China’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) represents a possible turning point in its economic policies from a growth-driven to a more balanced development strategy, paying serious attention to the country’s structural changes, equality and the population’s quality of life. China is aiming to become an all-round Xiaokang Society by 2020, meaning that everyone will be able to enjoy the comfortable lifestyle of a middle-income economy. By that time, China may overtake the US to be the world’s largest economy as well.
Serious questions remain regarding China in the context of the world economy. On the one hand, the world community is highly uncertain, even anxious, about how China will use its increasing influence as a world superpower. On the other hand, China itself is often frustrated by the Western mistrust of its intention to ‘develop peacefully‘. Internal developments in China’s trade, finance and monetary policies, food security, energy consumption, environmental protection and population movement can have a tremendous impact on the global economy, while changes and disruptions in the rest of the world could seriously destabilise China’s domestic dynamics or even threaten its sustainable growth.
Hence, today we have to analyse China’s development in a global context, and we have to take the China factor into account when considering global issues. China and the world need to strive towards a mutual understanding if we are to see a sustainable peace and development globally, but to do so, great challenges exist. How should the world understand the domestic and international challenges China now faces? How can the world reach an understanding of China’s values and core interests? How should China shoulder more global responsibilities as its power and capacity increase? How can China solve its domestic problems without having a negative impact on other countries? How can China take on more international obligations as it struggles to solve its own domestic problems? How should the world engage a China that is contributing to the global imbalances of trade and finance?
The fourth annual conference of the International Forum for Contemporary Chinese Studies (IFCCS4) invites scholars to address all these critical issues. Our main objectives are:
• To exchange views on the challenges that China faces and its relations with the international community;
• To facilitate critical a review of the experiences and lessons learned regarding China’s reform and development;
• To develop interdisciplinary communication, interaction and cooperation in the areas of China’s rise and international relations, low-carbon economy, internal and international migration, civil society and governance;
• To explore the methodological issues behind the development of Contemporary China Studies;
• To build collaborative networks in Contemporary China Studies.
Each of the previous IFCCS conferences, held at the Nottingham in 2008 and 2009 and in Xi’an in 2010, attracted around 200 delegates from 18 countries, including Chinese State Councillor LIU Yandong at the 2008 event and Mr MA Jiantang, Commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics of China at the 2010 event. The organiser of the IFCCS conference series is the University of Nottingham’s School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, a leading centre for research, teaching and policy analysis on contemporary China in Europe.
With the cooperation of the Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, the fourth annual conference of the IFCCS will be held on 11-13 September 2011 at the University of Nottingham, UK.