The emergence of citizen diplomacy in European union-China relations: Principles, pillars, pioneers, paradoxes

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Abstract

This analysis considers the phenomenon of citizen diplomacy in European Union [EU]-China relations. It begins by engaging with the global discourse about “new” diplomacy and outlines how society-centric citizen diplomacy differs from state-centric public diplomacy. After revealing that European policy-makers are only reluctantly acknowledging the role of laymen in foreign policymaking vis-à-vis China, it shows that whilst citizen diplomacy may be a new concept in EU-China relations, it is actually not a new practice. The empirical part of the exegesis traces the experiential learning amongst 12 European citizen diplomats who have engaged China in the activity fields of disability; psychoanalysis; non-governmental organisation twinning; human rights; climate change mitigation; welfare of orphans, abandoned disabled children and young people; youth dialogue; public participation; animal welfare; and inclusive performing arts. The final part makes use of the newly developed hexagon of intercultural communication and collaboration competence to reveal how the European citizen diplomats have managed to navigate the sometimes-treacherous political-administrative landscape in mainland China. European citizen diplomats have made manifold and often surprising contributions to China’s multifaceted development.

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Fulda, A. (2019). The emergence of citizen diplomacy in European union-China relations: Principles, pillars, pioneers, paradoxes. Diplomacy and Statecraft, 30(1), 188–216. https://doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2019.1557419

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