Asia Research Institute

Video Policy Briefs

Video Policy Briefs are an innovative and distinct form of policy engagement with external stakeholders. Strategically targeted, timely video recordings with appropriate academic experts addressing stakeholder are recorded by an experienced filmmaker and released directly to stakeholders. The video briefs are recorded vertically and are best viewed in full size on smart phones and tablets.

Video Policy Brief number five: How a lack of faith in people is undermining UK-China relations - Dr Andreas Fulda

In this video policy brief Dr Andreas Fulda argues that a lack of faith in people undermines the British government's efforts to build a relationship of mutual trust between the UK and China.

When we talk about British engagement with China, most people would agree that dialogue and cooperation is preferable over confrontation, for example when it comes to addressing conceptual gaps about democratic governance and human rights. And while of course it is true that dialogue is desirable, we hear very little about how it can be made to work.

A number of questions spring to mind. In such an intercultural dialogue, who is supposed to talk to whom? Should a dialogue be confined to selected British and Chinese elites, for example politicians, traders and investors? Or does it aspire to become a more inclusive dialogue across civilizations and thus involve citizens from all walks of life? And how shall such a dialogue be conducted?

Dr Fulda offers a critique of one of the state-sponsored venues aimed at fostering UK-China relations, the UK-China High Level People to People Dialogue. Rather than a celebration of an alleged 'Golden Era' in UK-China relations this forum should be seen as a false advertisement. Dr Fulda argues that this is not so much a people-to-people dialogue but strictly a government-to-government affair.


Video Policy Brief number four: The utility of knowledge partnerships between parliaments and academia - Ravindra Garimella

In this video policy brief Mr Ravindra Garimella, Joint Secretary in Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament of India speaks about the utility of knowledge partnerships between parliaments and academia. Mr Garimella is in charge of the Legislative Division of Lok Sabha (House of People). The post of Joint Secretary (Legislation) which he is holding is somewhat equivalent to Deputy Clark of House of Commons or House of Lords.

In Autumn 2017, Mr Garimella was on a Visiting Fellowship at School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham for two weeks. This Visiting Fellowship was part of a UK Economic and Social Research Council funded project relating to the Parliament of India and co-ordinated by Dr Carole Spary, Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations and Deputy Director of the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies.

His visit and working in close cohesion in the University has given Mr Garimella greater insight vis-a-vis academic research work which Carole and her colleagues have done. This also provides him an opportunity to relate his practical exposure and experience vis-a-vis working of Indian Parliament – with interesting views, suggestions and proposals which have emerged from Carole's research. Their respective experiences can lead to really meaningful interactions and this convergence can form a sound basis for informed inputs for better assistance to Parliamentarians and academics as well.


Video Policy Brief number three: Mainstreaming human rights in our engagement with China - Nicola Macbean

In this policy brief Nicola Macbean from The Rights Practice considers the challenges of addressing human rights problems in China.

Too often human rights are treated as an expendable luxury rather than integral to everyday life. If we are to reinvigorate respect for human rights, she suggests we should make the mainstreaming of human rights across all areas of policy and practice a priority.

There is a very wide range of European organisations that engage with a country as important as China: from trade associations to business and finance to the police, universities, law firms and the cultural industries. Human rights feature little in their relations. A decision to mainstream human rights into their cooperation with China could change that.

Three steps come to mind. A human rights impact assessment to identify possible risks and opportunities in the relationship. Second, a commitment to promote the human rights principles of non-discrimination, respect for human dignity and the right to participate as part of their engagement with China. And third, ensuring transparency and accountability.


Video Policy Brief number two: Civil Society as a Challenge to Chinese Development Assistance in Myanmar - Dr Jennifer Hsu

In this policy brief Dr Jennifer Y.J. Hsu looks at the role and challenges of Chinese development assistance in Myanmar.

The development landscape is shifting. China's emergence as a non-traditional development donor is challenging traditional donor countries, such as Australia, Canada, UK and US, part of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). After years of ambivalence, Beijing is renewing its relations with its Southeast Asian neighbours in trade and development co-operation.

At present, Chinese development assistance focuses on non-interference, mutual benefit, infrastructure-led growth and demand driven co-operation. In Southeast Asia, China has provided a full range of development assistance including soft loans, debt cancellation and interest free loans. Moreover, the Chinese state has actively assisted and invested in Southeast Asian nations' infrastructure. In the case of Myanmar, China is a long-term economic partner and ally but this partnership is being challenged by Myanmar's democratisation.


Video Policy Brief number one: China's Overseas NGO Law - Dr Andreas Fulda

In this policy brief Dr Andreas Fulda discusses China's controversial new law regulating the activities of foreign non-profit organisations (NPOs), which came into effect on 1 January 2017. Under the Overseas NGO Law, foreign NPOs will have to meet very stringent registration and reporting guidelines, raising concerns about China's lack of progress towards good governance and the rule of law.

Critics have taken issue with the fact that the law brings foreign NPOs and their operations under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS). This leads to a over-politicisation of the civil society sector in China. Chinese officials seem to consider foreign NPOs and their Chinese partners as potentially undermining the authority of the Chinese Communist Party.

The law is indicative of a global trend restricting the political space available for civil society in countries as disparate as India, Israel, Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Cambodia. It radically alters the terms of China engagement for foreign NPOs and is intended to be a game changer.

Further reading

Andreas Fulda (2017), A new law in China is threatening the work of international NGOs, The Conversation, 6 January 2017, Available online:


Disclaimer: Views and assessments articulated in the Video Policy Briefs are that of the author/s. They do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Nottingham.


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