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I'm going to put a few events that have landed in my inbox up here - if you're actually interested or even end up going to any of these please say so. If there's no response I'll likely get bored of posting....


This... yikes, this is tomorrow. Isabel Hilton at the LSE on what it means to be Chinese and so on. Free, no need to book, first come first served (which usually means you can still get in if it's full, but you might have to sit on the floor. Not doing this one, prior engagement with a pub. 



March 17 we have former Observer and SCMP editor Jonathon Fenby talking on China in the 21st Century at King's Place up by King's Cross. £9.50. I've booked, either I'll learn something, or I'll get to feel like I know more than a former Observer and SCMP editor. Win win, really. 





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Let us know what it's like. 


There's also Chinese New Year stuff happening on Feb 2nd. I'm out of town, or I'd probably wander along. They're looking for volunteers (see link to application form on that page) if anyone wants to have a shot.


There's usually some stuff going on in London, although I don't do a great deal of it. I've heard people like Yang Guobin and Rebecca Mackinnon over the last couple of years though. If you want to keep up to date, the BACS email list is a good place to start, along with the events pages / emails for LSE and SOAS. 


Here's another one - Julia Lovell on the global history of Maoism, courtesy of the Meridian Society

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The Isabel Hilton lecture was very good. I didn't realise until afterwards that she is the same journalist who was interviewed on Sinica last year

She started off riffing about the similarities between the Dalai Lama and Alex Salmond, and making a few cute points (Salmond is a splittist, Chinese politicians have met him several times and worn tartan ties)

She then went through the historic borders of the Chinese empire through the various dynasties, and discussed Sun Yat-sen and picked up in particular on his dislike for the foreign Manchus.

The remainder was a pretty comprehensive sweep through Xinjiang and Tibet. Interesting fact of the evening: Xi Jinping's father was friends with the 9th Panchen Lama and is rumoured to have worn a watch given to him by said Lama.

I also went to see Julia Lovell. It was a much less polished, less public deal - it was in a little, boiling hot room in Birkbeck, and she was outlining her research on international Maoism and asking for input.

It was interesting though. Did you know for example: Red Star Over China was translated into Chinese in the 1930s and encouraged intellectuals from the East Coast to travel to Communist-controlled areas to give their support.

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Thanks Michael. Couple more...

  • Balancing Openness and Stability: Governing Finance in East Asia
    Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Department of European & International Studies, KCL
    4-6pm, Wednesday 29th January
    Room K-1.14, King's Building, Strand Campus
    Further details
  • Masses from the Margins: Collective Action and Imagined Solidarities at the Edges of Official Public Space in Contemporary China
    Dr. Anup Grewal, Lecturer in Chinese and Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, King's College London
    4-6pm, Wednesday 26th February
    Room K-1.14, King's Building, Strand Campus
    Further details
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  • 3 weeks later...

One more. This looks interesting, but the early start isn't good for anyone with an office job. 

Gay activism after AIDS: hypothesising on a 'post-success' environment in China

Dr Timothy Hildebrandt, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Research Seminar

4-6pm, Wednesday 12th February
Room K-1.14, Lau China Institute, King's Building, Strand Campus, King's College London

All welcome.

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This one looks interesting, 



Between 2006 and 2010, Dr Zhou travelled across rural and urban China to interview more than one hundred famine survivors. Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962: An Oral History is based on the over one hundred interviews she has collected and put together. It is the first book to give voice to survivors of the famine from all over China. In this talk Dr Zhou retraces her journey in China and shares how the interviews were elicited. Her account shows the continuing lack of openness in Chinese civil society and the difficulties of getting to the truth. Her talk also reveals that to a large extent the destruction of the Great Leap Famine continues to exercise an influence on everyday life in the Chinese countryside today.



And also: 

"She is currently creating the world’s first Oral History of Twentieth Century China online archive, which will contain English and Chinese transcripts."

I can't see this online anywhere yet, but it could be the most interesting learning resource ever. 


Found something about her research experiences. Very interesting, I think I'll go to this one. Anyone else?

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Chinese sculptor in conversation at the British Museum, 14 March

Also at the BM, Ancient Figurines and metal in Chinese decorative arts


I think Zhou Xun's work is really interesting and I may well buy her book. The talk was a little disappointing though, as they faffed around a lot trying to get sound to work on videos and researchers and historians don't always make the best public speakers. 


