Author Archive
  • YU Tiejun

    Prof. YU Tiejun
    Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University

    Yu Tiejun is an associate professor in the School of International Studies (SIS) and Assistant President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University. Previously, he studied at the University of Tokyo in 1998-2000, and served as visiting fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University in 2005, and also as visiting scholar at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University in 2005-06. Dr. Yu has co-edited The Sino-Japanese Security and Defense Exchange:Past, Present, and Prospect (Beijing: World Affairs Press, 2012) with Zhu Feng and Akiyama Masahiro. He is also the Chinese translator of Myths of Empire by Jack Snyder (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2007) and Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics by Arnold Wolfers (Beijing: World Affairs Press, 2006), among other works. His research interests include IR theory, East Asian Security, and China’s National Defense Policy. He won the Excellent Teaching Award of Peking University in 2010. Dr. Yu received his Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. from the School of International Studies at Peking University.


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      Prof. Dr. ZHU Feng 朱锋 Deputy Director of the Center for International & Strategic Studies (CISS), School of International Studies, Peking University Professor ZHU began his undergraduate studies at the Department of International Politics at Peking University in 1981 and received his PhD. from Peking University in 1991. He is…
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  • ZHANG Changdong

    Prof. Dr. ZHANG Changdong  张长东

    Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, Peking University

    ZHANG ChangdongZHANG Changdong is Assistant Professor of Department of Political Science at Peking University. Before transfering to Beida in 2012, he was an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

    Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. of political science from University of Washington, Seattle (2011). He holds an M.A. degree in Political Science from Peking University (2008) and a of Economics from Beijing Technology & Business University (2004).

    His research interests include state-society relations, institutionalism and institutional change, local governance in China, and methodology.


    His co-authored paper (with Chris Heurlin), “Power and Rule by Law in Rural China: Mediation and Legal Mobilization in Land Disputes”, has been selected as a book chapter for Fu, Hualing and John Gillespie (eds), Land Dispute in East Asia, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming. Besides, there are several working papers on China’s civil society, state-business relations, and local people’s congress, under review.

    Dr. Zhang has translated two books including Calvert, Peter. 1990. Revolution & Counterrevolution. University of Minnesota Press. Jilin People’s Press, 2005; and Migdal, Joel. 1988. Strong Societies and Weak States. Princeton University Press. Into Chinese. Jiangsu People’s Press, 2009.

  • ZHOU Hong

    Prof. Dr. ZHOU Hong 周弘

    Director of the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
    Professor of European Politics and Modern History

    ZHOU HongProf. HONG chairs the Chinese Association for European Studies and is an elected Member of the Academic Divisions of CASS and is serving as Deputy Director General of the Academic Division of International Studies of CASS. Prof. ZHOU has been elected as a standing member of the China Economic and Social Council, a vice president of the Chinese Association for International Relations, and serves as a special advisor to the Chinese Ministry of Personnel and Social Security. She has extensive experience in consulting and social activities.

    Her research focusses on EU-China relations, European Studies, social security and global governance. She published extensively on these topics. She is also the chief editor of the Annual Development Report on Europe for over a decade.


    • Social Security System Worldwide (4 volumes, ed. 2010)
    • Chinese Public Views of the World (ed. 2009)
    • China-Europe Relations: Perceptions, Policies and Prospects (eds. 2009)
    • The EU as a Power (ed. 2008),
    • EU Governance Model (eds. 2008),
    • Donors in China (2007)
    • Whither the Welfare State (2006).

  • #24 – Sex Industry in China: Social and Political Context

    event #24
    March, 26 2013

    Prof. Dr. HUANG Yingying 黄盈盈
    Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Renmin University of China; Deputy Director, Institute of Sexuality and Gender

    Chang Ji (娼妓, prostitution) is recognized as one of the oldest profession in Chinese history; while Xiaojie (小姐, female sex workers) is constructed as one of the most vulnerable groups for STI/HIV transmission since the late 1990s. Based on a meta-analysis of ethnographic data collected from nine studies of FSWs from over twenty red-light districts across China, from 1996 to 2012, Prof. Huang aims to provide a comprehensive description of the changing and diverse working situations and the key social and political contexts of sex work in China over the decade.

