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China Research Centre, University of Technology Sydney




About us

The China Research Centre is one of Australia’s leading institutions for the study of contemporary China. We analyse the diversity and complexity of China’s transformation and its impact locally and globally, producing knowledge of contemporary China that is interdisciplinary, theoretically engaged and of relevance to Australian society and the international community.

As a premier China Studies Research Centre in Australia offering interdisciplinary expertise on China the Centre comprises Members with backgrounds in Politics, International Studies, Sociology, History, Geography, Anthropology, Media Studies, Linguistics, Business and IT and Law. Current and former centre members have come from around the world to join UTS, including Australia, Mexico, Italy, Singapore, the United States, and China. They bring their myriad multi-lingual skills and international networks to inform their China research.

China Research Centre - leading China Studies excellence

In recognition of its excellence, the Centre received AU$ 10 million from the UTS Council as part of the University’s Research Investment Strategy in 2008. Since then, the Centre has formed strategic partnerships with leading China research centres around the world and enhanced its research profile considerably.

In 2012 the Centre welcomed the establishment of its China Advisory Board. Comprised of pre-eminent leaders from business, industry and the wider community, the Board provides expert strategic advice for enhancing the Centre’s research profile, reputation and explore potential sources of funding to support research capacity.

The CRC aims to become a leading China Studies Centre internationally. To this end, we are keen to foster new and developing relationships with research, industry and business partners. We also welcome donation and sponsorship of professorial chairs, professorships, postdoctoral fellowships and postgraduate research scholarships.

The Centre offers a platform for community, business, industry and government to interact with leading China researchers; to gain benefit from their interdisciplinary expertise on issues related to contemporary China; and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this field.

Strategic research themes include:

  • Cities and Urban Cultural Economy
  • Media and Communication
  • HealthChina
  • Politics
  • Government in China

Core Research Groups

1. Cities and the Urban Cultural Economy

China’s economic growth in is inseparable from urbanization. Since the 1980s, China has established and built hundreds of new cities, making urban change in China unprecedented in scale and scope. The vast new of it all – places, industries, skyscrapers, housing and ways of doing and living challenges the imagination. It also makes research on current change in China all the more important.

The Group specializes in current and historical research on China’s major cities—including Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin, in addition to Hong Kong, Taiwan and ‘Greater China’ – urban worlds of the Chinese overseas.

Research topics range from historic and contemporary urban and regional plans to infrastructure development and financing, consumerism, urban design, housing and housing rights and the politics of art and culture. The Group develops innovative approaches and questions, and also addresses complex issues about the role of the Communist Party and its meta-governance in China’s capitalist transformation.

Current and past projects:

  • Sydney-Shanghai Research Platform 
  • Cultural Production and Democracy in Hong Kong 
  • Consumer Cultural Economy 
  • Globalisation, Beautification and Urban Transformation in Tianjin
  • Governance and Regionality 
  • Markets as sites of  place making, flows, social and affective connection and innovation

2. Chinese Media and Communication Program

This Program straddles China studies and media studies, and is dedicated to bridging the gap between traditional disciplines such as anthropology, geography, political science, and the more recently established discipline of media/communication studies.

It concerns itself with a wide range of important issues in China, including media and political/social stability; changing media and communication practices in the context of industrialization, urbanization, and migration; and the relationship between media and formation of new social identities along the line of ethnicity, gender, class, and places. And of course, the critical analyses of media and communication content, practices, and contexts extended to both China and the Chinese diasporic Community.

 Current and past projects:

  • The role of lifestyle television in transforming culture, citizenship and selfhood: Australia, China, Taiwan, Singapore and India
  • China's Rural Migrant Workers: Social Transition and Cultural Practice
  • Diasporic Chinese Media in Australia
  • Unequal China project
  • Social Change and the Cultural Politics of Media in Rural, Ethnic China
  • Nong Jia Le: Peasant Family Happiness
  • The Influence of Internet Commentary on China's Media and Public Policy
  • The Rise and effect of China's Micro-blogs on China's Politics and Society

3. China Health

With the advent of globalisation and the attendant changes in the landscape of global pubic health, we can no longer take it for granted that a state’s public health is a within-the-border domestic issue that has no impact on other countries. As the most populous rising power, China is expected by the international community to play a bigger and more active role in global health management. Since the SARS outbreak of 2002-03, China’s health situation and its global responsibilities have been put under global attention.

