Revisiting Sino-Yugoslav Relations and Their Legacy

Revisiting Sino-Yugoslav Relations and Their Legacy

28.06.2022 - 28.06.2022

10.00-13.30 (Paris time)





The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is long gone, but its social imprint remains strong, not only among the Yugoslav successor states, but also in the People’s Republic of China. While the two socialist countries had a tumultuous relationship in the first decades of the Cold War, with the Reform and Opening Up their relationship transformed into one of mutual support and learning. Yugoslav influence in China was significant, remaining to play a role even after the dissolution of SFRY until the present day, as observers increasingly study the rising Chinese influence in the Yugoslav successor states in the era of the Belt and Road.

The historical relations between China and Yugoslavia, and they way they interweave with the present, have been at the margins of the scholarly debates on the Cold War entanglements, non-Western globalization(s), and non-alignment, as well as in the contemporary area studies on both China and former Yugoslavia. It is only in recent years, to a great extent as a result of the return of China’s interest and pro-activity in the region of Central-East and Southeast Europe (CESEE), that the interest in the various facets of the Yugo-Chinese relations has picked up. Taking stock of the existing scholarship on the topic, and aiming to chart a future research agenda, this inter-disciplinary workshop is intended to bring different perspectives on the meaning and legacy of Yugoslavia-China relations, their relevance for contemporary realities, and their role in socio-economic and cultural imaginaries.

This online workshop is intended to be an inter-disciplinary forum, bringing together scholars from the social sciences and humanities who work on or have interest in China-Yugoslavia relations and the relations between China and the Yugoslav successor states to present their already published research, their work in progress, and/or ideas for future research. The goals of the workshop are:

- inception of a knowledge network on the legacy of China-Yugoslavia relations;

- contemplating a joint report based on the presentations and discussions at the workshop;

- brainstorming and formulating ideas for collaborative projects in the future.




Opening Remarks (10.00-10.10)

  • Sébastien Colin, European Institute for China Studies, Paris, France
  • Anastas Vangeli, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Dragan Pavlićević. Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

Session I: Revisiting the Sino-Yugoslav relations during the Cold War (10.10-11.50)

Chair: Ljubica Spaskovska, University of Exeter, the United Kingdom


  • Jovan Čavoški, Insitute for the Recent History, Belgrade, Serbia
Sino-Yugoslav Relations and the Global Cold War

  • Zvonimir Stopić, Capital Normal University, Beijing and Zagreb School of Economics and Management, Croatia
Key junctures in Sino-Yugoslav relations: 1948, 1958 and 1968

  • Jovana Bogojević, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy and Heidelberg University, Germany
Institutionalizing Cultural Contact: Sino-Yugoslav Cultural Exchange in the Early Cold War Era

  • Ren Canying, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Yugoslav-Chinese relations from 1968-1979: Politics and Media

  • Zhou Yuguang, Munich Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, Germany
Image of Yugoslavia in China from the late 1970s to the early 1980s

  • Xu Tao, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
Reflections on the normalization of Relations between China and Yugoslavia in the late 1970s


Break (11.50-12.10)


Session II: Afterlife and Legacy of Sino-Yugoslav Relations (12.10-13.40)

Chair: Anastas Vangeli, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


  • Ivica Bakota, Zagreb School of Economics and Management, Croatia
Missed opportunities, myths and instrumentalization of Sino-Yugoslav relations

  • Nicole Tamalcs, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Chinese investment and Croatia’s “most famous village in the world,” Kumrovec: A tale of hope for the hometown of Jozip Broz Tito

  • Igor Rogelja, University College London, The United Kingdom
Ending the socialist dream in Gorenje? Field notes about a Chinese takeover

  • Jelena Gledić, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Uses of the narratives of the Sino-Yugoslav past in discourses on the contemporary Sino-Serbian "Iron Friendship"

  • Richard Turcsányi, Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic
How the Memory of Communism Shapes Views of China in Post-Socialist Countries


Biographies of participants


Dr. Anastas Vangeli is an Assistant Professor at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has published on Global China and its ideational impact abroad. He is also a Research Fellow at the EU*Asia Institute at the ESSCA School of Management, Angers, and a Senior Non-resident Fellow at the Turin World Affairs Institute. He is an EURICS Fellow working on China and the Balkans and the legacy of Sino-Yugoslav relations.


