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Public Diplomacy

Brief: From its modern origins in the 1960s, the notion of “public diplomacy”, which broadly involves the cultivation by governments of public opinion in other countries and intercultural communications, was meant to distinguish government-led international public relations efforts from the distasteful notion of propaganda. More recently, the idea of a “new public diplomacy” has emerged […]

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Freedom of Speech

Brief: Article 35 of China’s Constitution states that “[c]itizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.” Formally speaking, this language seems to accord with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states: “Everyone has the right […]

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Security

Brief: For China, national security and state security are synonyms (both are translated as 国家安全), meaning that the two English terms can be used interchangeably. State security refers to the consolidation of the Chinese Communist Party’s ruling position and to its protection from domestic and foreign threats. As such, threats to state security are perceived […]

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Sovereignty

Brief: The concept of state sovereignty can be defined as the exclusive right of states to govern within their own territory. In China, sovereignty should be understood as absolute and perpetual state power, where the state is governed by the Chinese Communist Party. Moreover, it is intimately linked to China’s emphasis on mutual non-interference in […]

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Multilateralism

Brief: In the UN context, “multilateralism” is commonly defined as coordinated diplomatic interaction by three or more states (or other actors) carried out within the framework of international organisations and in accordance with their rules. Often, “multilateralism” is used as a synonym for “multilateral system”, mainly referencing the system that evolved after World War II […]

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Development

Brief: In the Euro-American context, “development” is commonly understood as a multidimensional socio-economic process with political, economic, social, environmental and cultural dimensions. In this regard, the political dimension (in particular, democracy) is seen as essential to realising the others, which is why development cooperation emphasises good governance, respect for human rights and corruption prevention, often […]

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Democracy

Brief: In the PRC, democracy refers to the Marxist-Leninist system of democratic dictatorship (人民民主专政) and democratic centralism (民主集中制), in which the CCP is the ultimate representative of the peoples. This political system of “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics” is explicitly distinguished from Western liberal democracy, which is seen as incompatible with China’s unique conditions. While […]

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Good Governance

Brief: The term “good governance” (善治) was first mentioned in a high-level party document in 2014. Today, it is firmly established in the political vernacular. In Party-State discourse, the focus is on the efficient provision of public services, combating corruption and abuses of power within the CCP, and establishing law-based governance, i.e. codifying policies and […]

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Rule of Law

Brief: The principle of the rule of law means that laws provide meaningful restraints on state power. The United Nations defines the rule of law as “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and […]

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Human Rights

Brief: Human rights are rights intrinsic to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in 1948 as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations”. International human rights law lays down the obligations of governments to […]

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