China’s External Communication and Relationship Buildingin the 21st Century

University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC)

10 - 12 September 2020

Important notice: 

We regret to say that due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the Organising Committee has decided to postpone the conference from 23rd-25th of April to 10th - 12th of Sept 2020.  We are very sorry for the inconvenience it will cause you but your safety and health remains our priority.



Conference Organising Committee at UNNC

  • Dr Gary Rawnsley, Professor of Public Diplomacy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of International Studies
  • Dr Xiaoling Zhang, Chair Prof. in Creative Industries, School of International Communications
  • Dr Tracey Fallon, School of International Studies
  • Dr Corey Schultz, Associate Professor. School of International Communications,
  • Dr Yiben Ma, Lecturer in International Communications


Conference overview and call for papers

Communication and relationship building with foreign publics is core to a nation’s building of a favourable image and trust that lead to soft power. China sees soft power as crucial to its peaceful rise and to building its vision for a new world order, creating and building a ‘community of shared future’.  Against the backdrop of global power shifts China ‘has discovered the importance of international image and soft power’ (Shambaugh 2013: 207) in its rise as a global power.

This international conference aims to enrich our understanding of China’s engagement with the world within the context of growing competition between nations on the one hand and China’s growing influence economically, politically and culturally on the other. China has devoted significant resources to communicating its values and culture amid its ‘going global’ project. Its increasing outreach with foreign publics holds major implications for the soft power landscape globally. 

This conference invites scholars of different disciplines and practitioners to submit papers on China’s engagement with the world for image and trust building in the 21st century. We welcome case studies on China’s actors, instruments and strategies that highlight not only the state endeavours but more importantly the understudied practices outside the wholly state-directed model. We also welcome papers that look at the way China’s story telling is received. Comparative studies are also welcome. The conference seeks to contribute to a better understanding of China’s engagement and relationship building with foreign publics in the 21st century, but more importantly to stimulate debate on the implications of changes in the field.

Papers (written and delivered in English) are encouraged to approach the theme from diverse perspectives and approaches, including but not limited to the following:

 Communication  Media studies Political 
 International relations  Historical  Cultural  
 Education   Economy  Creative industries 
 Sport  Infrastructure/Architecture    Heritage         
Language and translation    


Abstract submission guidelines

  • Max 250 English words for individual papers abstracts
  • Max 300 words for panel abstracts, in addition to 250 word abstracts for contributing papers 
  • Please submit your abstract/panel proposal by sending an email to
  • Please include the following information in your submitted abstract/panel proposal: name, title/position, email add., and institutional affiliation.


Panel applications

We strongly encourage self-organized panels that are expected to stimulate the active exchange of ideas. For panel proposals, please include an abstract for the panel as a whole (max 300 words) in addition to individual abstracts for papers to be included in the panel. We also welcome proposals for innovative session formats such as roundtables, debates etc.


PhD candidate scholarship application

To encourage research in this area among young scholars, the organizing committee is pleased to announce three PhD candidate scholarships. The award will cover the conference fee, 3 nights’ accommodation, and any local cultural activities organized by the conference committee.

For those who hope their papers to be assessed for PhD scholarships, you should indicate your intention when you submit your abstract in the first instance, and submit a full paper not less than 5,000 words in English (including abstract and bibliography) on any subjects addressing the conference theme before 31st of January, 2020.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

1. Shi, Anbin

Speech title: Unraveling the China Question for the Global Media Communication: The Case of  Paving the Digital Silk Road

Dr. SHI Anbin is Ministry of Education Endowment Professor of Global Media and Communication Studies, Associate Dean of Research with the School of Journalism and Communication, Adjunct Professor of Global Media and China with Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University. He has published six books and over 200 articles in Chinese and English academic journals, the latest entitled China’s Media Go Global (Routledge, 2018). He is currently chairing a three-year keystone project funded by Ministry of Education entitled ‘Strategic Communication of Chinese Culture’s Going Global Campaign in the New Era’.