Dr. Dragan Pavlićević is an Associate Professor at the Department of China Studies, Xi‘an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou. His research interests span both China’s domestic and international politics. He is the author of Public Participation and State Building (Routledge 2020), co-author of Social Relations and Political Development in China (Routledge 2020), and co-editor of The China Question: Contestations and Adaptations (Palgrave Macmillan 2022).


Dr. Ljubica Spaskovska is a Lecturer in European History at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. She works on the history of South East Europe, the political and socio-cultural history of internationalism, including development, nonalignment, decolonisation and histories of generations. She is the author of  The Last Yugoslav Generation (Manchester University Press, 2017) and co-author of  1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2019) together with James Mark, Tobias Rupprecht and Bogdan Iacob.


Dr. Jovan Cavoški is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Recent History of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia. More than thirty of his articles on the Cold War in the Third World have been published or are in the process of publication in leading journals and volumes in Serbia, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, Indonesia, Myanmar, Algeria, and the United States. He is the author of Yugoslavia and the Sino-Indian conflict, 1959-1962 (Belgrade: INIS, 2009), Josip Broz Tito and Jawaharlal Nehru and the Rise of Global Nonalignment (New Delhi: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 2015), and  Non-Aligned Movement Summits: A History  (Bloomsbury, 2022).


Dr. Zvonimir Stopić is an assistant professor at the Capital Normal University (CNU), Beijing, and an Assistant Director at CNU’s Center for Study of Civilizations. He is also the coordinator of the CroAsia Institute at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM) in Croatoa. He is the co-author of Silk, Dragons and Paper: Chinese Civilization, Culture and History (Alfa, Zagreb, 2021) and author of Revolutionaries, Revisionists, Dogmatists, Dogs and Madmen: China and Yugoslavia from 1948 until 1971 (Srednja Europa, Zagreb, 2022).


Jovana Bogojević is a doctoral candidate in Asian and Transcultural Studies in a joint Ph.D. program of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) and Heidelberg Universität (Germany). Her research project focuses on the Yugoslav perceptions of and political actions toward four East Asian countries (China, Japan, North Korea, and Mongolia) in the early Cold War era. Jovana was formerly a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and is a classically trained musician.


Ren Canying is a doctoral student at the University of Belgrade, Serbia working on the mutual perceptions of China and Yugoslavia in the late Cold War.


Zhou Yuguang is a doctoral student at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. A historian, his current research deals with Sino-Yugoslav relations in the 1970s and 1980s, with a focus on the perception and portrayal of Yugoslavia and its self-management socialism in China.


Xu Tao is a doctoral student at the East China Normal University, Shanghai writing on Sino-Yugoslav relations in the 1970s. He is currently conducting his fieldwork as a visiting scholar at the University of Belgrade, Serbia.


Dr. Ivica Bakota is Assistant Professor at the History Department of the Capital Normal University in Beijing and researcher at the Center for Study of Civilizations. He is also a co-founder of the CroAsia Institute at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management. He has worked at the East European Research Center at Peking University and was a non-resident fellow at China-CEE Institute (Budapest). He writes on the Chinese foreign relations and their history, Sino-European relations, political and social transformations in the (post-)socialist world.


Dr. Nicole Talmacs is a member of the Department of International Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (Suzhou, China). Her research is interested in the intersection between Chinese cultural and mediated production and the social engineering agendas of the Chinese Party-state in both national and international contexts. She is the author of China’s Cinema of Class (Routledge) and co-editor of The China Question: Contestations and Adaptations (Palgrave Macmillan).


Dr. Igor Rogelja is a Lecturer in Global Politics at the University College London, working mostly on international infrastructure and Chinese politics. He was previously based at the Lau China Institute at King’s College London. He is interested in the politics of space and is involved in several research projects examining the effects of Chinese infrastructural investments in the so-called ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’


Jelena Gledić is Senior Instructor at the University of Belgrade where she teaches a range of undergraduate courses in the field of Chinese language and culture at the Faculty of Philology. She also held a cross-appointment at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Language and Culture as Specially Appointed Associate Professor. Her recent research has mainly been focused on the Chinese presence in the Western Balkans and especially in Serbia.


Dr. Richard Turcsanyi is a Key Researcher at Palacky University Olomouc, Assistant Professor at Mendel University in Brno, and Programme Director at the Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS). He is the author of Chinese Assertiveness in the South China Sea (2017) and has published a number of academic articles and opinion pieces on Chinese foreign policy and relations between China and Central and Eastern Europe. He is a member of various networks focusing on contemporary China and EU-China relations.