Under the Radar: Mapping the Czech and Slovak ‎local ‎governments’ ties to ‎China

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The new policy, paper prepared by CEIAS in collaboration with the Association for International Affairs, provides a comprehensive account of Czech and Slovak paradiplomatic activity towards China.

Classifying and investigating sub-national relations plays a crucial role in ‎our understanding of China-Europe relations and the actors involved ‎in them. With China becoming an increasingly salient topic of ‎discussion in Czech and Slovak politics, we aim to zoom in on the ‎increasing importance of paradiplomatic relations of municipal and ‎regional administrations with their Chinese counterparts.‎

To this end, we have conducted an extensive mapping of interactions with China on ‎the sub-national level in Czechia and Slovakia.‎

The study takes into account the 8 self-governing regions of Slovakia ‎and 13 self-governing regions of Czechia and the capital city Prague. On the municipal level, we have investigated the ties with China ‎among 79 county-level cities in Slovakia. In Czechia, the study ‎included 205 municipalities with extended powers. ‎ Given the particularities of municipal organization in some larger ‎cities (e.g. Prague in Czechia, or Bratislava and Košice in Slovakia), ‎we have also considered their districts as independent actors, given ‎that they elect their mayors and councils, and perform independent ‎self-governance functions. In Bratislava, 17 such municipal districts ‎were included. A study done in Košice included 22 districts. Similarly, ‎in Prague, 22 districts were included in the study.‎

Under the radar

Mapping the Czech and Slovak ‎local ‎governments’ ties to China

The publication is supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is not responsible for the content of this publication, or for any use that may be made of it. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) alone. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

Authors

  • Matej Šimalčík is the CEIAS Executive Director. His research looks at China’s economic and political presence and ‎influence in Central Europe, elite relations as well as the role of European legal ‎instruments in dealing with China. ‎ He has a background in law (Masaryk University) and international relations (University ‎of Groningen). ‎ He is also a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of ‎Great Britain and Ireland and a contributor to the European Think-tank Network on ‎China (ETNC) and MapInfluenCE initiatives. Between April and September 2021, Matej was as a visiting EU China Policy Fellow at Mercator ‎Institute for China Studies (MERICS). ‎ Previously, he was an in-house legal counsel at the Slovak branch of Transparency ‎International, a global anti-corruption watchdog, where he focused on promoting ‎transparency and countering corruption in the judiciary, legal tools for countering ‎corruption (freedom of information laws, whistleblowing, etc.), and strategic litigation ‎in public interest cases. He also practices law in Slovakia, where he focuses mostly on ‎competition, compliance, and administrative litigation.‎

  • Filip Šebok is a Research Fellow at CEIAS and at the Association for International Affairs (AMO) in Prague, where he works on the MapInfluenCE and CHOICE projects. Filip studied Sinology and International Relations in Czech Republic (Masaryk University, Brno) and China (Renmin University, Beijing). He also worked for Slovak think-tank STRATPOL and interned at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Slovak Embassy in Beijing.

  • Adam Kalivoda is a research assistant at CEIAS and a BA student of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Warwick.

  • Veronika Blablová is a Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs (AMO) in Prague. She works as a Data Analyst for AMO’s China-focused projects MapInfluenCE and CHOICE and Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.