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This paper examines China’s engagements with the European Union (EU), with a specific reference to the emerging Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the 16+1 platform. It compares the experiences of Visegrad countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The analysis shows differences in approaches of individual states and it questions the benefits in relation to promised investments and real outcomes. The European Union’s response is outlined through an assessment of the new EU strategy on China, suggesting a need for further convergence between EU and 16+1 policies.