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Contemporary China

All eyes are on China as it continues its rapid development and evolution into a global power. But what impact is all this having on China’s society, politics and economy? HKU scholars have adopted a broad remit to better understand the changes underway in the country.

The Contemporary China SRT covers a vast topic, as vast as China itself. Yet it offers a gateway to understanding the deeper, broader currents of change occurring on the Mainland.

The SRT began in 2007 and cast its net wide to embrace a wide variety of research from the social sciences. Now it is consolidating its focus, bringing scholars with similar research interests closer together to promote greater collaboration and develop new avenues for understanding China. Three key groupings have been established based on existing strengths and potential impact:

  • Urban development, under which there are specialisations in urban development in the Pearl River Delta, urban governance, and financing urbanisation.
  • Social transformation, which encompasses poverty, social exclusion and security issues.
  • China and the globalising world, in particular China's place in the region and the global system with a particular focus on security, trade, and bilateral relations with key powers such as the US, Japan and Southeast Asia.

The SRT has a bottom-up strategy to encourage researchers to initiate new projects, symposia, workshops and other activities. One new initiative is the Contemporary China Studies Public Lecture in which leading scholars from around the world give lectures in Hong Kong on such topics as Chinese governance in an era of rising expectations, Chinese capital in Africa, and the implications of immorality in today's China.

Participants in the Contemporary China SRT come from the Faculties of Architecture, Business and Economics, Education, Law, and Social Sciences.

Contemporary China

HKU has a cadre of China experts, recognition for its research on contemporary China, and the advantages of its location. Hong Kong is part of China but separate from the Mainland, which means we have proximity, cultural affinity and a ready availability of Chinese-language materials.

Professor J.P. Burns, Convenor



Professor J.P. Burns (Social Sciences)


Professor A.G.O. Yeh (Urban Planning & Design)