Bertram Lang

Research Fellow at the Professorship for Political Science with a Focus on Area Studies China/East Asia

Bertram Lang

Faculty 03 Social Sciences
Institute for Political Science

Westend Campus, PEG building
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6 
Room 3 G.156 (3rd floor)
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798-36555
Fax: +49 (0)69 798-763-36555

Mailing Address:
Campus Westend
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
PEG building, postbox 17
60629 Frankfurt am Main

Consultation hours:

Only by appointment

To the homepage of the professorship



Employment history

Since 09/2017 Research Associate and Teaching Assistant at the Chair for Political Science with a Focus on Chinese and East Asian Area Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
12/2015 – 08/2017 Research Associate in the European China Policy Unit, Mercator Institute for China Studies, Berlin
07/2015 – 11/2015 Graduate Trainee (project management), Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart
2010 - 2014 Internships in the European Parliament (Brussels/Strasburg), at the NGO Wanra Do (Banikoara, Benin), at the EU Delegation to China (Beijing) and with Transparency International (Lisbon)

Academic background

09/2014 – 06/2015 Postgraduate Programme (M.A.) in “EU International Relations and Diplomacy", College of Europe, Bruges (Belgium)
09/2011 – 08/2014 French-German Double Master's Degree (M.A.) “Applied Political Science", University of Freiburg (Germany) and Institut d'Études Politiques d'Aix-en-Provence (France)
09/2013 – 06/2014 „Licence 3“ (~ B.A.) in Chinese Studies („Langue, littérature et civilisation chinoises“), Université d'Aix-Marseille (France)
09/2012 – 02/2013 Advanced Chinese Studies, Nanjing University (China)
09/2008 – 08/2011 French-German Double Bachelor's Degree (B.A.) “Applied Political Science", University of Freiburg (Germany) and Institut d'Études Politiques d'Aix-en-Provence (France)

Scholarships & Awards

2015 College of Europe International Relations Department Laureate 2015
2008 – 2015 Merit-based scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes e.V.)
2014 – 2015 College of Europe scholarship by the German Ministry for Education and Research
2012 – 2013 China Scholarship Programme by the Alfried-Krupp-Stiftung
2008 – 2014 Scholarship of the French-German University (Université Franco-Allemande)
2007 Apollinaire-Preis der Robert Bosch Stiftung & Mathematik-Preis der DMV


Research Focus:

EU-China relations, philanthropy and social movements, governance and anti-corruption, China and international norms


Summer Term 2021 China and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda
Winter Term 2020/21 Civil Society and Philanthropy in East Asia
Krisen, Konflikte und Kooperationen in Ostasien
Summer Term 2020 China's International Development Policies
Winter Term 2019/20 Elective: "Civil Society and Philanthropy in East Asia"
Politics in East Asia
State-Society Relations in Greater China
Summer Term 2019 Good Governance vs. Win-win cooperation? Western and Chinese development policies in East Asia
Winter Term 2018/19 Political Science Approaches to the Study of Contemporary East Asia
Winter Term 2017/18 Introduction to the Politics of East Asia (M.A. MEAS)

Winter Term 2015/16

Landeskunde Greater China (Universität Tübingen, mit Franziska Plümmer)


Peer-reviewed Articles

2022 "Text Mining Xi's 'Anti-Corruption' Campaign: A Quantitative Analysis of Crisis and Post-Crisis Framing", in: Jörg Baberowski & Martin Wagner (Hg.): Crises in authoritarian regimes, Campus. (accepted)
2021 (with Heike Holbig): China's Overseas NGO Law and the Future of International Civil Society: A Scenario Analysis of Rules-in-Form versus Rules-in-Use Dynamics, Journal of Contemporary Asia. (accepted)
2021 „La participation à la chinoise: Néo-maoïsme, « société civile » et politique étrangère“, in: La « société civile » dans l'action transnationale au concret, Coord. Philippe ALDRIN et Nathalie FERRÉ, Presses Universitaires d'Aix-Marseille. (accepted).
2021 "Framing and Localizing Anti-Corruption Norms in Transnational Civil Society Organisations: Transparency International in Portugal", Journal of Civil Society. (accepted)
2019 "Anpassung, Einhegung, Aneignung: Chinesische Strategien im Umgang mit internationalen Normen und Akteuren der  Zivilgesellschaft", ASIEN 152-153, 24-48
2018 "Authoritarian Learning in China's Civil Society Regulations: Towards a Multi-Level Framework", in: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 47, 3, 147–186;
2018 China's anti-graft campaign and international anti-corruption norms: Towards a “new international anti-corruption order"? Crime, Law and Social Change, October 2018, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 331–347

