BCCDS in Brussels

BCCDS Annual Lectures/Seminars, Brussels

2022 BCCDS International Seminar

Journalistic Journey into Understanding the Orient  

Date: December 15, 2022, 6:30-8:30 pm

Guest speaker: Dirk Tieleman, VRT Journalist
Interviewer: Catherine Vuylsteke, Sinologist, author, journalist
           After a brief introduction by Prof. Lutgard Lams on Western assumptions and myths about China, and a complementary talk by Prof. Lieven Buysse (dean of Subfaculty of Arts) on the importance of understanding the cultural Other, the keynote speaker, Mr. Dirk Tieleman first shared his impressions of his journalistic missions to the Orient, starting with the Far East, in particular China. Buttressed by enlightening visual material, he discussed how he saw the Chinese population cope with changing life conditions and policies over the last forty years. 
           Following this introduction, Catherine Vuylsteke entered into a lively discussion about Tieleman's latest book "Waarom we niets van de Orient begrijpen... en waarom we dat wel zouden moeten doen" [Why we don't understand anything about the Orient and why we should]. Given the current dire situation in Iran and Tielemans's impressive expertise on the Middle East, the talk moved, over the Silk Road, to the plight of the Iranian women and, more in general, questions about the pros/cons of Western intervention in authoritarian regimes or assistance to democratic nations' call for help, in the face of rising authoritarianism.


2021 BCCDS International Seminars        

Western Media Representation about China (November 25, 2021-hybrid) 

Chinese and Russian Narratives about NATO/US' (December 16, 2021-online)

For their 2021 autumn season BCCDS and BCJS (the Brussels Center for Journalism Studies) co-organised two events, looking at media framing and strategic narratives about the national Self and the foreign Other. The first seminar (25 November) dwelt on Western media representations about China while the second session (16 December) focused on convergences between Russian and Chinese media narratives on the West, in particular NATO and the US elections.

Guest speakers for the first seminar were Prof. Qing Cao (Durham University, UK), Prof. Shasha Wang (Bangor University, UK) and dr. Damien Ng (Julius Baer, Switzerland) with three eye-opening talks about Anglophone media reporting about China. As an introduction, Prof. Lutgard Lams presented an overview of Western popular opinion about China with figures from opinion polls, followed by a brief outline of her study on China framing in the Dutch and French-language media.

At the second seminar the keynote speaker, Prof. Robert Hinck (Air University, Alabama, US) presented his study on the way the 2020 US presidential election and the Jan. 6th insurrection of the Capitol were covered by Chinese and Russian media. As he argued, understanding how nations such as China and Russia cover US democratic politics is crucial. Robert Hinck suggested strategic narratives as an alternative approach, rather than only looking at news framing, to get a more comprehensive understanding of the enduring themes of Chinese and Russian media coverage of US electoral politics. Preceding Prof. Hinck’s talk was a presentation given by Prof. Lutgard Lams, Prof. Hedwig de Smaele, and three former students of the M.A. Journalism and M.A. Multilingual Communication, Fien De Coninck, Lisbeth Smeyers and Charlotte Lippens. They shared with the audience the findings of their comparative study on Russian and Chinese media representations of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, 2016.

Both events, complementary in their design, showed the importance of understanding the media framing process and its potential impact on public opinion. They also gave an insight into how various communities frame the Self and the Other. Above all, the audience was shown how the various frames cumulatively construct larger strategic narratives that are being disseminated by official voices through their national media.

These international seminars do not only fulfill the fundamental missions of both BCJS and BCCDS for education and research, but also bring added value by engaging and valorising students' participation into the research process and letting them taste the international flavor of their chosen studies. 

And not to forget, both seminars benefited from simultaneous interpretations from English into Dutch by our exquisite team of interpreter-students from the M.A. of Interpretation, led by colleague Prof. Filip Noé-Haesendonck. Thanks for the service!

