S07E04: Jan­ka Oer­tel on “The End of the Chi­na Illu­sion” (Part 1)

This episode explores illu­sions about Chi­na’s ambi­tions relat­ed to expand­ing mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic pow­er. How have such illu­sions been per­pet­u­at­ed by Ger­mans and Euro­peans in order to main­tain prof­it for com­pa­nies? And what does a real­is­tic assess­ment of Chi­na’s cur­rent ambi­tions of glob­al eco­nom­ic dom­i­nance, mil­i­tary might and tech­no­log­i­cal suprema­cy, mean for the recal­i­bra­tion of Euro­pean polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and secu­ri­ty options?

Guest fea­tured in this episode:

Jan­ka Oertel heads the Asia pro­gram at Europe’s lead­ing think tank, the Euro­pean Coun­cil of For­eign Rela­tions. Based in Berlin, Jan­ka Oer­tel pre­vi­ous­ly worked as senior fel­low in the Asia pro­gram at the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund where her main areas of inter­est were Trans-Atlantic Chi­na pol­i­cy, Chi­nese for­eign pol­i­cy, and secu­ri­ty in the region. Her pub­li­ca­tions have dealt with EU-Chi­na rela­tions, U.S.-China rela­tions, secu­ri­ty in the Asia Pacif­ic, Chi­nese for­eign pol­i­cy, and cli­mate coop­er­a­tion. She has tes­ti­fied on EU-Chi­na rela­tions before the U.S. Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee and also the Ger­man Par­lia­ment. With 15 years of schol­ar­ship on Chi­na, Jan­ka can be under­stood as one of the best-known experts on the top­ic in Ger­many and Europe. How­ev­er, she under­stands her­self as an observ­er of Chi­na as it is impos­si­ble to be an expert on the coun­try giv­en the size and com­plex­i­ty of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic.
Her pow­er­ful and high­ly read­able book in Ger­man titled “The End of the Chi­na Illusion“is pub­lished today. It makes a com­pelling argu­ment to cast aside the blink­ers that have shaped Ger­man and Euro­pean treat­ment of Chi­na as a part­ner in busi­ness, trade and tech­nol­o­gy, more recent­ly also, in com­bat­ing cli­mate change.


Shalini Randeria

Shalini Randeria is Rector and President of the Central European University (Vienna/Budapest). Before, she was Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute Geneva, and Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna from 2014 to 2021. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalisation, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India also addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities.