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Workshop 19th National Congress of CPC

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 - 09:00 to Thursday, 30 November, 2017 - 17:30
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Green room

The 19th National congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held in October 2017. The party congress is held every five years. It is the highest body in the communist party, approving the transition of leadership and delivering the next five year plans and long-term national strategies until 2050. The new leadership has the ambition to shape China into modernised and strong socialist state. But what exactly are the impacts of the Party Congress on the further development of China?

The Confucius Institute at VUB, Brussels Academy for China and European Studies (BACES) organise this academic conference on the 19th National Congress of CPC and China's Development on 29-30 November in cooperation with Saint Louis University Brussels, College of Europe, Université Libre de Bruxelees, the European Institute for Asian Studies and the Belgium China Studies Network. The five panels will cover China's domestic politics, economics, social development, environmental management, foreign policy and external relations. 

Chinese Panelists:

  • Prof. DU Peng, Vice President, Renmin University of China
  • Prof. JING Yuejin, Deaprtment of Political Science, Tsinghua University
  • Prof. ZHANG Jing, Department of Sociology, Peking University
  • Prof. DING Chun, Centre for European Studies, Fudan University
  • Prof. PAN Zhongqi, School of International and Public Affairs, Fudan University
  • Prof. HUANG Weiping, School of Economics, Renmin University of China
  • Prof. SHI Jian, Sichuan University
  • Dr. LI Yong, China Association of NGO
  • Mr. KANG Jincheng, Chinese Academy of Engineering

European Panelists:

  • Prof. Mario Telo, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • Prof. Jean-Christophe Defraigne, Saint Louis University Brussels
  • Prof. SONG Xinning, Brussels Academy for China and European Studies & Confucius Institute at VUB
  • Prof. MEN Jing, College of Europe
  • Dr. Duncan Freeman, College of Europe
  • Prof. David Fouquet, CERIS
  • Mr. Fraser Cameron, EU-Asia Centre Brussels
  • Prof. LIU Chunrong, Fudan Centre for China Studies, Copenhagen University
  • Prof. Maelys de la Rupelle, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France 
  • Prof. Thierry Kellner, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • Dr. FENG Yuan, Universite Libre de Bruxelles


29 November (09:00 - 19:00), U-Residence, VUB, Generaal Jacquelaan 271, 1050 Brussels

30 November (13:00 - 17:00), Asian Platform, Rue de la Loi 26, 10th Floor, 1000 Brussels


The content of the 19th party congres of China shows a country that is changing rapidly. From a economic perspective, China's population is growing older, with more people retiring than entering the labour market. In some regions of China, this results in average wages that are now higher than in EU countries. Also innovation needs to be interpreted correctly. China invests 2% of its GDP in innovation, which is coming close to the 2.5% of Belgium or the 2.8% of Germany. But the quality of innovation is different. Chinese innoation often consists of adaptations of existing technology for domestic needs. A third leg in the economic analysis is the investments in domestic industry. Many investors choose not to reinvest in sectors that already have a maximised capacity and capitalisation (such as the refining industry). Instead, they choose to invest offshore. Other reasons for this decision are corruption and tax evasion.

Another interesting topic was the social development of China. Here a disappearance of the 'danwei' is noticable. This is a grassroots organisational structure for society that stems from the 1950s period. The danwei served to connect, coordinate, account for problems and represent its members. As urbanisation in China is increasing rapidly and the birthrate decreases, the original danwei structure disintegrates. Surveys show that only 15% of the population feels that they can receive support when their rights are violated. In 1987, this was still 72%. This shift from unit society to public society causes an unprecedented challenge for the Chinese government to take up the role of social governance. This elicits the developments of new propositions, such as the 'social credit system'. This is a nation-wide system that logs the 'reputation' of a citizen based on past behaviour to judge the integrity and sincerity of a person.

A third and last topic was the environment. There is general consensus at the 19th party congress that environment is a key issue for the future of China. This is symbolised by the fact that 'environment' for the first time was mentioned more often than 'economy' in the party statements. The EU is also a strong partner in the development of green technology and the improvement of living quality in China. Both EU and China recognise that laws for environment protection may be in place, but implementation of the law is still problematic. Real changes will also have to come from the bottom-up, instead of top-down implementation of policies.