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Recap: China in Multilateralism Panel Event

On Friday, STEAR hosted the first event in our Guest Speaker Series on the topic of China’s role in multilateralism. In recent years, China has become increasingly prominent within various spheres of international cooperation and this conversation sought to understand China’s motivations and actions, as well as the question how organisations can constructively deal with these shifting dynamics. The growing public interest in China and Chinese affairs was made clear by the presence of over 40 attendees – but if you missed it, here’s a recap of what was discussed!

Our Vice President of External Affairs Daniel Tafelski delivered opening remarks, followed by introductions from each member of the panel regarding their field of expertise and connection with China. STEAR’s network heard from Pascal Nufer, a Swiss journalist who spent 15 years broadcasting from Asia; dr. Yuka Kobayashi, who has extensively researched China’s multilateral relations; and Richard Heydarian, a Manila-based academic and policy advisor. Following these insights, STEAR’s VPEA started the discussion by posing a series of questions to each of the panellists, building upon their experiences to develop the conversation regarding China in multilateralism.

The panel discussed the different experiences our guests had living in China, as well as their perspectives on domestic policy and the extent to which Chinese policy has changed in conjunction with its multilateral ambitions. Other issues covered included the impact COVID-19 has had upon China’s international interactions and the panellists’ perceptions of China’s rising influence on the Indo-Pacific. Speakers shared their thoughts on the changing perceptions towards China over recent decades, as well as the influence that allyship with Western powers has upon these perceptions. Conversation then turned towards current activity within multilateralism, with our guests touching upon their extensive research, sharing insights into China’s international trade and investment initiatives (like through the BRI).

Following the enthusiastic discussion with our panellists, we had a short time period for audience questions. STEAR Events Officer Sandro Wirth spoke on behalf of the audience members, who had many questions for the panellists. This included a debate on Deng Xiaoping’s term ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,’ and whether this phrase can still be applied to China in the present era. The discussion concluded with one final question on Sino-reductionism and understanding other players within Chinese politics in shaping their multilateral ambitions.

If you have any further questions for our speakers, you can reach out to them via their websites or social media here:

Pascal Nufer - Twitter: @chinacuckoo, Website:

Richard Heydarian - Twitter: @richeydarian, Website:

Yuka Kobayashi - Website:

We hope you enjoyed our event, and whether you were able to attend or not, we encourage all interested students and young professionals to keep an eye on our website and social media platforms for many exciting future events!

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