SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Forthcoming Events

The China Institute coordinates activities at SOAS, University of London that relate to the study of China.  The events bring together academic staff and students with diverse interests and backgrounds.

For further information contact Li-Sa Whittington at the Institute on


Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on the website is as accurate as possible. We cannot guarantee, however, that subsequent changes have not been made. 

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  • Few Strings Attached: Why Countries Join the Belt and Road Initiative
  • Prof. M. Taylor Fravel (Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Although the motives for China’s development of the Belt and Road Initiative have been well studied, scholars have yet to examine why partner states seek to join in the first place. Professor Fravel will talk about his paper, which seeks to fill this gap by focusing on the memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that states sign with China to formally join BRI.


  • The China Debate 2021: China will Sustain its Economic Rise
  • Various speakers
  • Will China be able to sustain its economic rise? Will the economic miracle that has defined China’s development during the last four decades be a sufficient basis from which to lift it out of the Middle-Income Trap? Will the changes in the international environment unleashed by Xi’s assertive foreign policy and the US-China Trade War prove to be insurmountable obstacles? These are a few of the questions which this debate will address.

  • Recovering China’s Maritime History
  • Valerie Hansen (Stanley Woodward Professor of History, Yale University)
  • China’s long history as a powerful agrarian state has distracted many from its very real engagement with the ocean. Its contacts with South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa date back to the year 1000 and even before.

  • The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong
  • Michael C. Davis (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; New York University and Jindal Global University) and Nathan Law (Hong Kong democratic activist and former legislator)
  • This panel discussion will trace how Hong Kong got to where it is today, what the key challenges are, and what roles supporters of democracy in Hong Kong or elsewhere can play in the foreseeable future.

  • How Fangyan became Dialects: A history of language and nationalism in China
  • Gina Anne Tam (Trinity University - San Antonio, Texas)
  • What does it mean to speak the Chinese language? The most common answer to this question would be Mandarin, the national language of the People’s Republic of China. Yet within China, the languages spoken on the streets of China's cities and towns are often not its national language.



  • Chinese neostatist thinkers and the restructuring of Hong Kong
  • Prof. Sebastian Veg (EHESS)
  • The recent changes to Hong Kong’s constitutional framework, including the 2020 National Security Law and the 2021 Electoral Reform, are not simply an adjustment, but can be seen as a comprehensive “restructuring”. What are the ideas underpinning these changes and do they hold significance beyond Hong Kong?

  • The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy
  • Nigel Inkster (International Institute for Strategic Studies and SOAS University of London)
  • The USA and China have become locked in a struggle for control of the commanding heights of advanced technologies. This struggle has been a major factor in what has become known as The Great Decoupling, a progressive technology disengagement that has major economic and political implications for the entire planet.