The 1st China Development Forum|A Great Power in the Deepening Reform

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ABS Seminar Rooms - Abercrombie Business School

357-379 Abercrombie Street

Darlington, NSW 2008


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This is the First China Development Forum (CDF) organised by CDS USYD. CDF is a comprehensive forum covering a wide range of topic, including social change in China, Chinese advancing diplomacy as a global power, as well as the economic and trade development. This forum will be divided into three sections and will be conducted by different lecturers.

Section One: Evolution of the Chinese Social Contradiction (At ABS Seminar Room 2003)

In his speech at the 19th Party Congress opening ceremony, President Xi Jinping affirmed the evolution of the “principal contradiction” facing the society, saying it “is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.” Xi’s new formulation is a significant and bold shift from the previous statement made by the paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1981, who defined the principal contradiction, indicated in the party constitution, as being “between the ever- growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social productivity”.

Clearly, the current Chinese leadership is emphasizing urgent social issues such as wealth distribution, environmental protection and poverty reduction. Decades of rapid economic growth and urbanization have given rise to problems of massive wealth inequality and severe pollution, which in turn fuel social discontent and even resentment. In particular, the phenomenon of photochemical smog among Chinese metropolises or cities has drawn fierce criticism from the public and sparked protests. The process of urbanization seems irreversible. How has China changed over the years? What are the externalities and implications of urbanization? How can China tackle the various side-effects? This section seeks to provide insightful observations on these questions.

Section Two: Great Power Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics

(At ABS Seminar Room 2010)

The great power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, adopted in the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, is influenced not only by the social history of China, but more importantly driven by its international and domestic environment. Externally, China faces an unpredictable international society and ‘Thucydides trap’ with the United States. Internally, China is undergoing a rough period of economic reforms in order to escape from the middle-class trap. Under such circumstances, presenting a friendly and open image to the world is highly favorable to China’s transition into a major power internationally.

Under the new policy, long-standing notions of peaceful co-existence, independence and win-win cooperation are undisturbed. Nevertheless China will be taking a more proactive role in the international arena, which is seen by many as a departure from the ‘keeping a low profile’ (tao guang yang hui) strategy adopted in the Deng Xiaoping era. Scholars have described the rationale behind as a fight for national dignity. Since Xi took office, novel global partnerships such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the One Belt One Road Initiative have demonstrated China’s commitment to transitioning from a regional power to the projection as a great power. Balancing between a proactive foreign policy and maintaining a friendly and open image to the world will be a huge task for China in the next decade. How do the external and internal factors shape China’s foreign policy and what path will it take in the future? In this section we hope to explore these topics, taking into account Chinese nationalism in the domestic sphere and trend in the international arena.

Section Three: China’s Economy From Export-Oriented to Consumption-Driven

(At ABS Seminar Room 2010)

After two centuries of stagnation, China returns as the second largest economy in the world and its success has been widely recognized by economists and the media. Ever since the economic reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China has been experiencing an annual GDP growth of 8% minimum until 2012. Manufacturing and export industry have been playing an indispensable role to the success. They contribute up to 20-35% of the Chinese GDP between 2000 and 2015.

However, the recent slowdown of the economy reflects the adoption of a significantly different economic strategy. The reality reminds us of the necessity of economic transformation in China from an export-oriented economy to a consumption-driven economy. With the rise of the middle class, wage growth undermines China’s global comparative advantage of low labour cost, which gradually deprives China’s role as “the world’s factory”. The increasing purchasing power of China’s middle- income class also means the stimulation of demand for internal consumption and import of goods and services. This section will focus on structural transformation of the Chinese economy, reviewing Chinese economic developments in past few years, and predicting its future economic outlook. All in all it comes down to one question: can China maintain a high-speed economic growth in the long run?

Our lecturers

Professor John Keane, USYD

John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), and Distinguished Professor at Peking University. He is renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy. He is the Director and co-founder of the Sydney Democracy Network. He has contributed to The New York Times, Al Jazeera, the Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Harper's, the South China Morning Post and The Huffington Post. His online column 'Democracy field notes' appears regularly in the New York- and Melbourne­-based The Conversation. Among his best-known books are the best-selling Tom Paine: A political life (1995), Violence and democracy (2004), Democracy and media decadence (2013) and the highly acclaimed full-scale history of democracy, The life and death of democracy (2009). His most recent books are A short history of the future of elections (2016) and When trees fall, monkeys scatter (2017).

Professor Hans Hendrischke, USYD

Hans Hendrischke is professor of Chinese business and management at the University of Sydney Business School. He leads the Business School’s China Research Network and chairs the Business and Economics Cluster of the University’s China Studies Centre.

Hans lived in China from 1979 working for the diplomatic service and in the finance industry. He speaks and writes fluent Chinese and is a frequent commentator on China business and Australia China business relations in national and international media. His team reports with KPMG on Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australia receive wide international coverage.

Lecturer Wei Li, USYD

Wei Li has worked as a researcher on water conservation and renewable energy for the World Bank, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and Renmin University of China. She is a core member of the KPMG/Business School research team and leads the Chinese outbound investors' survey project. She co-developed the KPMG/University of Sydney database on Chinese outbound direct investment in Australia.

Professor Luigi Tomba, USYD

Born and educated in Italy, Luigi is a political scientist with almost three decades of China experience, having visited China for the first time in 1988. He has been teaching and researching Chinese politics and society at the ANU between 2001 and 2017, when he moved to University of Sydney. His work covers many aspects of China’s political and social change, with a particular interest in the consequences of China’s urbanisation on its society and governance. Luigi has also been, for a decade between 2005 and 2015, the editor of The China Journal, one of the best-known international research journal on post-1949 China.

Luigi’s work has always been interested in how governmental discourses become practices of government at the grassroots and in the process affect the legitimacy of the Chinese communist regime. By studying the grassroots manifestation of Chinese Communist Party legitimacy, doubts emerge on the inevitability of China’s democratic transition and new questions emerge on how government is linked to social and economic development.

Professor Wanning Sun, UTS

Wanning Sun FAHA is Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS. Her book publications include:

  • Leaving China: Media, Migration, and Transnational Imagination (2002)

  • Maid in China: Media, Morality and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries (2009)

  • Subaltern China: Rural Migrants, Media and Cultural Practices ( 2014)

  • Mapping Media in China: Locality, Region and Province (2013, with J. Chio)

  • Unequal China: the Political Economy and Cultural Politics of Inequality (2013, with Y. Guo)

  • Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationlism (2016, with J.Sinclair)

  • Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (2016, with T. Lewis and F. Martin)

Associate Professor Salvatore Babones, USYD

A/Prof Babones is the author or editor of ten books and more than two dozen academic research articles. His two main areas of academic research are the political economy of the greater China region and the methodology of quantitative modeling in the social sciences. He also publishes extensively on American social and foreign policy.

Salvatore Babones is interested in understanding the structure of the Chinese, Asian, and global economies. He is currently studying how China's New Silk Road policies fit into the geoeconomics of the larger world-system. He maintains a strong second research stream on quantitative methodology for the social sciences.

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ABS Seminar Rooms - Abercrombie Business School

357-379 Abercrombie Street

Darlington, NSW 2008


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