Monthly Archives: January 2016

Distinguished Lecture Prof Qin Hui, Tsinghua, 10 Feb 6pm

Join us for the opening lecture in our 2016 Distinguished Lecture Series when prominent public intellectual Prof Qin Hui of Tsinghua University will consider “Chinese Culture and its Modernisation”.

Confucian Values and British Constitutional Monarchy:
Historical Routes of China’s Modernization

When “cultural differences” and “civilizational clashes” are popular discourses in our intellectual thinking today, it is hard to imagine Confucian values have any affinity with Western democratic values and institutions. When Chinese Confucian scholar/officials first encountered the West in the latter half of the 19th century, however, they identified Western institutions such as the British Constitutional Monarchy as very much representing Confucian values—in its true and authentic sense.

This lecture will highlight the enthusiastic embrace of Western democratic principles by a host of late Qing Confucian scholar/officials, from the first Chinese ambassador to Britain, Guo Songtao (1818-1891) to Zhang Shusheng (1824-1884), a powerful Qing official whose will was for China to adopt Western democratic policy as the “foundation” for a Confucian state. This group saw, for instance, the “loyalty” people expressed towards the Queen or King was most sincere precisely because the monarch was detached from power. Indeed, the decency of the British Constitutional Monarchy ignited the dormant “ancient Confucianism” in these late Qing Confucian scholar/officials who allied themselves with Western democratic practice to fight against the age-old enemy of Confucianism: the notorious and cruel dictator the First Emperor of Qin (260-210 BC).

But there was also a strong force in modern Chinese history that yearned for the wealth and power of the nation through a modern-day First Emperor facilitated by an alliance of the traditional “Legalist” thought and radical authoritarian ideology from the West. Confucianism, in this instance, was a notable exception.

ProfQinHuiProfessor Qin Hui 秦晖 is Professor of History at Tsinghua University, China. His research has covered several fields in economic history, social history and the history of ideas. He has published more than twenty books including Fields and Garden Poetry and Rhapsodies (田园诗与狂想曲), Ten Treatises on Tradition (传统十论), Out of the Imperial System (走出帝制), Common Baseline (共同的底线), Issues and Isms (问题与主义), Revelations from South Africa (南非的启示

Please note that this talk will take place in Chinese.

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Lecture Room 2, University of Edinburgh Business School, 29 Buccleuch Place, EH8 9JS


Edinburgh International Asia Conference 5 Feb 2016

Scotland’s first ever student-led Asia conference will take place on Friday February 5th 2016 at the University of Edinburgh’s Playfair Library. Registration is from 09.00 and the day will finish with a drinks reception from 17.30-18.30.

The conference theme “Will the 21st Century belong to Asia – Pioneer your future in Asia” will see up to 200 student delegates, contemplating a career in Asia, meet with professionals from a wide range of organisations. Students and businesses are invited to register via the EIAC website. Any business which wishes to send a representative can receive a sponsored place.  Please simply send us an email to giving us the name of the representative, their position and the company name and we will provide you with a booking code to use when registering on the site.

Keynote Speakers will be Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary and Lord Stephen Green, formerly Minister of State for Trade and Investment and Group Chairman of HSBC.  Guest speakers are the Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Sir Timothy O’Shea and Consul General of the PRC in Edinburgh, Mr Pan Xinchun.

In addition to the above there will be a number of workshops offered by businesses including:

Stewart Investors
Goldman Sachs
DLA Piper
China-Britain Business Council
JET Programme
Scottish Government
Financial Times
Trust Fund of Asian Development Bank

The organisers and sponsors are keen to attract a wide range of businesses to attend the event to take advantage of the opportunity to engage and connect with Scotland’s most ambitious international students from across the globe.

The  fundamental goal for the event is to launch an Asia-focused community aimed at fostering relationships between students and businesses.

For more information please download EIACprogramme-11,  visit the EIAC website.

This event has been sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, The Scottish Government and the Confucius Institute for Scotland.



Chinese Studies Seminar Series 27 Jan 16

This semester there are three Chinese Studies seminars planned the first of which will take on Wed 27th January

January 27 17:00-19.00
Dr Marjorie Dryburgh (University of Sheffield)
Visual Histories of a Northern City: In Search of a People’s Past

This talk will take place in the University of Edinburgh 50 George Square, Lecture RoomG.02.

The second talk of this semester is outlined below.  Further info on venue and time will be confirmed nearer the date.

Wednesday, March 2  Time and Venue TBC
Dr Sabrina Yu (Newcastle University)
Going Back to the Hometown: A New Root-searching Movement in Contemporary Chinese Independent Cinema

It has been critically recognised that there was a root-searching movement in the 1980s in China, immediately after the Cultural Revolution, firstly in literature, then in film, exemplified by some Fifth Generation Directors’ works. This paper aims to outline a new root-searching movement emerging in Chinese independent films in the past ten years or so. It will scrutinise this new trend within its social, cultural and filmic context in contemporary China. I argue that this new root-searching movement is different from the previous one in that root-searching is not just a subject matter or a nostalgic sentiment, but also manifested as new film aesthetics and fresh approaches to filmmaking, which have been subtly changing the landscape of contemporary Chinese cinema. This new trend will also be discussed in relation to the challenges that independent filmmaking in current China is facing, such as the lack of financial support, the restrictions on exhibition and distribution and the scarcity of audience.

The venue and time for the  final talk in this semester’s Chinese Studies  seminar series will take place on Wednesday, March 16.   It will be given by
Dr Liang Hongling (University of Glasgow) on “The Enlightenment, Sino-French Institute and Tel Quel: Looking at Three Moments in Sino-French Knowledge Dynamics”.