Other Publications and Online Commentary

Mar 2021 “What Europe Thinks About Dealing with China". Internationale Politik Quarterly, Spring 2021 Issue: The EU-US-China Triangle.
Mar 2021 (with Marina Rudyak): „Globale öffentliche Güter erfordern Prinzipientreue und Kooperationsbereitschaft in der europäischen Chinapolitik“, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Publikationsserie Deutschland und Asien, 29/03/2021.
Mar 2021 Shielding Corporate Interests, Europe Leaves NGOs Working in China by the Wayside. ChinaFile. The China NGO Project. 30/03/2021.
Jan 2021 "On the Way to the (East) Asian Century", Internationale Politik Quarterly, IP Special, 02-2021, 25-31.
2020 “A Better China Strategy for International Civil Society", in: China File, 29/01/2020.
2019 “Strengthening the adaptive and collaborative capacity of internationally-operating civil society organisations (ICSOs) related to the rise of China", Sector Guide, ed. by International Civil Society Centre, Berlin, November 2019
2019 "China and global integrity-building: Challenges and prospects for engagement", U4 Issue 2019/7, ed. by David Jackson, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen (Norway);


“Risk Report. Political Risk Scenarios for China", edited by CONIAS Risk Intelligence und Funk Stiftung, Serie Risk Reports 2018, July 2018,


“Civil Society Work in China: Trade-Offs and Opportunities for European NGOs", in GIGA Focus Asia, 6/2018 (with Heike Holbig),
2018 “Analysis: Why Has the Chinese Foreign NGO Law Become a Non-Issue in Europe?", The China NGO Project, ChinaFile, 03/01/2018
2017 “Central Planning, Local Experiments. The Complex Implementation of China's Social Credit System", MERICS China Monitor 43, December 12, 2017 (with Mareike Ohlberg, Shazeda Ahmed)
2017 “Ideas and Ideologies Competing for China's Political Future. How online pluralism challenges official orthodoxy", MERICS Paper on China N° 5, Mercator Institute for China Studies, October 2017, Berlin (with Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Mareike Ohlberg, Simon Lang)
2017 “Engaging China in the fight against transnational bribery: 'Operation Skynet' as a new opportunity for OECD countries", OECD ResearchEdge Series, March 2017, Paris
2017 “What Macron could mean for European China policy", MERICS Blog, 15.06.2017
2017 “After Trump, French presidential candidates vow to protect workers from global trade - and China", MERICS Blog, 16/02/2017
2017 “China's Global Law Enforcement Drive: The Need for a European Response", MERICS China Monitor 36, January 2017 (with Thomas Eder, Moritz Rudolf)
2016 “Germany and the 'Belt and Road' Initiative", in: Frans-Paul v.d. Putten et al. (ed.): Europe and China's New Silk Roads. A Report by the European Think-tank Network on China, December 2016, pp.24-29 (with Jan Gaspers)
2016 “EU struggles to build up ASEAN as a counterweight to China", MERICS Blog, 28/10/2016
2016 “Questioning not the EU, but the 'Western system': European crises through the lens of Chinese media", MERICS China Monitor 33, July 2016 (with Jasmin Gong, Kristin Shi-Kupfer)
2016 “Western NGOs in China: not trusted, but still needed", MERICS Blog, 06/05/2016
2016 “China and EU Strategic Thinking on Asia: Towards a Strategic Slim Down", in: Olivia Gippner (ed.): Changing waters. Towards a new EU Asia Strategy, LSE Special Report 21, April 2016, pp. 38-48 (with Jan Gaspers)
2016 “China's new Charity Law, a 'Made in China 2025' strategy for philanthropy", MERICS Blog, 18/03/2016
2015 „Von TTIP bis TPP: Internationale Freihandelsabkommen schlagen in sozialen Medien Chinas Wellen“ [From TTIP to TPP: International free trade agreements make waves in Chinese social media], Stimmen aus China, 05/10/2015
2015 “Taiwanese Lobbying in the European Union: 'Workable Diplomacy' and its Limitations", in: EU Diplomacy Papers, 8/2015
2015 “The Prospective EU-China Bilateral Investment Treaty: Wider Regional Implications in East and Southeast Asia", in: EU-China Observer, 3/2015, pp. 11-15
2015 “East meets West: Why a coordinated EU policy for the 'One Belt One Road' initiative is much needed", in: MERICS Insights – Young European Perspectives on China, Mercator Institute for China Studies, Berlin, pp. 35-37 (mit Chen Yunnan)
2014 “La genèse d'un « militantisme académique » contre la corruption. Conditions de possibilité et stratégies de l'implantation locale de Transparency International au Portugal" [The genesis of an 'academic activism' against corruption], Master's thesis, Institut d'Études Politiques d'Aix-en-Provence, September 2014.
2012 Chinas interne und externe Entwicklungspolitik: Auf der Suche nach einem ‚chinesischen Entwicklungsparadigma' [China's domestic and foreign development policy: In search of a Chinese development paradigm], München: GRIN Verlag.


