2017 China Symposium

New sources of growth (2): Innovation and technological change
19 July 2017

The China Symposium presents the latest research on the Chinese economy. The 2017 Symposium brings leading scholars and the World Bank's Country Director (China, Mongolia and Korea) together to discuss China's next transformation: How us China managing its economic transition through institutional reform, innovation and technological change? What fiscal and financial risks does the economy face? Is regional inequality being addressed?

Panel 1: Update on China’s macroenconomic status
Chair: Professor Ross Garnaut AC, University of Melbourne
Bert Hofman, The World Bank, China’s next transformation
Professor Wing Thye Woo, University of California, Davis, Managing the economic slowdown during the transition to the new path of sustainable development
Professor Yiping Huang, Peking University, Innovations in the financial sector
Professor Christine Wong, University of Melbourne, Protecting against fiscal risks
Professor Yao Yang, Peking University and University of Melbourne Asia Scholar, Regional convergence of the economy

Panel 2: Innovation and Technological Change
Chair: Professor Ligang Song, Australian National University
Professor Xiaobo Zhang, Peking University, China's transition to a more innovative economy
Dr Kejun Jiang, Energy Research Institute, Technological progress in developing renewable energies

Watch the recording (2 hours)

2017 Contemporary China Seminar Series

Semester 2

Associate Professor Yan Tan, University of Adelaide

Climate change and migration in China: New evidence from the Yangtze River Delta and Western China
19 October 2017

Recent comprehensive studies assert that climate change will have an increasing impact on human migration patterns over subsequent decades. While there has been growing consensus that the way to move forward is through targeted, theoretically informed cases studies in ‘hotspots’ where the impact of climate change is estimated to be distinct, this research is only in its early stages. Professor Tan seeks to uncover the effects changing climate has on migration and adaptation strategies, decisions and patterns of movement within the context of China’s current socio-economic development and the challenges in tackling climate change. There is a lack of empirical evidence in the literature addressing how climate change (including climate variability and extremes) impacts on migration decision-making and patterns of movement in rural and urban settings and at the household level. This study aims to unravel the climate change and migration nexus by focussing on two hotspots in China, the Yangtze River Delta and the ecologically vulnerable areas of western China. In these two hotspots the complex relationships between climate (environmental) change, mobility and development are examined, the likely effects of climate variability on both past (spanning 5 years) and future migration (decisions and patterns) modelled, and the policy implications for migration, adaptation, and development investigated.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Professor Klaus Larres, University of North Carolina

The dawning of a new global order? Germany and China in the Trump Era
5 October 2017

It has become apparent during the last few months that the unexpected election of Donald Trump has left a vacuum in global affairs. China is attempting to fill this vacuum while Germany is being pushed to become more active in international affairs. This seminar considers the global consequences of Trump's foreign policy and analyses the complex relationship between Germany and China in the political and economic realm to cope with a rapidly changing world.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Dr Matthew Currell, RMIT University

The global drain: China's groundwater pollution problems and why they should matter to the rest of the world
14 September 2017

Recent nation-wide surveys of water quality in China have revealed a crisis in the extent and severity of groundwater pollution throughout China's aquifers, in both urban and agricultural regions. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people depend on groundwater for drinking water and their livelihoods, and many are suffering adverse health effects from pollution, as is evident with the emergence of 'Cancer Villages'. This seminar outlines the major sources and mechanisms of groundwater pollution in China, explores links between pollution, trade and the global economy - including China's emergence as the world's manufacturing powerhouse - and analyses the Chinese government's recent policy response to the crisis, including the development of the 'Water 10 Plan' in 2015.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Download Dr Matthew Currell's presentation slides

Associate Professor Fran Martin, University of Melbourne

WeChat therefore we are: Everyday multicultures, translocality and Chinese social media in inner Melbourne
15 August 2017
From February through to April 2016, the community of Chinese students studying and living in Melbourne’s northern CBD and Carlton area was rocked by a prolonged spate of mobile phone thefts that popular WeChat news accounts persistently framed as ethnically targeted attacks on Chinese people by ‘African gangs’ ignored by Australian police. This seminar considers the research participants’ complex range of responses to these incidents, alongside the highly sensationalised and openly racialised reportage of them on WeChat news accounts (the students’ principal source of local news).