Finally, the two events marked a successful end to the challenging COVID-19 year for the BCCDS members and partners.

Western Media Representation about China (November 25, 2021-hybrid) 
      • Introduction: 'Belgian Dutch- and French-Language Media Representations about China'                Prof. Lutgard Lams, KU Leuven Campus Brussels
      • Online presentation: ‘Reporting China in the Anglophone Media: Perceptions, Parameters ad Priorities’  Prof. Qing Cao, Durham University, Durham (England, UK)
      • In-situ presentation: ‘Currency Wars with China and Japan in Western News Magazines’                        Dr. Damien Ng, Julius Baer, Zurich (Switzerland)
      • Online presentation: ‘Images of China Through the Lens of British TV Documentaries’                          Prof.  Shasha Wang, Bangor University, Bangor (Wales, UK)
      • Q&A

Chinese and Russian Narratives about NATO/US' (December 16, 2021-online)

Webinar Moderators & Guest Speaker

Prof. H. de Smaele

Prof. R. Hinck
Prof. L. Lams


2020 BCCDS Annual Lecture           

'Identifying shifts in interpreter-mediated formal interaction'

Date: March 19, 2020, 12:30-1:30 pm

Guest speakerZhang Rui, Dalian University of Technology, P.R. of China

*The event was cancelled because of corona-virus health measures


2019 BCCDS International Seminar

'China's Global Media Narrative and its Engagement with Hong Kong'

Date: December 12, 2019, 6:30 - 9 pm

Guest speakers: Eric Florence, University of Liège, Belgium                                                                                    David Bandurski, University of Hong Kong                                                                                  Ida Leung, Chinese University of Hong Kong, KU Leuven

Interviewer and panel moderator: Gie Goris, chief editor, Mo*magazine

On 12 December, the Brussels Center for Journalism Studies and the Brussels Center for Chinese Discourse Studies joined hands in welcoming a diverse audience of graduate students, PhD students, academics, journalists and diplomats for the international seminar on China’s Global Media Narrative and its Engagement with Hong Kong. The event gave a forum to three international speakers and Gie Goris, chief editor of the Flemish Mo*magazine as interviewer and moderator of the ensuing panel discussion. Lutgard Lams of BCJS introduced the double focus of the seminar –China’s global media narrative  and China/Hong Kong relationship-- and described the interrelatedness of both themes by sketching some political contours, within which the topics of the three presentations found common ground. She also made the link to the ongoing street protests in Hong Kong and shared some fieldwork visuals from Taiwan, demonstrating great solidarity of Taiwan students with the Hong Kong protesters. This way, each talk was contextualized within a larger geopolitical narrative with China as the protagonist in its search for international discourse power. In recent years, even as journalism in China has faced an unprecedented level of control, Xi Jinping has urged state media to be more active in the advancing what he calls "China's story" globally.

In the first speech, “Deciphering China's Global Media Narrative”, media expert David Bandurski from the China Media Project, University of Hong Kong,  reviewed major changes to the information and propaganda space in China and the shaping of its global narrative. He explained why these changes are relevant not only for the  immediate neighbors in the Pacific region, but also for global society. During his discussion about China’s engagement with Hong Kong, he drew the attention to cultural friction and misunderstandings between Chinese PLA forces and some local Hong Kong citizens with the aid of video footage.

In the next talk,  “Hong Kong, How Did we Get There?”, Eric Florence, Professor at the University of Liège, delved into the political and socio-economic background that led to the current waves of protest in Hong Kong, focusing on the period between the 2014 “Occupy Central with love and peace movement” and the “Umbrella Movement”. This was followed by an excellent speech, entitled “Journalism from background to Spotlight – in Midst of Hong Kong Protests” by Ida Leung, M.A. student KU Leuven and holder of a B.A. in Political Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She shed some light on the relationship between Hong Kong society and the local media professionals and zoomed in on the dilemmas facing journalists reporting on the Hong Kong protests.          

Each talk was followed by a brief question and answer session, led by Gie Goris, who also took up the role of moderator of the final panel discussion. This offered the audience valuable insights into the complexities of Chinese politics and media operations and some first-hand information on Hong Kong affairs. This event was interpreted simultaneously from English into Dutch in collaboration with the Master of Interpretation. Much gratitude to the team of students and their coordinator for this wonderful service!


2018 BCCDS Annual Lecture 
 'The Chinese Media in a New Era of Disruption'

Date: October 25, 2018, 7 - 9 pm

Guest speaker: David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, research program in partnership with the Journalism and Media Studies  Centre at the University of Hong Kong

Interviewer: Catherine Vuylsteke, journalist and author

For this event, two China experts were invited to share their views about contemporary Chinese official discourse on the role of the media. First, David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, University of Hong Kong, presented a chronological survey of continuities and changes in the Chinese official media policies since Chairman Mao came to power. Drawing on his years of experience observing Chinese political and media affairs, Bandurski positioned contemporary Chinese state/media connections within a broad historical context and offered the audience a fascinating insight into the cyclical nature of disruptions of the ‘normal’ in the Chinese political and media scene. This presentation was followed by an in-depth interview of David Bandurski by the Belgian Sinologist-author-journalist Catherine Vuylsteke, who opened up the discussion into the wider area of Chinese political guidance of public opinion. The event was closed with some keen observations and questions from the public. 


2017 BCCDS Annual Lecture

 'The Historical Development of Taiwanization of Buddhism after 1945: the Politics of Religion'

Date: May 18, 2017, 6:30-8pm    

Guest speaker:  Dr. Cheming Yang, Associate Prof. Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; Taiwan Studies Chair, Fac. Soc. Sciences, KULeuven 

In this lecture, Prof. Yang discussed the different types of Buddhism as practiced in Taiwan. He focused on the role of discourse in the politics of promoting a particular brand of Buddhism, through the development and consolidation of Buddhist monasteries (i.e. Fokuangshan, Dharma Drum, Chung-tai, and Tsu Chi), against the backdrop of the emerging quasi-Buddhist denominations such as I-Kuan Tao, Ching-Hai or Falungong.  


2015 BCCDS Annual Lecture

 'The Asian Paradox: Cultures of Trade and Politics'  

Date: June 25, 2015, 7-9 pm    

Guest speaker:  Dr. Wolfgang Pape, Research Fellow Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) 

In this lecture, dr. Pape, former Principal Administrator for Asia-Policy, at EU Commission, DG RELEX-H1, discussed the apparent paradox between the economic interdependence of the growth economies in Northeast Asia (China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan) and the tendency to preserve their national cultural identities. The ‘Asian Paradox’ appears to be particularly evident in the North East of that continent if seen through European eyes. While one of the tightest networks of intra-regional trade binds the economies of China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, their political leaders hardly ever connect with each other in substantive exchanges. The media these days serve us permanently cold images of frozen faces and of an ‘icy lady’ that seem to contrast with the warm embraces, which their business people frequently enjoy after successful deals over political borders. However, dr. Pape wondered whether this is the view only in the eyes of the European beholder, who is used to the myriad of regular institutionalized meetings at all political and bureaucratic levels of the EU? 


2014 BCCDS Annual Lectures

'A Critical Study of Chinese Political Discourse: the Case of Taiwanese Presidential Speeches'    

Date: December 04, 2014, 7-9 pm    

Guest speakers:  Prof.dr. Wei-lun Lu, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; Prof.dr. Lutgard Lams, KULeuven Campus Brussels

In the first lecture, Wei-lun Lu discussed how Cognitive Linguistics, as a linguistic sub-discipline that gives special focus on how language is used to create a construal, is applied to critically investigate Chinese Political Discourse. The first part of the talk consisted of the theoretical groundwork, where dr. Lu introduced the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. In the second part, he showed how CMT can be applied to investigate Taiwanese presidential speeches.