Talks at Academic Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops

Dec 2018 “China's new civil society regulations: gauging the role of authoritarian diffusion and international versus domestic learning", ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 24.08.2018
Dec 2018 “China's Foreign Policy and Civil Society Spaces Abroad", DVPW-Kongress 2018, Frankfurt, 27.09.2018
Sep 2018 “The party leads, the people follow? Understanding the internationalisation of China's non-profit sector", International Workshop “Voices of East Asia 2.0", Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 6.12.2018
Aug 2018 “Restraining, Replacing, Reorienting? The Contested Role of International Non-Profit Organisations in China" (约束,取代,还是重新定位?国际公益组织在中国的具有争议性的角色), Sino-German Conference Good Life, State and Society, Freie Universität Berlin, 8.12.2018 (with Heike Holbig)
Jun 2017 “China's anti-graft campaign and international norms: Towards a ‚new international anti-corruption order'?", Conference Talk at the International Corruption Research Forum, Paris, 15/06/2017
Feb 2017 “The ideological battle for China's future. The role of 'the West' in official and unofficial political debates", Presentation at the Merics International Academic Workshop on Chinese Ideology, Berlin, 23/02/2017 (with Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Mareike Ohlberg, Simon Lang)
Jun 2016 „Offene Konflikte als ‚neue Normalität' in den EU-China-Beziehungen?“ [Open conflicts as the 'new normal' in EU-China relations?], Lecture at the University of Tübingen, 30/06/2016
Jun 2016 “Le militantisme académique contre la corruption. Nouvelles dynamiques de l'engagement" [New dynamics in academic activism against corruption], Conference Talk at the Congrès annuel de l'Association française de Science Politique [Annual Congress of the French Association for Political Science], Aix-en-Provence, 06/2015
Aug 2015 “Lobbying regulation: beyond trading in influence and conflict of interest", Conference Talk at the Annual Conference on Corruption and Political Misconduct, University of Sussex, Brighton, 08/2015 (with Luís de Sousa and Susana Coroado)
Sep 2014 “The social psychology of corruption and its implications for law-making", Talk at the academic workshop The Economics of Corruption 2014: Seeking the Nudges for Reform, University of Passau, 09/2014

Selected non-academic Talks

Dec 2018 “The international implications of China's social credit ratings", European Parliament, S&D Digital Europe Working Group Conference on Digital Human Rights in China, Brussel, 5.12.2018
Oct 2018 “China and Global Integrity-building: Prospects for Engagement?", International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), Copenhagen, 23.10.2018
Oct 2018 “Shrinking Civic Space: How It Plays Out in Asia and How We Should Deal with It", GIGA Berlin Talk with Patrick Köllner, Berlin, 4.10.2018
Sep 2018 “欧洲公益慈善文化差异对社会合作的影响" [Different philanthropic cultures in Europe and their implications for civil society cooperation within the EU], China Global Philanthropy Institute, Beijing, 12.09.2018
Sep 2017 “计划、测定、改善社会影响 – 社会公益团体所面临的要求和挑战", Jingshi Philanthropy Lecture, China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 15/09/2017
Sep 2017 “Assessing Philanthropy's Impact? Some reflections on the necessity and limitations of evaluating charitable activities and advocacy work", Talk at the Philanthropic Leadership Platform – China-Europe, China Global Philanthropy Institute, Stiftung Mercator & European Foundation Centre, Beijing, 13/09/2017
Apr 2017 “Europe-China Civil Society Cooperation/ In Search of Ways Forward", host of a panel discussion with Isabel Hilton (CEO, ChinaDialogue) and Andreas Fulda (University of Nottingham), German National Academic Foundation/Young China Watchers, Berlin, 27/04/2017
Mar 2017 “China's 'Operation Skynet' and the need for a European response", Conference Talk at the 2017 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum, Paris, 31/03/2017
Jul 2016 “European Crises through the Lens of Chinese Media", Presentation at the EastWest Institute, Brussels, 12/07/2016, with Jo Leinen (MEP), Amb. Fleischer, Kristin Shi-Kupfer and Jasmin Gong


Aug 2017 „ASEAN wird 50. EU bleibt Vorbild“ [ASEAN's 50th anniversary: The EU remains a model], Radio interview, SWR 2 Journal
Mar 2017 „China zähmt die NGOs: Gefahr für die Einparteienherrschaft“ [China tames the NGOs], Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 07/03/2017, p.10
Mar 2017 “Overseas NGOs in China: Left in Legal Limbo", The Diplomat, 04/03/2017 (with Kristin Shi-Kupfer)
Jan 2017 “The Pitfalls of Law Enforcement Cooperation With China", The Diplomat (with Thomas Eder), 21/01/2017
Jan 2017 “专访:北京要让本土非政府组织取代国外NGO", TV interview, DW News, 02/01/2017
Sep 2016 “How to Counter China's Global Propaganda Offensive", The New York Times, 21/09/2016 (with Mareike Ohlberg)
Mai 2016 „Fremde Federn: Bertram Lang. Kulturelle Soft Power aus China?“ [Cultural Soft Power from China?], Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 07/05/2016, p.8
April 2015 „Flüchtlingspolitik: Warnsignale an Europa“, Cafébabel, 20/04/2015
April 2015 “The Uphill Battle for a humane EU migration policy", Cafébabel, 15/04/2015