The Fairbank Center is a world-leading center on China at Harvard University. Listen to interviews on our "Harvard on China" podcast, recordings from our public events, and audio from our archives.
Leveraging Liminality: Shenzhen and the Origins of China's Reform and Opening, with Taomo Zhou
Speaker: Taomo Zhou, Assistant Professor of History, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Immediately north of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is China’s most successful Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Commonly known as the “social laboratory” of reform and opening, Shenzhen was the foremost frontier for the People’s Republic’s adoption of market principles and entrance into the world economy in the late 1970s. This talk examines prototypes of the SEZ in Bao’an County, the precursor of Shenzhen during the Mao era (1949-1976). Between 1949 and 1978, Bao’an was a liminal space where state endeavors to establish a socialist economy were challenged by capitalist influences from the adjacent British Crown Colony. To create an enclave of exception to socialism, communist cadres in Bao’an promoted individualized, duty-free cross-border trade and informal foreign investment schemes as early as 1961. Although beholden to the inward-looking planned economy and stymied by radical leftist campaigns, these local improvisations formed the foundation for the SEZ—the very hallmark of Deng Xiaoping’s economic statecraft.
Taomo Zhou is an Assistant Professor of History at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, specializing in modern Chinese and Southeast Asian history. Taomo’s first book, Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia and the Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2019), was selected as one of the Best Books of 2020 by Foreign Affairs. Taomo is working on a new research project on Shenzhen—the first Special Economic Zone of China—and its connections with the Export Processing Zones and free ports across Southeast Asia. This research is funded by a Tier 1 grant from the Ministry of Education, Singapore.
China's Role in Global Finance, with Eswar Prasad
Speaker: Eswar Prasad, Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy, Cornell University; Senior Fellow and New Century Chair in International Economics, Brookings Institution; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research.
This lecture will discuss China’s economic prospects, policies, and reforms, and their implications for its role in international finance. The lecture will cover China’s economy, financial markets, and the renminbi, and also touch upon the country’s new digital currency.
China's Economy Faces Domestic and External Challenges, with David Dollar
Speaker: David Dollar, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
China has gotten COVID-19 under control and is poised to bounce back strongly with 8% growth in 2021. But in the medium term, it faces daunting domestic and external challenges. On the domestic side, demographic shifts will result in a declining labor force and put a premium on geographic mobility, especially rural-urban migration. Also, over-reliance on investment has led to an alarming rise in debt to GDP, risking a financial crisis. To grow well while managing these issues of labor and investment will require more innovation as a source of growth. On the external side, the trade war with the U.S. is not likely to be resolved quickly with the new Biden administration. China’s recent agreements with Asian partners and Europe, however, provide new opportunities that complement domestic reforms.
David Dollar is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution and host of the Brookings trade podcast, Dollar&Sense. He is a leading expert on China’s economy and U.S.-China economic relations. From 2009 to 2013, Dollar was the U.S. Treasury’s economic and financial emissary to China, based in Beijing, facilitating the macroeconomic and financial policy dialogue between the United States and China. Prior to joining Treasury, Dollar worked 20 years for the World Bank, serving as country director for China and Mongolia, based in Beijing (2004-2009). His other World Bank assignments focused on Asian economies, including South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. Dollar also worked in the World Bank’s research department. His publications focus on economic reform in China, globalization, and economic growth. He also taught economics at University of California Los Angeles, during which time he spent a semester in Beijing at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1986. He has a doctorate in economics from New York University and a bachelor’s in Chinese history and language from Dartmouth College.
Special Deals from Special Investors, with Chang-Tai Hsieh
Speaker: Chang-Tai Hsieh, Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Professor of Economics and PCL Faculty Scholar, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
We use administrative registration records with information on the owners of all Chinese firms to document the importance of “connected” investors, defined as state-owned firms or private owners with equity ties with state-owned firms, in the businesses of private owners. We document a hierarchy of private owners: the largest private owners have direct investments from state-owned firms, the next largest private owners have equity investments from private owners that themselves have equity ties with state owners, and the smallest private owners do not have any ties with state owners. The network of connected private owners has expanded over the last two decades. The share of registered capital of connected private owners increased by almost 20 percentage points between 2000 and 2019, driven by two trends. First, state-owned firms have increased their investments in joint ventures with private owners. Second, private owners with equity ties to state owners also increasingly invest in joint ventures with other (smaller) private owners. The expansion in the “span” of connected owners from these investments with private owners may have increased the aggregate output of the private sector by 4.2% a year between 2000 and 2019.
Chang-Tai Hsieh conducts research on growth and development. His published papers include “The Life-Cycle of Plants in India and Mexico,” in the Quarterly Journal of Economics; “Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India,” in the Quarterly Journal of Economics; “Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity,” in the American Economic Review; “Can Free Entry be Inefficient? Fixed Commissions and Social Waste in the Real Estate Industry,” in the Journal of Political Economy; “What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence from the Factor Markets,” in the American Economic Review; “The Allocation of Talent and US Economic Growth,” in Econometrica; “How Destructive is Innovation?” in Econometrica; and “Special Deals with Chinese Characteristics,” in the NBER Macroeconomics Annual.
Hsieh has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis, as well as the World Bank’s Development Economics Group and the Economic Planning Agency in Japan. He is a Research Associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Senior Fellow at the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development, and a member of the Steering Group of the International Growth Center in London.
He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, an Elected Member of Academia Sinica, and the recipient of the Sun Ye-Fang award for research on the Chinese economy.
China's Approach to National Security Under Xi Jinping, with Sheena Greitens
Speaker: Sheena Greitens, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Sheena Chestnut Greitens is an associate professor at the LBJ School, as well as a faculty fellow with the Clements Center for National Security and a distinguished scholar with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law.
Her work focuses on East Asia, American national security, authoritarian politics, and foreign policy. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an adjunct fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, and a member of the Digital Freedom Forum at the Center for a New American Security.
She holds a doctorate from Harvard University; an M.Phil from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar; and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.
China's Military Strategy in the New Era, with M. Taylor Fravel
Speaker: M. Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderator: Andrew S. Erickson, Professor of Strategy, U.S. Naval War College China Maritime
M. Taylor Fravel is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Taylor studies international relations, with a focus on international security, China, and East Asia. His books include Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s Territorial Disputes, (Princeton University Press, 2008) and Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949 (Princeton University Press, 2019). His other publications have appeared in International Security, Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, International Studies Review, The China Quarterly, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, Armed Forces & Society, Current History, Asian Survey, Asian Security, China Leadership Monitor, and Contemporary Southeast Asia.
Taylor is a graduate of Middlebury College and Stanford University, where he received his PhD. He also has graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2016, he was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation. Taylor is a member of the board of directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and serves as the Principal Investigator for the Maritime Awareness Project.
Looks increasingly like propaganda for the See See Pee
Let’s hear about how China can become like Taiwan/The Republic of China:)...