The second lecture dealt with the dynamics of meaning generation in the ROC/Taiwan nation-building process against the background of regionalization and globalization tendencies. Based on the insights of Language Pragmatics, Lutgard Lams traced the ideological processes of ‘Taiwanization’ and ‘Sinicization’ in Taiwanese presidential speeches.


  • 'Discourse of the China Dream: what, why and how?'      

Date: April 24,2014,  7-9 pm    

Guest speaker:  Prof.dr. Tao Xie, School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University

In this lecture, Prof. Tao Xie unraveled the enigmatic formula of the 'Chinese dream', coined by President Xi Jinping.  As he explained, "the Chinese people have dreams too, just like other peoples around the world. But the China Dream has never been as powerfully and eloquently articulated as the American dream until President Xi Jinping came into power in 2012". Prof. Xie examined the China Dream in the broad context of rhetorical campaigns by Chinese leaders since Deng Xiaoping. From Jiang Zemin's Three Represents to Hu Jintao's Harmonious Society to the most recent China Dream, each rhetorical campaign represents not only the top leader's attempts to distinguish his tenure from his predecessors but also different governance challenges faced by each top leader. The talk analyzed, in particular, the instruments of communication that have been employed by the Chinese government to promote the China dream, as well as foreign and domestic perceptions of the China Dream.


2013 BCCDS Lectures

  • 'Different Perspectives on Intellectual Property Rights in China-EU Trade Talks'
Date: December 05, 2013, 7-9 pm
Guest Speaker: Mr. Benoît Lory, EU Commission DG for Trade, Policy Officer

For this lecture, we were glad to welcome Mr. Lory, EU CommissionTrade Negotiator responsible for IPR issues with China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Mongolia, who shared his rich insight into IPR matters in the EU as well as in China. He first discussed a study on 'IPR-intensive industries' by the EU Observatory on IPR infringements, and talked about new production patterns and China's ambition to move up the value chain in certain areas like biotechnology, new materials, etc.  Then we were given a survey of current IP legislative actions in China and its growing IP awareness (record numbers in patent filings and dramatic increase of IP litigation). Mr. Lory also explained in detail the EU-China cooperation (e.g. IP Dialogue, IP Working Group, Technical cooperation programmes, Custom Action Plan, a bilateral agreement on GIs, etc.).  The lecture also served as a useful exercise for our students of simultaneous interpretation. Thanks to the speaker, audience, and interpreters!                                                                 

  • Diversity underlying surface similarity: a debate of values - Case study: changing values of Shanghai and Beijing managers?
Date: Nov 07, 2013
  • Guest speaker: Dr. Thomas Herdin (University of Salzburg)

In this lecture, Prof. Herdin offered a keen insight into the findings of his research project aimed to understand China's transformation. Interestingly, factors like the Chinese rural/urban divide and differences between life in Shanghai/Beijing seem to play more of a role in shaping managers' values than demographics such as generational differences. 


  • 'Progress of Cross-Strait Integration between China and Taiwan: Are Models of European Integration Relevant?'
Date: July 02, 2013
Guest Speaker: Dr. David Huang (Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University)
On 2 July, Dr. David Huang brought a lecture on the relevance of the European integration model for the progress of Cross-Strait integration between China and Taiwan. He gave a survey of essential features of European and Cross-Strait integration, discussing its political aspect disguised as functional and economic integration. In his opinion, the functioning and implementation of new regulations for Cross-Strait exchanges since the Kuomintang President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, so far cannot match the highly institutionalized and legalized status of the European integration. Dr. Huang explained the various interpretations of some key phrases in the debate on the China/Taiwan relations and discussed the more recent Chinese government’s discursive move to enhance a common perception and recognition of the ‘one China framework’ while allowing economic and social integration between China and Taiwan to intensify.  