    Her studies argue that FSWs experience many daily based occupational concerns in addition to STI and HIV infection, which include violence from the police and clients, fear of pregnancy or infertility, and exposure as a sex worker to relatives and friends. These concerns must be understood within a social framework that combines individual factors such as sex work-related identities, knowledge and practices, and the diversity of sex work; organizational factors such as venue management style, power dynamics between FSWs, managers and male clients, and fluidity of employment; and structural level factors including poverty and employment situation, sexual and gender norms, social mobility and most importantly, the two policies that directly regulating sex work: illegal and regularly crackdown actions, and HIV/STI prevention. Interactions among these factors, especially the power dynamics between the key bodies, and agency arising from sex work, contribute to the social construction of sex work and influence FSW vulnerabilities.

    Changes within and surround sex work in recent decades, under the background of a rapidly transitional society and a sexual revolution, are also observed. These include higher social mobility and doing sex work in transnational spaces, increasing violence, increasing overlap between drug use and sex work, deceasing price, more diverse gender involvement in sexual services, emerging grassroots groups to empower FSW, and meanwhile harsher crackdown actions since 2010.


  • #19 event report: Mutual Interest? China’s Role in Africa

    October 11, 2012, Bridge Café (Wudaokou)

    Speaker: Prof. Dr. LI Anshan 李安山, Peking University, School of International Studies


    Professor Li’s presentation discussed the big picture regarding the Sino-African relationship. In the beginning, he discussed the converging points between the Chinese and the African societal discourse, the most significant being the shared experience of being colonized. In many ways, the humiliation caused by Western colonizers has shaped both sides’ worldview; it has also provided them with a common code of communication. However, both sides have managed to rebound back from the post-colonial depression – while one does not really need to discuss China’s recent achievements, it is important to see what Africa has done – if one leaping from the status of a “hopeless continent” to the status of a “promising” continent. Professor Li stressed China’s resourcefulness – not only in terms of energy and rare earth minerals, but also its rich cultural heritage and the human resources (such as Mendela, the president of Senegal etc)

    Regarding the history of Chinese aid to Africa, Professor Li stressed that it is not a new phenomenon, but something that has been ongoing for decades now. The Chinese paradigm of providing aid shouldn’t be only analyzed in the light of contemporary developments; its roots are to be found in Zhou Enlai’s Eight Principles announced back in 1963.

    Professor Li then provided a brief overview of the aid/cooperation between China and Africa, and the ways in which China has been an important agency of the development of the continent. He emphasized the cross-sectorial nature of the relationship: it is to be found not only in the areas of economy and trade, energy and resources, but also in for instance in the field of health protection. He emphasized the role of research and scholarly cooperation, and academic exchange, discussing some of his own experiences and perceptions.

    Finally, he critically overviewed some of the growing concerns about the future of the relationship and noted that there are ever-more frequent accounts on existing problems – however, problems are to be seen primarily as a positive sign, as a sign of deepening contact and increased relationship, and moreover, as an opportunity to solve them and enhance the relationship.


    The presentation was followed by a fruitful Q&A session. One question discussed in particular the ways in which China benefits from the relationship – which according to professor Li is an overwhelming political support on the global scene, and of course, a stable import of energy – currently, Africa provides one third of the oil China imports. Another issues that were discussed were the prospects of the financial/investment relations, and the possible impact of China’s hard/soft landing on Africa’s economy. Another question in depth analyzed the nature of the medical assistance China has provided for African countries – starting during the Algerian War of Independence, and spanning to the Sudan conflicts and other contemporary cases.

    There have been couple of critical inputs by the public who pointed out the fact that in the contemporary international order, all actors look primarily for their own interest – China being no exception – it takes what it needs from Africa, and dresses it up as “cooperation.” Negative aspects of the Sino-African relationship were discussed as well.

    However, one discussion by an African participant provided a different perspective, by contrasting China’s involvement in Africa with the one of the United States and the European Union, arguing that Chinese aid revolves around investment, providing infrastructure and transferring technology – and creates jobs, while Western aid comes along the lines of charity and is has very limited impact.

    Other issues that were discussed were the EU-China-Africa trilateral relationship and the lack of trust and understanding on the Beijing-Brussels line; the internal debate in China on how to do it and how to supervise investment in Africa, and the growing issues regarding Chinese migrant workers to Africa.

