The Chinese Communist Party Goes Global

Small Group Project 2024-25


Jérôme Doyon & Konstantinos Tsimonis
Small Group Project 2024-25

This project focuses on an under-researched aspect of China’s rise: the globalisation of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) organizations and networks in Europe. Rather than the exportation of a ‘Chinese model of governance’ or of a ‘new normative order’, the tangible and observable aspect of the political influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) abroad involves the more subtle expansion of specific institutions and networks. This expansion relies on the party’s ‘magic weapons’, to paraphrase Mao Zedong: ‘party-building’, namely the creation of party cells abroad, and its ‘united front’ tactics, aiming at co-opting potential opponents to make them valuable intermediaries. Existing research on China’s rise has struggled with conceptualizing ‘influence’ and has widely neglected the role of the CCP organization itself. As a result, there is a tendency to group under the same category of ‘influence activities’ a diverse set of developments ranging from public diplomacy to Chinese business ventures, educational or social collaborations, and tactics aiming at interfering with democratic processes. 

Our innovative approach explores the specificity of China’s political influence abroad by focusing on a unique aspect, which is linked to the nature of the Chinese regime as a party-state. Moreover, while previous studies have investigated sporadically some aspects of the CCP’s globalization in Asia, Oceania, Africa, or North America, Chinese party-building and united front tactics in Europe remain understudied. To fill this gap, we bring together a team of researchers to explore the CCP’s strategies in two European countries: France and Greece. With the help of the ISRF we seek to fund this comparative project, including two workshops and exploratory fieldwork to structure a research team and map the CCP’s organizational imprint in Europe.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at [email protected].