Events Series

Critical Issues Confronting China Series

Critical Issues Confronting China is a weekly seminar series that was inaugurated in the fall of 2013. It is organized by Professor Ezra F. Vogel, Professor William Hsiao, and Dr. William Overholt and co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. The purpose of the series is to consider the complex issues China is presently facing and to view them in a comprehensive manner, including political, economic, and social perspectives. In addition, invited speakers will examine the issues in a broader cultural and historical setting and look at the range of choices Chinese leaders might make to respond to the challenges and opportunities they confront.



Critical Issues Summaries Booklet 2017-18

The U.S. and China: How Should We Assess the Policy of "Engagement?"

September 13, 2017
Speaker: Orville Schell, Asia Society

This is Sino Tap: My Life as a Chinese Rock Star

September 20, 2017
Speaker: Kaiser Kuo, Sinica Podcast/ChinaFile, former member of the band Tang Dynasty

The Progression of Repression: Online Censorship and Physical Repression in China Today

September 27, 2017
Speaker: Mary Gallagher, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan; Director, Center for Chinese Studies

China Policy Under Trump

October 4, 2017
Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Bader, Senior Fellow, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution

Behind the Headlines: Rebuilding Fiscal Foundations for Xi Jinping's Governance Reform

October 11, 2017
Speaker: Professor Christine Wong, Director, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Melbourne

China's Complex Health Care Reform

October 18, 2017
Speaker: Winnie Yip, Professor of Global Health Policy and Economics, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Director of the school-wide China Health Partnership

Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century

October 25, 2017
Speaker: Richard McGregor, author of Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century and The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers;  former Washington and Beijing Bureau Chief for The Financial Times

Global Leadership and its Discontents in China and the United States

November 1, 2017
Speaker: David Rank, former Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Beijing

Happiness in China: Defining, Seeking, Being Frustrated

November 15, 2017
Speaker: Richard Madsen, Director, Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China; Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego

Security Implications of a More Assertive China

November 29, 2017
Speaker: Mark Gillette, Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Policy, U.S. Pacific Command; formerly Defense Attaché-China, Defense Intelligence Agency

State-Business Relations Under Xi Jinping: The End of an Era?

December 6, 2017
Speaker: Meg Rithmire, F. Warren McFarlan Associate Professor of Business of Administration, Harvard Business School

China's Disaffected Insiders

December 13, 2017
Speaker: Kevin O’Brien, Walter and Elise Haas Professor of Asian Studies; Alann P. Bedford Professor of Asian Studies; Professor of Political Science; Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley



From 2013-2017 the Critical Issues Confronting China series was run by the Harvard University Asia Center. Below are the series summaries, published each year by the Asia Center.





Modern China History Series

Focusing on the post-1949 history of China, scholars present their latest research on a range of historical topics. Organized by Professor Arunabh Ghosh.


China Economy Series

This new lecture series aims to further the Fairbank Center community’s understanding of key influences in contemporary Chinese economics and business. Organized by Professor Meg Rithmire.

Fall 2017

China's Venture Capital Industry: Examining its Role in Funding Start-Ups

December 12, 2017
Speaker: Yasheng Huang, International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and Professor of Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management


Gender Studies Workshop

China scholars in various disciplines and time periods examine the significance of gender in social, cultural, economic, and political contexts. Organized by Center Associate, Professor Ellen Widmer, Wellesley College.


The Birth of Chinese Feminism

Rebecca E. Karl, New York University

Dorothy Ko, Barnard College

Lydia H. Liu, Columbia University

Ellen Rooney, Brown University

Ellen Widmer, Wellesley College

Rice Queens, Snakeheads, and Green Cards: HIV and Gay Male Subjectivity in NYC Chinatowns

Katherine A. Mason, Brown University

Gender and Hybridity: Shanghai Eurasians in the 1920s and 1930s

Emma Teng, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Political Reform as National Pastime: Staging Peking Opera’s New Tragic Heroines

Catherine Yeh, Boston University
Wai-yee Li, Harvard University

China Humanities Seminar

This seminar series addresses Chinese literature, history, philosophy, religion, art history, and the performing arts. Organized by Professor James Robson.

Fall 2017

Enchanting Huashan in the Global Spiritual Circuit: Intersecting Modes of Making Sacred Space

November 17, 2017

Speaker: David Palmer, University of Hong Kong; Elijah Siegler, College of Charleston

Huaben and the Mind

October 23, 2017
Speaker: Tina Lu, Yale University

Emergent Visions in Independent Chinese Cinema

The Emergent Visions series introduces compelling independent documentary films. The films evince a distinct cinematic vision and share a commitment to serve as witness to the rapid changes taking place in China today. Organized by Professor Jie Li.

Fall 2017

Film Screening of "Plastic China" and Q&A with Director Wang Jiuliang

November 28, 2017
Speaker: Wang Jiuliang, Director

Film Screening and In-Person Discussion with the Director - We the Workers

November 17, 2017
Speaker: Wen Hai, Director

New Noir: Chinese Crime Films

November 12, 2017


Taiwan Studies Workshop

Guest speakers address the politics, society, and history of Taiwan by bringing together scholars and practitioners who work closely with Taiwan and cross-strait issues. Organized by Center Associate, Professor Steven Goldstein, Smith College.


Taiwan’s Evolving Position on the South China Sea: Daylight Between Taiwan and China?

Lynn Kuok, Brookings Institution

Environment in Asia Series

The Fairbank Center sponsors a lecture series focusing on the myriad issues affecting Asia's changing environment.

Environment and Asia Event

Environment in Asia

Fairbank Center Lectures

The Fairbank Center additionally sponsors occasional presentations by scholars outside of our established lecture series.

Hainan Airlines and the Global Expansion of Chinese Businesses

Chen Feng, HNA Group; Sponsored by the Harvard China Fund

Film Screening: “Mr. Deng Goes to Washington”

Fu Hongxing

 The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962–1976

Frank Dikötter, University of Hong Kong

‘Not So Fast, Thucydides!’ Reasons to be Cheerful About the South China Sea

Bill Hayton, BBC News

Identifying with a ‘Rising China’? Overseas Chinese Student Nationalism

Rowena Xiaoqing He, Saint Michael’s College

The Limits of Chinese Influence in East Asia: Status Seeking and Rising Power Stagnation

Björn Jerdén, Stockholm University

Going Global, The ‘Wanda’ Way

Wang Jianlin, Dalian Wanda Group

John Birch, China, and the Cold War

Terry Lautz, Syracuse University

Influential Trends and Developments in the Study of Imperial China

Research Institute for Chinese Historical Studies

Beijing Normal University

A roundtable discussion with a delegation of scholars

New Research Findings on the Great Leap Forward Famine: Understanding Mao’s Great Famine through the Voices of Survivors in Anhui Province

Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., Brandeis University

Sun Feiyu, Beijing University

Lu Huilin, Beijing University

China’s Turning Point: The Ichigo Campaign of 1944

Hans van de Ven, University of Cambridge

Xi Jinping Briefing

Ezra Vogel, Mark Elliott, Meg Rithmire, Ya-Wen Lei, and William Kirby

The Free Flow of Communication Between High and Low: The Shenbao as Platform for Yangwu Discussions on Political Reform 1872–1895

Rudolf Wagner, University of Heidelberg

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies