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China, the Chinese and the World: Trajectories of Change

An Analytical Forum

Participant Biographies and Video Links

Timothy CheekTimothy Cheek is professor of history, Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research, and director of the Centre for Chinese Research at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the recent history of China, especially the role of Chinese intellectuals in the 20th century and the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

Cheek has shifted from “working on China” to “working with China,” collaborating with Chinese colleagues to explore avenues of communication across the social-cultural divide in order to address problems of global change and particularly the environment.

He has edited, translated, and written 11 books, including: Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912–1949 (2012), A Critical Introduction to Mao (2010), China since 1989: Living with Reform (2006), Mao Zedong and China's Revolutions: A Brief History with Documents (2002).

Video: TVO Roundtable on China's Changing Leadership, April 5, 2012

Xinyuan DaiXinyuan Dai is associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book International Institutions and National Policies (2007) discusses how the proliferation of international institutions and their impact has become a central issue in international relations.

She presents an alternative framework in which international institutions influence national policies indirectly, utilizing non-state actors (NGOs, social movements) and empowering domestic constituencies. In this way, even weak international institutions that lack “carrots and sticks” may have powerful effects on states. Published in journals such as Global Environmental Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Organization, World Politics, and Social Networks, she received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship in 2008. She holds an MA from Peking University and a PhD from the University of Chicago.

Gady EpsteinGady Epstein has been the China correspondent for The Economist since 2011. Previously, he served as Beijing bureau chief for Forbes for four years, opening the magazine's Beijing office in 2007. He has covered China and Asia, with a sub-specialty in North Korea, since 2002, first as Beijing bureau chief and then as international projects reporter for the Baltimore Sun, where he won a Gerald Loeb Award for coauthoring a series on globalization and also reported on state and city government. Epstein has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight, BBC World Service, Sky News, and American cable news channels. A graduate of Harvard College, he was a 2006–07 recipient of the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Recent Economist article including video: “China’s internet: A giant cage”


Andrew EricksonAndrew Erickson is associate in research at the John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Among his most recent books are China’s Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles (2011) and China, the United States, and 21st-Century Sea Power: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership (2010). His research has appeared in Asian Security, Journal of Strategic Studies, and Joint Force Quarterly, among other journals.  

Video: China Maritime Studies Institute lecture series: “China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM)”



Mary GallagherMary Gallagher is the director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan and a faculty associate at the Center for Comparative Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research. Her books include From Iron-rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, State and Workers in a Changing China (with Sarosh Kuruvilla and Ching Kwan Lee, 2011), Chinese Justice (coedited with Margaret Woo, 2011), and Contagious Capitalism: The Politics of Labor in China (2005).

With research interests in Chinese politics, comparative politics of transitional and developing states, and law and society, her empirical research in China explores relationships between capitalism, law, and democracy. The underlying question driving her work is whether the development of markets is linked to the sequential development of democratic politics and legal rationality. Gallagher taught at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing and was a Fulbright Research Scholar at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai. Her PhD is from Princeton University.

Video: University of Michigan International Institute, Symposium on “New Media/Social Change: Implications for Area Studies” Panel Discussion

John KammJohn Kamm, a US businessman and human rights campaigner active in China since 1972, is the founder and executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees in China. He was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Best Global Practices Award by President Bill Clinton in 1997, as well as the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by President George W. Bush in 2001. The first businessman so honored, Kamm received a 2004 MacArthur Fellowship for “designing and implementing an original approach to freeing prisoners of conscience in China.”

Since his first intervention on behalf of a Chinese prisoner in 1990, Kamm has made more than 100 trips to China to engage the government in a dialogue on human rights, focusing on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons. In addition to visiting Chinese prisons, he has submitted requests for information on more than 1,000 prisoners. According to The New York Times, “No other person or organization in the world, including the State Department, has helped more Chinese prisoners.”

Kamm was the Hong Kong correspondent and representative of the National Council for US-China Trade (1975–79) and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (1990). He managed Occidental Chemical Company’s business in China and the Far East (1986–91). He holds a BA from Princeton University and an MA from Harvard University.

Video: Furman University Riley Institute, Conference on “Human Rights in China” Panel Discussion

Benjamin LiebmanBenjamin Liebman is the Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and the director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at Columbia Law School. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars of contemporary Chinese law. His recent publications include “Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution in China,” Columbia Law Review (2013); “Professionals and Populists: The Paradoxes of China’s Legal Reforms,” in China beyond the Headlines, 3rd ed., ed. Timothy Weston and Lionel Jensen (2012); “Toward Competitive Supervision? The Media and the Courts,” China Quarterly (Dec. 2011); and “A Return to Populist Legality? Historical Legacies and Legal Reform,” in Mao’s Invisible Hand, ed. Elizabeth Perry and Sebastian Heilmann (2011).

Liebman holds a BA in Chinese from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Justice David Souter of the US Supreme Court. Afterward, he spent two years in practice as a lawyer with the London office of the international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, where his practice focused on international securities transactions and included significant periods working in the firm’s Beijing office.

Video: BU Center for the Study of Asia, Conference on “Global Education Strategies: US-China School Exchanges” Keynote Speech

Tim OakesTimothy Oakes is professor of geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the Center for Asian Studies. He also serves as visiting professor at Guizhou Minzu University in China and at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is currently completing a book with Carolyn Cartier on state territoriality in China’s peripheral regions.

