The Channel, Season 1, EP. 5 - book talk

China's Image in the World with Olivier Arifon

Olivier Arifon is a professor at Université Catholique de Lille, and he has held visiting professorships at universities around the world. He also works as a communications consultant and trainer for diverse clients in academic, diplomatic, and other spheres.

His new book, Le Récit Politique Chinois: Soft Power, Communication, Influence, was published in 2021 by L’Harmattan. The book examines China’s changing reputation in the world. It explores how China is viewed globally and also how Chinese officials work in many domains to cultivate a particular image. In the course of an email exchange about his new book, Olivier mentioned the relevance of China for the ongoing war in Ukraine. This seemed like a topic worth exploring, and one which would not feel out-of-place on a platform – like this one – primarily concerned with Asian Studies. After the initial shock of the invasion of Ukraine itself, recent days have seen more attention paid by the media to other geopolitical dimensions to the conflict. One of the big question marks, as Olivier and I sat down to record, was precisely what steps or actions China might take with respect to the conflict, and what geopolitical consequences those might entail.