2012 BCCDS Annual Lecture

                        'Perception and Functioning of IPR in China'

                                                           Date: March 12, 2012

Guest speaker: Dr. Li Yi, School of Public Affairs, USTC, Hefei


Further to the discussion at the exploratory workshop, the 1st BCCDS-Contact Forum in 2010, the existing gap between the implementation, functioning and discourses on IPR issues in China remains considerably large. European and Chinese legal scholars and IPR lawyers who follow BCCDS-WG's research interests recognize the fact there is a constant and slow convergence on IPR concepts between China and the West. However, more endeavors for bridging such a gap are also deemed necessary among concerned parties in the "glocalization" context. In this regard, BCCDS-WG devoted one of its lectures in 2012 to further exploration of the question about "Perception and Functioning of IPR in China".


The lecture was given on March 12, by Prof. dr. Li Yi from the School of Public Affairs, University of Science and Technology of China on “Perception and Functioning of IPR in China”. Prof. Li Yi explained how the Chinese IPR national policy is implemented on the provincial level with an example of the 12th five-year plan on IPR in Anhui Province.  He also gave a survey of the number of patent applications and offered some examples of local patent disputes. At his School of Public Affairs, training is provided for patent agents and Prof. Li Yi expressed the need for further international exchange. With the enthusiastic participation of the audience, among which members of the Centre for Intellectual Property Rights at the Catholic University of Louvain as well as a partner from a European Law Firm in Hong Kong, a discussion followed about practical implications of IPR policy development, especially after China’s entering of WTO, differences noted between practices of foreign and domestic patent applications in China, and difficulties involved in foreign license applications for technology transfer.



2010 - BCCDS Kick-off Contact Forum

'The Role of Discourse as the Interface between various Disciplines studying Chinese Society'

Date: November 2010

Venue: Royal Flemish Academy (KVAB)

This kick-off event, organized at the Royal Flemish Academy (KVAB) in November 2010, was an exploratory an international workshop aiming to identify the extent to which discourse can provide the common ground or interdisciplinary link between diverse research areas within Chinese Studies.  The role of discourse was examined in the field of political communication, intercultural communication, and in the domain of law (IPR) and human rights. Besides embedding the empirical exploration in a deeper theoretical perspective (of discourse studies and language pragmatics), the workshop broadened the scope by looking at comparable research from other regional studies. For example, links were drawn between political discourse in China and other regions with comparable political histories (such as Romania). Philosophical perspectives on East/West dichotomous discourses were given on cultural aspects of communication with and about Chinese communities and vice versa. Similarly, legal issues, such as intellectual property rights, were also approached from a comparative angle.


2010 BCCDS Lecture: Pilot Event on discourses in and about China/Taiwan' 

'Discourses on the Cross-Strait Rapprochement'

Date: February 1, 2010

Guest speaker: Leou Chia-feng (SOAS, Ph.D. Cand.)

Venue: KULeuven Campus Brussels, Hermes building, Room 6306

For this event, Leou Chia-feng was invited to give a talk on 'Discourses on the Cross-Strait Rapprochement' on February 1, 2010. The session was opened by Lutgard Lams who explained the purpose of the meeting, upon which the participants from various Belgian universities and EU institutions introduced themselves to facilitate tracking common interests. The guest speaker then presented his recent research on the diverging perspectives concerning the political economy of the changing Cross-Strait relations. Referring to various media reports, the speaker discussed the complexity involved in the discursive construction of the renewed rapprochement and raised questions about implications on the practical level, such as Cross-Strait exchange of agricultural produce and intellectual property right matters.


