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. 

« Previous year | Next year »



  • China 1949: Year of Revolution
  • Graham Hutchings (University of Oxford China Centre and University of Nottingham)
  • This talk will explore something of the human drama at the heart of the 1949 story, and show how the communist conquest of mainland China in that year provides a key to understanding the behaviour of the Chinese state under Xi Jinping, more than 70 years later.

  • Why China Should Democratize (and sooner rather than later)
  • Professor Joseph Wong (Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto)
  • In this webinar, Professor Wong argues the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should consider democratizing sooner rather than later, to usher in democratic reform in China, and importantly, for the regime to maintain political power





  • Chinese Vaccine Diplomacy in Africa - A Global Perspective
  • Various speakers
  • China and Africa have long decades of interaction. The vaccine diplomacy is simply a counterpoint of 'vaccine wars' that have swept Europe itself - especially between the UK and EU. In Africa/China terms, this diplomacy is just one further aspect of old rivalries between China and the West - albeit conducted within the crisis of a pandemic - but also may be seen as a genuine Chinese outreach that echoes the nature of an earlier relationship between the two continents.



  • China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage
  • Didi Kirsten Tatlow (German Council on Foreign Relations; Projekt Sinopsis)
  • For decades, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state have operated a vast, intricate and highly successful system of science and technology transfer from overseas to “serve the country.” This seminar will present the findings of Didi Kirsten Tatlow's recent co-authored book explaining how the system works - and why it is becoming an existential challenge to democracies.

  • 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. 




  • China’s Quest for Environmental Sustainability: An International Business Perspective
  • Prof. Maoliang Bu (School of Business, Nanjing University; Hopkins-Nanjing Center)
  • This seminar will share Dr. Bu’s research on China’s environmental sustainability from the intersectional field of international business (IB), sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The presenter will reflect from broader perspectives (including history, geography, and political science) while focusing on the insights from international business.

  • The Making of China’s Wolf Warrior Diplomacy: A Book Talk with Peter Martin
  • Peter Martin, Defense Policy and Intelligence Reporter for Bloomberg News
  • Peter Martin joins us for a discussion on his book, "China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy," which charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats.

  • The Mass Biopolitics of Medicine in Socialist China
  • Ban Wang, William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies, Stanford University
  • This talk will discuss the films Spring Comes to Withered Trees (Kumu fengchun 枯木逢春, 1961) and Spring Shoots (Chunmiao春苗, 1975). 


  • Biden’s China Policy: Old Wine in New Bottles?
  • Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
  • Professor Andrew J. Nathan will discuss the elements of Biden's China strategy and assess what he is likely to achieve.

  • Carbon neutrality and life cycle thinking
  • Ming Xu, Professor and Director of China Programs, School for Environment and Sustainability Professor, University of Michigan
  • This talk will discuss the landscape of carbon neutrality commitments around the world including in China, and the roles that life cycle thinking plays in carbon neutrality.

  • Is the UK’s China policy fit for purpose?
  • Charles Parton, RUSI and the Council on Geostrategy
  • The title assumes that the UK has a China policy. Yet it is not immediately apparent that there is a successor to the 'Golden Era' policy of George Osborne.

  • From Netflix to iQiyi: As the World Turns, Serial Dramas in Virtual Circulation
  • Ying Zhu, City University of New York and Hong Kong Baptist University
  • This talk discusses the interplay between serial dramas and streaming services in China and the US, the two leading countries in content-production and circulation in the era of non-linear, non-synchronized, and subscription-based online consumption characterized by “binge” in an instantaneous and globalized streaming ecosystem.


  • AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future : A Panel Discussion
  • Various speakers
  • AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future presents the joint effort of AI expert Kai-Fu Lee and Speculative Fiction writer Chen Qiufan (A.K.A. Stanley Chan). It epitomizes the pioneering collaboration between scientists, leading technology company, and internationally acclaimed writer. In this event, Chen Qiufan, co-author for AI 2041, will join a panel discussion with another three panellists who work on Chinese science fiction and Chinese literature.

  • China in the World
  • Various Speakers
  • This conference will use the PechaKucha format to bring out the perceptions of China’s rise from countries that stretch from the eastern extremity of Asia, through the Middle East to the west coast of Africa.