China and the consequences of superpower”, which asks how China’s emerging superpower status will change China. His most recent books are The Good Communist (2009) and Knowing China (2016), both published by Cambridge University Press. Earlier this year he and Koichi Iwabuchi published edited volume titled Global East Asia with the University of California Press in 2021.