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.
Connecting the World-Island | What Will China’s PEACE Cable Bring To Pakistan And East Africa?
China’s Hengtong Group—leading a consortium of telecom companies from Hong Kong, Pakistan, and East Africa—will soon complete installation of the Pakistan East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable. Spanning the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, this cable will connect the three most populous continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, or what Halford Mackinder described as the “World Island.” The cable aims to provide these previously under-serviced regions with the shortest latency between routes and high-quality Internet, but what are China’s aims with the project and what benefits will it bring to partners in South Asia and Africa? This roundtable will discuss the technical, economic, and geopolitical implications of this flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
University teacher, Faculty of Management and Business, University of Tampere (Finland)
Post-Doctoral Researcher, East Asia Centre & Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Affiliate, Center on Global Legal Transformation, Columbia Law School
James Gethyn Evans, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
Nargis Kassenova, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Co-sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, and the Center for African Studies at Harvard University.
The Stone and the Wireless, with Ma Shaoling
The Stone and the Wireless: Lyrical Media and Bad Models of the Feeling Women
Ma Shaoling is an Assistant Professor of Humanities (Literature) at Yale-NUS College. She was born in Taiwan, grew up in Singapore, and spent ten years in the United States where she obtained her PhD (University of Southern California, Comparative Literature), and subsequently taught at Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include literary and critical theory, media studies, and global Chinese literature, film, and art. She has published in academic journals such as Science Fiction Studies, Configurations, Mediations, and positions. Her first book manuscript, The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861-1906 is published in June 2021 by Duke University Press as part of the ‘Sign, Storage, Transmission’ series.
This lecture is part of the Modern Chinese Humanities lecture series at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University. The series is organized by Professor David Der-wei Wang and Jie Li.
From Poverty Eradication to Common Prosperity, with Bill Bikales
Speaker: Bill Bikales, Principal and Lead Economist, Kunlun Associates
Bill is a Harvard-trained economist and Asia specialist and has worked at the most senior level of government in Mongolia on comprehensive fiscal reform and restructuring insolvent bank and power sectors, and at grass roots level in rural China on increasing poor women’s uptake of maternal health services.
This event is part of the Critical Issues Confronting China lecture series at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University.
Pandemics and Politics in Mao's China, with Fang Xiaoping
Speaker: Fang Xiaoping, Assistant Professor of History, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
During the 1961-1965 period, a cholera pandemic ravaged the southeastern coastal areas of Mao’s China which was already suffering from lingering starvation, class struggles, political campaigns and geopolitical challenges of the Cold War. This lecture focuses on the first global pandemic that had plagued China after 1949 and the resulting large-scale but clandestine emergency response. Based on rare archival documents and in-depth interviews with the ever-dwindling witnesses of the pandemic, this lecture examines the dynamics between disease and politics when the Communist Party was committed to restructuring society between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The speaker argues that disease and its control were not only affected by the social restructuring that began in the 1950s and strengthened since 1961, but also integral components of this. Quarantine, mass inoculation, epidemic surveillance and information control functionalised social control and political discipline, and therefore significantly contributed to the rise of an emergency disciplinary state, which exerted far-reaching impacts on its sociopolitical system and emergency response since Mao’s China, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xiaoping Fang is an assistant professor of history at the School of Humanities of the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He received his PhD in History from the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he majored in modern China and the history of science, technology and medicine in East Asia from 2002 to 2008. He studied and worked at the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, UK (2005-2006), the Asia Research Institute of the NUS (2008), the China Research Centre of the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (2009-2013), and the National Humanities Center, USA (2019-2020). His research interests focus on the history of medicine, health, and disease in twentieth-century China and the socio-political history of Mao’s China after 1949. He is the author of Barefoot Doctors and Western Medicine in China (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012) and China and the Cholera Pandemic: Restructuring Society under Mao (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021).
The lecture is part of the Modern China lecture at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, hosted by Professor Arunabh Ghosh.
Evolutionary Governance under Authoritarianism, with Kellee Tsai
Speaker: Kellee Tsai, Dean of Humanities and Social Science and Chair Professor of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The structural transformation of China over the past several decades has given rise to a fundamental tension between the pursuit of social stability and authoritarian resilience. On the one hand, repressive strategies enable the party-state to maintain its monopoly of political power (authoritarianism). On the other hand, the quality of governance is enhanced when the state adopts softer modes of engagement with society (resilience). This dilemma lies at the core of evolutionary governance under authoritarianism. This talk engages the vast “authoritarianism with adjectives” literature in the study of contemporary China and presents case studies of state-society interactions to offer insight into the circumstances under which the party-state exerts its coercive power versus engaging in more flexible responses or policy adaptations.
This event is part of the Critical Issues Confronting China lecture series at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard Univeristy.
How Great is the Risk of War over Taiwan? With Bonnie Glaser
There is an intense debate among experts over the likelihood of a near-term Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Senior US military officers have warned that a PRC military action could take place in the next six years. Such dire predictions are largely based on estimates of PLA capabilities. But even if China can seize and control Taiwan, will it do so? Assessing the potential for such an attack also requires an understanding of Xi Jinping’s strategy toward Taiwan and his risk/benefit calculus. The policies of the United States and Taiwan, and how they are viewed in Beijing, also need to be taken into account.
Speaker: Bonnie Glaser, Director, Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Bonnie S. Glaser is director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She was previously senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Glaser is concomitantly a nonresident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a senior associate with the Pacific Forum. For more than three decades, Ms. Glaser has worked at the intersection of Asia-Pacific geopolitics and U.S. policy.
Hit or miss quality
Two of every five recordings are filled with ‘umm’s and ‘ahh’s by awkward speakers, or low audio quality that cuts out intermittently (and occasionally even ramps up unexpectedly! Quite the shock). Fortunately, the problematic recordings are obvious within the first two minutes, so I know to stop listening right away.