Echowall is a collaborative research platform drawing on the expertise of a range of voices to gain a clearer picture of the China-Europe relationship in all of its dimensions. Echowall responds to the need in Europe for better expertise and information about China, while recognizing that fact-based research should be informed by a wider spectrum of experts in both Europe and China, and that it should be accessible to a broader public.
Echowall draws its inspiration from the so-called “Echo Wall” encircling the Imperial Vault of Heaven (皇穹宇) in Beijing, a structure dating back to the early 14th century. The space within this circular wall has unique acoustical properties, allowing people standing at opposite positions to communicate across the expanse, even if only whispering.
Communication is never perfect. But as we endeavor to find the right points of correspondence between China and Europe, we become better attuned to points of dissonance and contradiction — and we also find, if we listen carefully, that our understanding is enriched by the cacophony of sounds and echoes around us.
There has been much greater awareness in Europe in recent years of China’s growing impact in a range of areas, from trade and investment to national and regional politics, from security and technology to cultural exchange, education and basic human rights. Echowall responds to the demand for better information and greater transparency that has emerged as a result of China’s influence.