Challenging Myths and Primers for Activists

Introduction to the ‘China and the World’ series

Please note: The primer is embedded in the story below:

  • China, the world’s second largest economy, ranks first in outward foreign direct investment (FDI), and is the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and renewable energies.
  • Global capitalism would not survive in its current form without China’s dynamism and pivotal role.
  • Worldwide people are connected to China – as consumers, contractors, business partners and borrowers. With its increased economic and political power, the Chinese state is playing an increasingly assertive global role, looking to consolidate power at home and abroad. These relationships affect people within China and worldwide.

There is considerable academic and media discussion about China’s international ascent, but the phenomenon is often portrayed inaccurately, with no reference to China’s unique history, political institutions, or the accounts of its population. China is not just its state or government, but also its people. Yet extensive domestic censorship and lack of freely accessible information make it difficult to develop an updated and accurate analysis. As China’s global impact grows, it becomes increasingly important to deepen international understanding of China, to amplify voices from grassroots social movements inside the country and, more importantly, to show solidarity and learn from their experiences and resistance.

To challenge some of the common myths, and offer a more contextualised perspective, Transnational Institute, gongchao.orgMade In China Journal, Lausan, Critical China Scholars, Positions Politics and the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum co-organised a webinar series covering six major topics ranging from China’s political and economic system to its global impact. The webinars brought together activists and scholars. This briefing is based on the insights shared during the webinars. Links to source material are embedded throughout the briefing, and relevant resources are listed at the end of each section.


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  • Franceschini, I., Loubere, N. and Sorace, C. (eds.) (2019) The Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi. ANU Press & Verso.
  • Karl, R. (2020) China’s Revolutions in the Modern World: A Brief Interpretive History. New York: Verso.
  • Made in China journals:
  • Positions Politics website:
  • Spence, J. (1999) The Search for Modern China. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Wasserstrom, J.N. (2022) The Oxford History of Modern China. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Source: Transnational International