Overview of Projects


Oral History of China Studies in Scandinavia

This project is an expansion of a global project on Comparative Epistemology of China Studies, which has been conducted for more than a decade under the leadership of Prof. Chih-yu Shih. It documents the oral history of intellectuals who have played a significant role in shaping the development of sinology and China studies in Nordic countries, composing mainly of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, which have not yet been surveyed. This comparative epistemological approach allows us to understand how our research and knowledge of China are constructed in different countries. Most potential interviewees are at the senior stage of their career or life. Not only does this project have academic significance, it also seeks to preserve the heritage of the disciplines of sinology and China studies.

This project is sponsored by National Taiwan University, in cooperation with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Project outcomes

Chinese Outbound Tourism in Africa

The increase of Sino-African interactions in trade, aid and investments has attracted Chinese tourists to Africa. The Beijing Action Plan of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) outlines China’s cultural diplomacy in Africa, delineating a number of areas of cultural cooperation: education; press, publishing and media; and tourism and people-to-people exchange programs in academia and think tanks among young people, women and athletes. Though scholars of International relations (IR) have detected that tourism is one way of manifesting soft power, they do not feel comfortable nor ready to place the promotion of tourism into standard IR discourse. This is in contrast to scholars of tourism studies who have recognized the political nature of China’s outbound tourism, particularly to less-developed areas such as Africa. In this project, we interview governmental officials, travel agents and Chinese tourists in Africa to understand the nexus between China’s outbound tourism and soft power diplomacy.

This project is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, in cooperation with Dr. Niall Duggan from University College Cork, Ireland.

Central Asian Perspectives on the Rise of China

(In cooperation with Dr. Olaf Guenther and Dr. Soledad Tovar based at Palacky University, Czech Republic)

This project explores the Central Asian perspectives on the rise of China. Since the new post-Soviet states emerged in Central Asia in 1991, China has been seeking to foster relations with these new states diplomatically, politically, and economically. At the juncture of nearly two decades of interaction, analysts have observed China’s increasing engagement with Central Asia by incorporating it into its broader strategic game. While most of China’s initiatives in Central Asia appear to be based on goodwill and show an intention to peacefully and cooperatively integrate its neighbors into joint economic prosperity, there are nevertheless various concerns about the implications of China’s rising influence in this region. This project uses surveys to explore Central Asian perspectives on China.