2. Keane, Michael

Speech title: Reimagining Digital China

Michael Keane is Professor of Chinese Media and Communications at Curtin University, Perth. He is Program Leader of the Digital China Research Lab within the Centre for Culture and Technology. Prof Keane’s key research interests are digital transformation in China; East Asian cultural and media policy; television in China, and creative industries and cultural export strategies in China and East Asia. He has written or edited 18 books on Chinese media. His forthcoming book in 2020 is Culture, Technology and Platforms: Chinese Digital Presence in the Asia Pacific (Anthem, UK). His previous edited book with Brian Yecies and Terry Flew was Willing Collaborators: Foreign Partners in China’s Media (2018, Rowman & Littlefield, UK)

More invited speakers (both academics and practitioners) will be announced once confirmed.


Full program and collection of abstracts

Download here: Conference Programme


Possible outputs

  • A special issue with an international peer-reviewed leading academic journal
  • Anedited volume with an international key social science publisher


Conference venuetravel and accommodations information

Ningbo is one of China's oldest cities in the northeast Zhejiang province, the People's Republic of China. It is a thriving port and business city, and well located for travel to Shanghai, with high-speed rail links connecting the two cities in around two hours. Conference participants might want to find out some Ningbo travel trips and the attraction points in Ningbo, and plan for what to do in Ningbo.

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) is in Ningbo city, Zhejiang province, on the affluent east coast of China. In 2004 UNNC was granted permission by the Chinese Ministry of Education to become the first Sino-foreign university in China, in partnership with Zhejiang Wanli Education Group.  Now more than 8,000 students study BA, MA/MSc, PhD and EdD degrees in UNNC’s three faculties: Business, Science & Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences.


Registration: register here

§  Early bird registration ( before 31st July, 2020): 800 RMB

§  Full registration (1st August – 9th September, 2020) : 1,000 RMB

The registration fee covers tea breaks, lunches and the reception dinner. Please note there will be no onsite registration except exceptionally circumstances. If you do have a problem please let us know. 


Payment Methods

1) Bank transfer

by T/T transfer to following university bank account noting “CECRB + Your name”:

• Bank Name: 宁波诺丁汉大学  Bank of China Ningbo Branch

• Bank Address: 139 Yao Hang Street Ningbo  China

• Swift Code: BKCHCNBJ92A

• Bank Account Number: 376658330575

• Bank Account Name: University of Nottingham Ningbo China


2) WeChat Pay

Scan below QR code and select 'training and conference payment'. The reference code is CECRB.

conference finance wechat



Ningbo is two hours by train south of Shanghai. Full details on travel by air, road and rail can be accessed via the university visitor information page:

The university also has designated taxi companies from Shanghai to Ningbo (around 1,200 RMB single).



We recommend the following:

1. The Liberal Arts Hotel on-campus 

  • The Liberal Arts Hotel on-campus offers rooms for 328RMB per night (breakfast not included).
  • For reservations, please email Stephanie Zhao (, should you wish to stay on campus.


2. Tianwei Art Hotel (宁波天唯艺术酒店)


3.Sofitel Wanda Ningbo Hotel  (宁波万达索菲特大酒店)

The University has a deal with both Tianwei Art Hotel and Sofitel Wanda.  Please tell them that you are coming as a University Guest when you make a booking with them to enjoy the discount.


Below are details of other nearby hotels:

4. Nanyuan New Town Hotel 南苑新城大酒店

  • Address: 667 Middle Taikang Road (Taikang Zhong Lu)
  • Transportation: 2.5 kilometers from the conference venue; 5 mins by taxi; Bus: No. 161, 139, 132, 166, 118
  • Details of the hotel: click here
  • Tel: +86-574-89066999


5. New Century Grand Hotel Ningbo 宁波开元名都大酒店

  • Address: 666 Middle Shounan Road (Shounan Zhong Lu)
  • Transportation: 2.7 kilometers from the conference venue; 5 mins by taxi; Buses: No. 177, 161, 132, 166, 118
  • Details of the hotel: click here
  • Tel: +86-574-83078888


6. Nanyuan Universe Deluxe Hotel 南苑环球大酒店

  • Address: 1288 Yinxian Avenue (Yinxian Dadao)
  • Transportation: 3.7 kilometres from the conference venue; 10 mins by taxi; Buses: No. 161, 177, 115, 118, 368
  • Details of the hotel: click here
  • Tel: +86-574-82809999


Further information

For more details regarding submission of abstracts, themes of the conference, etc., please contact Ms Angela Lewis at

For other logistic matters including fee-paying, accommodation and travel, please contact Ms Stephanie Zhao at