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High-powered conference to contemplate China’s future

20 June 2014

High-powered conference to contemplate China’s future

Many of the world’s leading experts on China will gather in Wellington next month to discuss where this emerging superpower may be heading with its planned policy reforms.

The one-day conference ‘China at the Crossroads—What the Third Plenum means for China, New Zealand and the world’, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, will contemplate the radical policy reforms that were proposed by the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee at the 2013 Third Plenum.

“China has seen tremendous growth over the past three decades, which has presented New Zealand and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region with extraordinary new opportunities, but also poses important questions about the best way to manage China’s burgeoning influence,” says Peter Harris, Acting Director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre.

“A fuller understanding of the economic, political and social policies adopted by China will be vital for anyone engaging with China and the Chinese today.

“Many Chinese commentators are speculating that the Plenum may be as significant as the famous 1978 Plenum that marked the end of the Maoist era and led to a far-reaching reform process that has since transformed China both domestically and internationally. Our conference will take a critical look at China’s proposed reforms.”

The day will include three chaired panel discussions. Topics will range from key domestic policy reforms addressed by the Third Plenum, both in the political and social spheres and with relation to economic and financial affairs, to the implications of Plenum decisions for China’s relations with New Zealand, the Asia Pacific region and the world.

There will also be speeches by Minister of Trade, the Hon Tim Groser and the Hon Phil Goff, Labour Party Spokesperson on Trade and Defence. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor David Shambaugh from George Washington University, Washington DC, an internationally acclaimed commentator on contemporary China, who will question whether China has done enough to secure its future.

Conference details
What: China at the Crossroads—What the Third Plenum means for China, New Zealand and the world
When: 2 July 2014, 9am–5.30pm
Where: Council Chamber, Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington
Cost: $125 incl GST


• Professor David Shambaugh from George Washington University, Washington DC, an internationally acclaimed commentator on contemporary China.
Topic: New policies – Has China done enough to secure its future? China at the crossroads.
• Professor Zhai Kun, Director of the Institute of World Political Studies at China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations, China’s leading think tank on international affairs
Topic: China’s reforms—the impact on New Zealand.
• Professor Cai Fang, Director of the Institute of Demography and Labor Economics at CASS (China Academy of Social Sciences) and one of China’s best-known economists
Topic: Urbanisation and the growing middle class market.
• Professor Kerry Brown, head of the China Centre at the University of Sydney and a widely-praised writer on contemporary Chinese politics and society
Topic: Corruption and Communist Party ethics in China.
• Professor Christine Wong, a respected economist and former professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford, now head of the China Centre at the University of Melbourne
Topic: Banks, financial reform and China’s local government debt problem.
• Professor Jonathan Unger, the widely-admired co-editor of the China Journal and director of the Contemporary China Centre at the Australian National University
Topic: Managing rural China and Chinese agricultural development.
• Professor Anita Chan, a leading scholar on labour issues, co-editor of the China Journal, and a professor at the China Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney
Topic: Labour, labour conditions and labour rights in China and Vietnam.
• Professor Song Ligang, a respected specialist on the Chinese economy, now at the Australian National University
Topic: Is China getting too polluted to cope?


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