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Dr Pradeep Taneja, University of Melbourne

Belt and Road initiative and the China-India-Pakistan Triangle
3 August 2017

Despite claims by Chinese officials that Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not political, it is inevitable that the purportedly more than one trillion dollar program of infrastructure construction and multiple connectivity corridors will have significant geopolitical and security implications; some intended and others unforeseen. India has declined to be a part of BRI, and it turned down the invitation to attend the much-hyped BRI Forum in Beijing last May. This seminar examines the Indian government’s reservations about the initiative and the impact of CPEC on India-Pakistan relations.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Semester 1

Dr Britt Crow-Miller, Arizona State University

Politics and discourse in China's South-North Water Transfer Project
1 June 2017

Despite significant financial, ecological and social trade-offs, the Chinese government has moved forward with constructing and operationalizing the world’s largest interbasin water transfer project to date, the South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP). While it is fundamentally linked to broader political-economic goals within the context of China’s development agenda, the SNWTP is frequently discussed in apolitical terms. Based on extensive discourse analysis and interviews with government officials across North China, I argue that the Chinese government is using "discourses of deflection" to present the project as politically neutral in order to serve its ultimate goal of maintaining the high economic growth rates that underpin its continued legitimacy.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Professor Mark Wang, University of Melbourne

Relocation for poverty alleviation? How will Xi Jinping's 'Precise Poverty Alleviation' strategy affect China's poverty resettlement program?
25 May 2017

China’s success in poverty alleviation in the last two decades has attracted worldwide attention, resulting in 800 million people being lifted out of poverty since 1978. The Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) program has been physically relocating poor rural villagers away from highly impoverished and/or ecologically degraded areas. It has been used as one of the key poverty reduction initiatives. Through this state-led resettlement program, the government aims to improve the living standards and access to infrastructure and services of the rural poor by moving them to more developed areas.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Professor Martin K Whyte
Harvard University and University of Melbourne Asia Scholar

Global popular anger against rising inequality: Why is China an exception?
27 April 2017

What is the evidence that ordinary Chinese citizens are not particularly, or increasingly, angry about rising income gaps? Why is China an exception to this growing global pattern, and what might make Chinese citizens more angry in the future about the income gaps in their society? Should Chinese leaders nonetheless worry about the prospect that rising popular anger may eventually threaten their rule?

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Dr Lauren Johnston, University of Melbourne

China in Africa: What is OBOR and why is the Indian Ocean in focus?
6 April 2017

Three years since the launch of China's flagship outbound investment strategy, One Belt One Road (OBOR), many are left uncertain - what is OBOR and what exactly is China trying to achieve? Based on study of trade-related potential for win-win development between China and Africa countries, Dr Lauren Johnston explains economic push factors underlying China’s outbound investment agenda, and the attractiveness of selective ‘Belt’ countries in Africa. Arguing that the timeliness of OBOR investments for particular African economies could help underlie sustained economic development, she adds a call for Australia, the only OECD member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), to grasp related new challenges and opportunity.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Professor Hans Hendrischke, University of Sydney

The sustainability of Chinese investment in Australia
16 March 2017

Based on analysis of the trajectories of Chinese ODI in Australia over the past decade Professor Hendrischke will discuss the strategic and economic fundamentals and depoliticise the foreign investment debate. He concludes that the regulatory regime needs clarity and transparency as well as the right of government to make strategic decisions.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Professor Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College

The origins and dynamics of crony capitalism in China: insights from prosecuted cases of collusive corruption
23 March 2017

By examining the evolution of Chinese economic and political institutions since the early 1990s, we can trace the emergence of crony capitalism to two critical changes in the control of property rights of the assets owned by the state and the personnel management of the officials the ruling Communist Party. Consequently, local political and business elites gain greater incentives and opportunities to collude with each other in looting the assets nominally owned by the state.

Watch the recording (90 minutes)

Building a Chinese Dream; Language, Power and Hierarchy: Professor Linda Tsung

This talk aims to explore language practices, language in power and linguistic hierarchies in China at a time when President Xi Jinping is defining the national goal as the Chinese dream.

The New Model for Chinese Economic Growth

China's economy, the world's second-largest, is in the middle of transitioning to a new development stage. The Melbourne Institute and the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies bring together six leading specialists on the Chinese economy to discuss where China's economy is heading.

Is China at a Turning Point?

The Asia Institute and the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies bring together three experts on China to discuss if China has reached its turning point.

Measuring China's Rise

The Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies presents Professor Ross Terrill, the Melbourne-born, Harvard-based and internationally renowned author of nine books on China.


The Little Red Podcast

The Little Red Podcast: interviews and chat celebrating China beyond the Beijing beltway, from the studios of The University of Melbourne's Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies.

Episode 2: The politics of language on the Tibetan plateau

In this episode, Graeme and Louisa talk with anthropologist Gerald Roche about the prospects for the survival of non-Tibetan languages in the Tibetan areas of the PRC.

Episode 1: Have China's greenhouse gas emissions peaked?

For the first episode of The Little Red Podcast, Graeme interviews Fergus Green, former research assistant to Professor Nicholas Stern, who explains how changes in the Chinese economy are affecting China's greenhouse gas emissions