China’s Global Role: Knowledge and Policy Diffusion

Neil Renwick, Jing Gu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The implications of China’s global role for global governance are widely debated. This chapter identifies the modalities by which ‘China’ seeks to diffuse its knowledge and policies globally. Analytically framed by the key research analytical themes, categories and questions of this book, this study adopts a view of China as a global “order shaper”. It refers to modalities such as ‘Presidential’, ‘State-to-State’, Military-to-Military and ‘Multilateral’ public diplomacy, but also examines the distinctive character of China’s portfolio of diffusion modalities by examining the role of the Communist Party and structures and processes of ‘People-to-People’ relations’ as additional diffusion modalities. Where relevant, the study provides longitudinal perspective as it explores these modalities. The chapter includes a short case study of China in global development governance, as a high profile domain of China’s knowledge and policy diffusion. The choice of international development reflects the significantly increased role and the changes it has initiated as an “order shaper” in the principles, practices, agencies and institutional structures of global sustainable development. The study argues that there has been a step-change in China’s knowledge and policy diffusion. This began during the Hu Jintao leadership in a more pro-active approach to China’s foreign relations and its globalising public diplomacy. But the past decade has seen China actively scaling-up and modernising its diffusion modalities to reflect changing domestic and external environments and its rapidly evolving global engagement. There is a close connection between domestic and external political domains. China’s knowledge and policy diffusion modalities service the need for China to actively engage and shape the fabric of the global system, multilateralism most particularly. This serves the fundamental motivations of sustainable development and “national rejuvenation” at the top of the agenda of the Chinese Party-State. The actual extent to which such modalities are effective in achieving China’s motivations depends on the overall global systemic condition of ‘Major Power relations’, the atmosphere of global diplomatic relations and, critically, upon the state of play in China-U.S. relations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrazil and China in Knowledge and Policy Transfer
Subtitle of host publicationAgents, Objects, Time, Structures and Power
EditorsOsmany Porto de Oliveira, Giulia C Romano
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9783031091162
ISBN (Print)9783031091155
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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