On the one hand, we have witnessed the deficiency and inequalities of China’s healthcare system. On the other, since the turn of this century, Beijing has embraced multilateralism in health governance and global health governance. How can we understand and account for China’s changing health management and its contributions towards meeting challenges of public health?

The ChinaHealth Group conducts inter-disciplinary research on China’s public health system. They explore national and global impacts of the system and the role of the country in confronting the (re-)emerging challenges of global health.

Current and past projects:

  • China global health governance, health diplomacy and international AID
  • Rural medicine—global pandemics, the politics of reproduction, and gender
  • China’s health care system

4. Chinese Labour

Now that China has emerged as a world power, is the world's factory and has the biggest manufacturing workforce in the world it is important to understand Chinese labour. The China Research Centre has a number of research projects that study Chinese migrant workers, Chinese state workers, Chinese enterprises, work conditions, the Chinese trade union, non-government organizations, workers' class consciousness, workplace occupational health and safety, the production process, lean production in China's auto industry and enterprise culture. In addition, the Centre also engages in comparative labour research projects that include Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Japan and Germany, in the belief that under globalization Chinese labour situation is not unique and that comparative study can highlight the important issues and enhance analytical power. CSR Staff members and students working in these areas engage in collaborative projects with various scholars and academic institutions around the world, especially with those in China.

Current and past projects:

  • Changing nature of China's enterprise culture
  • Taiwanese Businesses, the Global Production Chain and Corporate Social Responsibility: China and Vietnam compared
  • Workplace trade union democratic elections in Asian-funded factories in China
  • China's Workers Under Assault: The Exploitation of Labor in a Globalizing Economy  (published 2001)
  • Walmart in China (2011), a study on the impact on workers and business management practices of the global supply chain  when imported across cultures into China.

5. Politics       

China’s grand transformation from a command economy to a market economy is accompanied by the profound cultural and political changes, albeit with different paces and rhythms. Both the increasingly intensive “mass incidents” in the society and the increasing stronger yearning for political reform from within the party-state indicate that China is approaching a major political turning point.

Is China stable? How is Chinese political system coping with the rapid economic and social changes. Will China democratise? Is China ready for a democratic transition? What are the implications of the change of leadership during and after the 18th Party Congress? How do Chinese domestic politics and foreign policies influence the world order? These are key issues confronting the public, the governments and particularly China scholars in the world.

During 2012, CRC researchers with expertise in Chinese politics will focus on the key political and intellectual trends in China.

Current and past projects:

  • The Role of Rights Lawyers in the Rights Defence Movement and Aspirations for Political Reform in China
  • Theory and Practice of Social Democracy in China
  • Teaching and Learning Citizenship in rural Chinese Schools 
  • Pressing Back: The Struggle for Control Over China's Journalists 


6. Government in China  

The government in China research group examines processes of social change in China and associated changes in the nature of government, understood as the ‘conduct of conduct’. We ask questions about the ‘how’ of governing in China. How are specific individuals and aspects of society governed? What new regimes and practices of self-government and social government are emerging in China today? How are new professionals and associations governing, managing and providing for an increasingly dynamic and heterogeneous population?

Current and past Projects:

  • Philanthropy, Celebrity and Governance in the PRC
  • Creating a Philanthropic Citizenry in the PRC: Children’s Textbooks and Television Programs on Compassion and Charity
  • Being Famous in China: Celebrities, Heroes and Public Figures
  • Governing Prostitution in the PRC
  • China’s 100 Per Cent Condom Use Programme: Sex Work and Sexual Health
  • Prostitution Scandals in China, Media, Policing and Society