  • #11 event report: Remembering European Imperialism: The Memory of ‘Humiliation’ in Contemporary China


    October 27, 2011, Bridge Cafe (Wudaokou)

    Speakers: Prof. Dr. Erik Ringmar 林瑞谷, Zhi Yuan Chair Professor of International Relations,Shanghai Jiaotong University


    Professor Erik Ringmar addressed the ThinkIN China community on the historical event of the destruction of Yuanmingyuan and its impact on Chinese and Europeans. Professor Erik Ringmar has lived and taught at Chiao Tung University in Taipei for several years that he used intensively to study Chinese history and traditions.

    From both the history written in his book and experiences in daily life, Professor Ringmar pointed out a the commonphenomenon amongst Chinese and European people, that is, the shame and humiliation brought about by the destruction of Yuanmingyuan, an imperial park where the Chinese emperors received the foreign delegations and their tributes, as well as the full headlong prostration—koutou. This ritual shows the respect and subject to the Chinese emperor, while from Europeans’ perspectives it represented a humiliation of themselves. Yuanmingyuan elicits the shared emotion from two different sources: Europeans feel shamed at what they did; the Chinese are shamed at what they did not do for their country, namely prevent the destruction of this imperial site.

    Professor Ringmar suggests that neither Chinese nor Europeans should be ashamed of this historical event and that both must liberate themselves from the version of history which has been and continuously is being recreated by the political power to force them to feel this way.

    In the following, professor Ringmar explained his viewpoint.. According to his argument, the identity transfer between China and Europe as well as their people are the main point of concern. The destruction of Yuanmingyuan is the pivotal turning point for China: before Yuanmingyuan was destroyed, the emperor and its people still embraced the self-confidence and the China-centric world view; after that, the history of China was flooded with humiliation and subjection. The identity transferred from the superiority to inferiority and has resulted in a inferiority complex ever since. On the contrary, the Europeans (which, in Ringmar’s argument is a synonym for the West and thus includes the Americans) have since been characterized by a superiority complex.

    To destroy Yuanmingyuan, the imperial palace, was the best way to wipe out the shame that was suffered by Europeans in this place. The subsequent history in the world—the past 150 years—has been profoundly shaped by the new identities. It was the superiority-complex that created problems both for Europeans who are not inherently aggressive, barbarian and genocidal and for others, such as the Chinese who suffered from a long history of humiliation. Similarly, it was the inferiority-complex that made Chinese prop up the revolutions and reforms inside, as well as keep the memory of the European imperialism and the ensued humiliation as the spur and driving force to move on and rise.

    Both Chinese and Europeans are suffering from the respective complexes and are trapped in the above explained identities which are misconceived and destructive. The two regions and their people need to forget the past and let go of it, especially the Chinese should forget the imperial compound of the national history during the patriotic education campaign that shapes the inferiority and pushes the Chinese to feel ashamed. If so, China and Europe could treat each other as equals and develop smoothly and successfully.


    At the end, the Q&A session showed that Professor Ringmar’s speech spurred a lot of debate on the value and importance of history, the necessity of responsibility for the victims, as well as the different interpretations of identities. The audience was quite interested in the speech topic and engaged in a hot debate with the professor.

    A core point to discussion was the concept of nation, whether or not it was applicable to the late Qing state and if the people living in late Qing China understood themselves to be citizens of a Chinese nation.

    (report by Jiang Wei)




  • #03 event report: Mutual Suspicions: The China-India-Pakistan Triangle

    November 8, 2010, Bridge Café (Wudaokou)

    Speakers: Christopher K. Colley, Instructor, Renmin University, School of International Studies and 
    Prof. Dr. CHENG Xiaohe 成晓河, Associate Professor, Renmin University, School of International Studies


    China and India fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962 over roughly 125,000 square km of contested land. There are many reasons for the war, but perhaps the biggest three were:
    1. India’s view that China was illegally building a road on Indian territory in order to better secure Tibet.
    2. China’s view that India’s “Forward Policy” was eroding China’s claim in the disputed areas.
    3. The failure of both sides to find a diplomatic solution. It should be noted that during this period China was willing to compromise and only take 26 percent of the contested land and that this offer was rejected by India.