His recent publications include “Looking Out to Look In: The Use of the Periphery in China’s Geopolitical Narratives,” in Eurasian Geography and Economics (2012), Real Tourism: Practice, Care, and Politics in Contemporary Travel Culture (coedited with Claudio Minca, 2011), Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State (coedited with Donald Sutton, 2010), and “Heritage as Improvement: Cultural Display and Contested Governance in Rural China,” forthcoming in Modern China


Elizabeth PerryElizabeth Perry is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. A comparativist with special expertise in the politics of China, she is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. She sits on the editorial boards of nearly a dozen major scholarly journals, holds honorary professorships at six Chinese universities, and has served as the president of the Association for Asian Studies. Perry’s research focuses on popular protest and grassroots politics in modern and contemporary China.

Her books include: Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition (2012); Chinese Society: Change, Conflict, and Resistance (3rd ed., coedited, 2010); Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China (2002); and Silence and Voice in the Study of Contentious Politics (2001). Her essay, “Chinese Conceptions of Rights” (2008), won the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association.

Video: Brown University Watson Institute Talk: “Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition”

Judy ShapiroJudith Shapiro is director of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development Program in the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC, where she is also on the faculty of the Global Environmental Politics Program. Her books include China’s Environmental Challenges (2012), Mao’s War against Nature (2001) and a celebrated memoir of the Cultural Revolution, Son of the Revolution (1983), as well as other books on China. She was one of the first Americans to live in China after US-China relations were normalized in 1979, teaching English at the Hunan Teachers’ College in Changsha, China. She has also taught at Villanova, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Aveiro (Portugal), and the Southwest Agricultural University in Chongqing, China.

Radio Free Asia video: Shapiro discusses the difficulties China faces in dealing with its pollution problems.


Elanah UretskyElanah Uretsky is assistant professor of global health and international affairs at The George Washington University. An expert on masculinity, male sexuality, and HIV/AIDS in China, she has conducted extensive research on the China/Burma border.

Uretsky has advised international public health organizations responding to the HIV epidemic in Yunnan Province as well as trained researchers from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control who work on HIV/AIDS. She also partnered with a local performing artist in Western Yunnan Province to create an HIV prevention program targeted at local ethnic minority communities.

Currently working on the book manuscript “Mixing Business with Pleasure: The Politics of Work, Sex, and HIV in Post-Mao China,” she is interested in expanding her work to examine how male networking practices in urban China expose men to chronic disease. She is also a fellow of the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on United States-China Relations

Jeffrey WasserstromJeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is editor of the flagship Journal of Asian Studies, coeditor of the Asia section of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and an associate fellow at the Asia Society.

With a focus on modern China and protest, his recent books include Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (coedited, 2012) and China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010, updated edition forthcoming).  He has contributed commentaries and reviews to many periodicals, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TimeNewsweek, New Left Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Nation, and Dissent.  He blogs for venues such as the Huffington Post and was a cofounder of the China Beat group blog (2008–12).

A frequent traveler to China, Wasserstrom has been interviewed about Chinese affairs by NPR, the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. He served as a consultant for two award-winning documentaries by the Long Bow Group, including The Gate of Heavenly Peace, a film about the Tiananmen protests that aired on the PBS Frontline series. He tweets regularly @jwassers.

Asia Society video: Wasserstrom weighs in on China and Japan’s dispute over islands in the East China Sea

Timothy WestonTimothy Weston is associate professor of history and associate director of the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His scholarly research interests focus on twentieth and twenty first century China and in particular in the intersections between intellectual, political-cultural, and social history. He is currently doing research on print journalism and journalists in early twentieth century China.

He is the author or editor/coeditor of China In and Beyond the Headlines (2012), China's Transformations: The Stories beyond the Headlines (2007), and The Power of Position: Beijing University, Intellectuals and Chinese Political Culture, 1898–1929 (2004). He has also published essays in Modern China, Pacific Affairs, Twentieth-Century China, and The Journal of Contemporary China.

He is also a fellow of the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Xiao QiangXiao Qiang is the founder and chief editor of China Digital Times, a bilingual China news website that he founded in 2003 to aggregate, organize, and recommend online information from and about China using cutting-edge technologies.

A theoretical physicist by training, Xiao studied at the University of Science and Technology of China and entered the PhD program in astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame in 1986. He became a full-time human rights activist after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, serving as the executive director of the New York-based NGO Human Rights in China (1991–2002) and vice-chairman of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy. In 2001 Xiao received a MacArthur Fellowship and is profiled in the book Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better (2003).

In 2006, he helped initiate the Open Net Consensus forum to develop global principles on freedom of expression and privacy. The effort included global Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo as well as universities, human and civil rights organizations, and investors and led to the 2008 launch of the Global Network Initiative.

Xiao’s current research focuses on measuring Chinese state censorship and control of the Internet, mapping online political discourse, and building an automated aggregator of the marginalized, censored, or blocked content in the Chinese blogosphere.

Currently adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Xiao teaches Participatory Media/Collective Action and Blogging China courses at the School of Information and the Graduate School of Journalism. He is also principal investigator at Berkeley Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary, faculty-student research group focusing on the intersection of digital media, Internet freedom, and cyberactivism.

World Movement for Democracy video: An interview at the World Press Freedom Day Event (Washington, DC, May 2011)

University of Notre Dame Participant Videos

Susan Blum
Chair and Professor of Anthropology
University of Notre Dame video: “The 2008 Olympics - China on Parade”

Lionel Jensen
Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures
University of Notre Dame video: ND Expert: 2008 Olympics




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