Realmayo, did you go looking for a language partner?

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University of Westminster has a few upcoming events, which may be interesting for your own personal definitions of interesting



The imminent one is on March 5: Producing Chinese Delinquent Audiences in the Early Reform Period —The Censorship Discourse of Garrison’s Gorillas (1980)

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Another one from the Meridian Society: 

"Caught in the Crossfire: The Chinese-Indian Community and the Deterioration of India-China Relations, 1947-1961" Talk by Professor Tansen Sen
Monday 10th March. That's at KCL, Meridian Society website should have details. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This one looks fun

Seminar: Interpreting China Through Propaganda: A History of Media-Watching During and After the Cold War

Dr Matthew Johnson, Assistant Professor, Grinnell College, US

4-6pm, Wednesday 19th March

Lau China Institute, King's College London

Room K-1.14, King's Building, Strand Campus

All are welcome - no need to register


This paper will draw on social science and historical scholarship from the 1950s to the present to discuss how understandings of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and its social effects, have and have not changed over time. The first issue to be analysed is the impact of pre- and post-Second World War theories of communications on how China's propaganda has been studied. The second is the question of whether or not the "cultural turn" in the social sciences and humanities has offered any new appraisals of propaganda's significance as a topic of inquiry.

Should be some good slogans to smirk at, at least.

I'm just back from the Jonathon Fenby one, will do a quick write up on my notes when I've finished my Shreddies.

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Fairly busy tonight in King's Place Hall Two, pretty good turnout considering this was a paid event - £9.50 if I remember correctly. Jonathan Fenby was a very good speaker - talked quickly, which I always like, as I'm a fast listener, impressive recall of facts and figures, and plenty of humorous observations and asides. I liked his description of Hu Jintao as being, in comparison to the more personality-blessed Xi Jinping, a speak-your-weight machine. Although that might turn out to have been a reference to a massively popular Internet meme I missed...


He was in conversation with Philips Stephens, an FT foreign affairs columnist. I'll write up my notes and try to organise them a bit as I go....


Fenby's promoting his new book, Will China Dominate the 21st Century? In a fairly decent gesture he told us all the answer right at the start - no, unless the US somehow collapses, and it doesn't really want to. The nature of a Party-run state will stand in the way of the accumulation of soft power. 


He spent a bit of time pointing out, and then reiterating in response to a question, that China is a Leninist state, in that the Party stands supreme to government. Tales of foreign business delegations coming over and congratulating themselves on having met a minister, not realising that the minister is far from being the head honcho, or talk of persuading People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan to change monetary policy, not realising that Zhou has long been trying to do just that. 


Made a point of listing all of Xi's positions to emphasise how concentrated power has become - long list of chairmanships. Referred to a "Tony Blair - Gordon Brown" relationship between Wang Qishan and Li Keqiang (?). Xi has accumulated more power to himself than anyone since Deng, and apparently his favourite movie is the Godfather. Believes China deserves more respect, and Fenby reported Western ambassadors now feeling they are being treated as "2nd class citizens" - except maybe the Germans. 


On China and Japan, neither want a war, but antagonism has become a part of national politics in both countries. Referred to nationalist and anti-Japanese slant in education since '89.  Chinese assertiveness is driving nations such as the Philippines closer to the US. 


Greatest threat to the Party is higher quality of life demands from second generation middle class - pollution, food safety, legal protections. Apparently Wang Qishan circulated a reading list (didn't catch to who) including De Toqueville, who Fenby pointed out said that revolutions happen when the middle class have enough money to think (or something like that). But the rule of law would be like turkeys voting for Christmas, as it'd mean the end of the Party being able to handle corruption in house. 


Possibility for internal Party reform along lines of PRI in Mexico and Lib Dems in Japan (anyone?). But then you look at how Bo Xilai was handled - all behind closed doors until it was time for the trial. 


Think that's all of note. He's apparently back at King's Place in the near future talking about France. He's worth going to hear if you get the chance. 

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Thanks for the write-up.

 either I'll learn something, or I'll get to feel like I know more than a former Observer and SCMP editor.

So which was it?  :mrgreen: 


Good to hear a sceptical voice versus the China-will-take-Over-THE-WORLD belief.

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