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Event Reports

China Talk 21

China’s Worldviews: From Mao to Xi

On March 17th 2023, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Diplomatic Academy Vietnam (DAV) organized China Talk 21, with the topic “China’s worldviews: from Mao to Xi”. China has a massive political and economic impact for the Southeast Asian region, and understanding China’s views is crucial for engaging with the country in the international political order. The recent developments around Taiwan and China’s role in the war between Russia and Ukraine show why this issue is as important as ever.

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After a warm welcome by Dr. Nguyen Hung Son, Vice President of the DAV and Florian Feyerabend, Resident Representative of KAS Vietnam, the stage was set to dive into the topic of the event. China’s actions are deeply influenced by its historical and cultural circumstances, which shaped the country to what it is today and explain its views on security, sovereignty and economic laws. It is undeniable that Late President Mao Zedong played a key role in shaping China’s policies and its view on the world. Still thriving to become the biggest player in international affairs, some of these tendencies have translated to the rule of current President Xi Jinping. Understanding China is of upmost importance for the DAV, KAS and our partners. Finding out if China’s recent policies are merely a reaction to current events or if their actions are deeply embedded into their self-image as a nation was one of the most important aspects of the China Talk 21.

In the following, we welcomed our main speaker of the day, Professor Arne Westad, Elihu Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University.

Professor Westad declared that he sees China’s development over the recent decades as a major success story. It remains to be seen how China will use this rise to power and how this impacts the global community. According to Professor Westad, this also means that the China-US relations are likely to be more tension in the heading time.

Dr. David Arase, Resident Professor of International Politics at Johns Hopkins University and our first commentator of the event, added that China demands respect from the international community as they feel they were wronged in the past. Another Cold War scenario could be a result from this way of thinking. Still, Dr. Arase predicted a multipolar world order with many different actors and interests is far more likely to happen.

The second commentator of the event, Dr. Vu Minh Hoang, who is currently teaching at Fulbright University Vietnam and will soon go abroad to Columbia University in New York, shared that he feels new research approaches are necessary when dealing with China’s worldviews. For example, analyzing Chinese social media could lead to some meaningful insights, and the data is already available.

A high number of Diplomatic Missions in Hanoi were present at the event, including the embassies of ASEAN countries, Germany and Australia.

After the discussion, a Q & A session followed in which the participants had the chance for some remarks and questions. Many took the chance for elaborate statements on their view on China, and the speakers gave some more insights afterwards.

Overall, we are more than happy about another successful event and are looking forward to more insightful discussions. We will continue our China Talk series in partnership with the DAV at a later date this year.


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Contact Person

Vu Thi Thu Phuong

Vu Phuong

Project Manager +84 24 3 7186194 /17 +84 24 37186197


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