The talk was followed by a lively discussion about the discourses on the impact of China’s rising influence not only on the Asia-Pacific region but also on a global scale. Various avenues for future workshops within a joint research framework were put forward:

- the role of discourse in the Cross-Strait issue

- China’s current self-profiling discourse in the international realm (e.g. soft power strategies and public diplomacy through the expansion of its media following the Al Jazeera model, the establishment of Confucius Institutes)

- the discursive aspect of Chinese humanitarian aid, economic development, and peace-keeping programs worldwide

- the newly emerged IPR issue (for example, copycatting))

- domestic rise of Chinese nationalist discourses against foreign capitalist ‘imperialism’ (recent Google case)  


2021 BCCDS Annual Seminars          

   (in collaboration with the Brussels Center for Journalism Studies)      

'Western media representation about China'

Date: November 25, 2021, 6:30-8:30 pm

Guest speakerZhang Rui, Dalian University of Technology, P.R. of China


Prof. dr. Lutgard Lams

Invited speakers

Prof. dr. Qing Cao, Durham University, Durham;

Prof. dr. Shasha Wang, Bangor University, Bangor (Wales);

Dr. Damien Ng, Julius Baer, Zurich 

Venue: KU Leuven Campus Brussels, Hermes II-building, Room 2201. 

This seminar will be hybrid with some on-line talks and one ‘in-situ’ talk.

*Free entrance, but registration is required by sending an e-mail to lut.lams@kuleuven.be

**Facial mask is required and COVID SAFE TICKET required for external visitors



Western Media Representations about China by Prof.dr. Lutgard Lams

 Online and In-situ presentations:

  •   Reporting China in the Anglophone Media: Perceptions, Parameters ad Priorities’

  Online presentation by Prof. dr. Qing Cao, Durham University, Durham (England, UK)                    

  •  Currency Wars with China and Japan in Western News Magazines’

In-situ presentation by Dr. Damien Ng, Julius Baer, Zurich (Switzerland)

  • Images of China Through the Lens of British TV Documentaries’

Online presentation by Prof. dr. Shasha Wang, Bangor University, Bangor (Wales, UK)

Time for Q&A


BCCDS International Workshop 2020

“Discourse in and about China”

December 11, 2020

The 11 December 2020 international workshop, which was to gather the institutional partners and individual scholarly contributors in Brussels, was transformed into a virtual webinar, in which the participants engaged in an exchange of insights from their current research in the domain of “Discourse in and about China”.

Discourse ‘in’ China was covered in a presentation by Ying Xu, PhD Candidate and Prof. Lutgard Lams (KU Leuven, Belgium) on how Chinese media narratives portray the 2018 Sino-US trade conflict, and how presuppositions greatly contribute to implicit meaning making. The second contribution to this angle of ‘discourse in China’ was brought by Prof. Qing Cao (Durham University, UK), who shared his fascinating latest insights on how political terms in modern China were translated from Western concepts. 

The studies on discourse ‘about’ China were presented by Damien Ng (Julius Baer Bank, Zurich), who explored the portrayal of the 2010 trade dispute between China and its major trading partners in Western Newsmagazines’ headlines. His insights were very much echoed in the study by Prof. Shasha Wang (Bangor University, Bangor, UK), who outlined the images of China through the lens of British TV documentaries.

Although the meeting was originally planned for two hours, the lively exchange among this core group of researchers, sharing similar interests, went on for four hours and we still had the feeling so many aspects were still waiting for further discussion. This enthusiastic scholarly discussion led to the idea that the ‘to-be-continued’ panel discussion could become a full-fledged public BCCDS event in Brussels, December 2021. More news is coming.



17th International Conference of

the European Association of Taiwan Studies


BCCDS, Brussels & EASt (ULB) 

'Narrating Taiwan: Re-imagining, re-writing, and re-connecting Taiwan' 

Date: April 6-8 2020

Venue: ULB, Brussels

Follow the news on: https://www.eats-taiwan.eu/conference/eats-2020-conference

***Due to corona-virus health measures, the 2020 conference was postponed to 2021 and is being integrated into the 18th Int'l EATS conference on 15-17 April 2021 at Masryk University, Brno


Subpages (1): BCCDS Outreach