The Wellington Conference on Contemporary China 2012

Wellington, New Zealand, 13th – 14th Aug 2012
Deadline: 30th May 2012

The Wellington Conference on Contemporary China is an annual event organized by the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre. Each year, this conference brings together leading China scholars to examine, debate and advance scholarship on issues of great significance in contemporary China studies.

The Chinese Model of Modern Economic Development and Social Transformation:

Theory and Debate

An International Conference at
Victoria University of Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand
13-14 August 2012

Sponsored and organised by

New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre
Victoria University of Wellington
School of Government
Peking University

China’s rapid economic growth and profound social transformation in the past decades has presented a significant challenge to theories of modern economic growth and social development. Modern social and economic development has come in different forms and with different dynamics. The Anglo-Saxon capitalism led the early forms, driven by efficiency, market and competitiveness, individual interests and profits. The Soviet model for much of the 20th century ran the opposite: equality, planning and management, and the collective good. At the same time, the Rhine model in continental Europe brought in the state in the shaping of the dynamics of market economy and competitive politics, seeking a balance between the public good and private interests. The East Asian model in the second half of the 20th century has seen a further leaning toward the role of the state and a more closely embedded relationship between state and society, and state and market. Then, there is China.
The debate over the Chinese model did not come until recently for the obvious reasons: most would agree today that China started its experience of modern economic development and social transformation with no clear vision, model or direction. However, more than 30 years of rapid economic growth and profound social change has given scholars sufficient confidence and interest to look into what has been driving the economic and social transformation at such a scale. Is the Chinese experience unique in modern national development? Is China’s experience a better working of competing forces and values in modern society, thus an improvement over earlier/other modern experiences? Or China’s experience shows a fundamental different rationale and/or a different approach to the organization of modern economy and society, something that goes back to its historical and cultural traditions? Or there is not really a model in China’s experience that speaks to social scientists – there is no consistency or coherence as informed by a central defining logic? Or the Chinese experience is really a compromise of competing values, interests and institutions in a developing society, bad or good from a particular ideological perspective?
We are inviting paper proposals that address these questions and indeed any aspect of the conference theme. The conference endeavours to bring together leading scholars on China and modern economic, social and political development to examine the fundamental nature of the Chinese experience of modern economic development and social transformation, assess whether there is a Chinese model of modern economic growth and social development, explain what that model might be, and analyse forces, dynamics and arrangements that have shaped China’s experience in a broad context of the experiences of modern development. The speakers are asked to present a paper on any aspect of the conference theme and we will produce a quality volume out of the conference papers by an international publisher and advance knowledge in this exciting area of theory and debate.
Those interested to give a paper at the conference shall forward their paper proposals (title and a 150-word abstract, a short bio with full contact details) to Professor Xiaoming Huang ( and Professor FU Jun (, co-chairs of the conference organizing committee, no later than 30 May, 2012. Registration details for the conference and acceptance letters will be sent shortly after that. For those who require a formal letter for travel and visa purposes, please send your proposal early and indicate accordingly.

Conference Chairs:

Professor Xiaoming HUANG, Director, New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington
Professor FU Jun, Dean, School of Government, Peking University

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