    The border issue has yet to be resolved and considering the new found confidence in both New Delhi and Beijing it may become even harder for future leaders to find a solution. Trade between the two is nearly 60 billion USD per year with China
    importing mainly raw materials from India and India importing mostly textiles and machinery from China. There are areas of cooperation between the two especially in the area of energy exploration.

    The United States could play a wild card role in this “Protracted Contest”. As China continues to rise and America sees it influence decline, America may look to India to counter balance China. There are risks involved for all parties if this is the case. India may not be interested in becoming Washington’s paw and China may see this as further proof of American Hegemony”.

  • #01 event report: Capitalism with(out) Chinese Characteristics?

    September 28, 2010, Bridge Café (Wudaokou)

    Speaker:  Kate Westgarth, China Coordination Team, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK


    The main aim of ThinkIN China’s first event was to analyze corruption, a pivotal topic that represents one of the main aspect of the variegated Chinese reality. Moreover, being loyal to ThinkIN China beliefs, the debate intended neither to criticise nor to reduce such an intricate topic to banal distinctions. On the contrary, it sought to penetrate the topic with curiosity and genuine interest. Kate Westgarth presented the public a valued insight about corruption in China, particularly, its historical and cultural roots and related problems the Party has in managing and handling such a critical issue. Westgarth has an extensive knowledge of China, being the Head of China Coordination Team in United Kingdom’s Foreign Office. She is now on sabbatical studying at The Marxism Academy. During her career she spent more than ten years in China and has written about the Party, leadership and Xinjiang*.

    The starting point of any analysis of corruption in China, according to the speaker, must deal with the differences existing between the West’s concept of corruption and the Confucian tradition of seeking social order through morals and harmony of personal relationships, rather than through law and punishment. Western universalist thought states that corruption can be controlled through an independent judiciary, official states that corruption can be controlled through an independent judiciary, official transparency and an enhanced supervisory role for both the public and the media.

    However, it cannot be applied in a cultural and political context such as modern China, with its Confucian tradition and the predominant role of the Party in the State’s affairs.
    It should be noted that corruption in China is not a phenomenon born or grown in the sixty years of Communist rule, it can be tracked to the Imperial times. General perception in China sees corruption and weak government as evidence of lack of legitimacy leading to the collapse of a political system. The main Party concern is linked to this general perception, namely to fight corruption without generating increasing public awareness on the problem, so as to avoid destroying the Party legitimacy. As Chen Yu said: “fight corruption too little and destroy the country? fight it too much and destroy the Party”.

    In order to face the spread of corruption, the Central Party Committee (CPC) has adopted a dual strategy. On one hand it relies on the Confucian approach of exhorting cadres to be the moral example in their work style through retro slogan as: “be the Party’s loyal guards and the masses’ best friends”. On the other hand, the Party has started the implementation of western remedies, such as rules based regulation and other tools as an ombudsman and public hotlines etc… Moreover, the Party has issued a Code of Ethics for Cadres, in which more than 52 practices are described as unacceptable and can be the basis for criminal law procedures. Nevertheless, the role of the media are more concentrated on covering big scandals (such as those concerning sons of Party nomenklatura) rather than of being the watching civil eye on public matters. In fact, while the leadership encourages reporting on local level malfeasances, it clamps down when reporters uncover cases considered inconvenient to the Party. Finally, according to Westgarth, “West’s panacea seems a very long way off”. It remains to be seen whether anticorruption with Chinese characteristics is anymore successful for the CPC than it was for previous dynasties.


    Westgarth’s speech and analysis spurred much debate amongst the audience, Audience members engaged the speaker on issues such as the links between political power systems and economic networks, sexrelated political scandals, the role of Confucianism norms in Chinese society, judicial regulation and the potential of a freer press as a vehicle for tackling corruption.

    The vivid debate created by Westgarth’s speech demonstrates the extensive interest of the audience in the matter. The theme of corruption is seen as crucial within the political and cultural discourse of modern China and its patterns of transformation.

    (*)The views and opinions expressed by Kate Westgarth are a personal academic analysis, and therefore do not represent the official stance of UK Foreign Office, UK Government or generally UK diplomatic corp.