The Lost Generation: “Barefoot Doctors” in Post-Reform China

Memo #309

By Jiong Tu – jt457 [at]

Jiong Tu_photoChina’s barefoot doctor system is known for having provided inexpensive and accessible medical care to its large rural population in the 1970s. But the system became bankrupt with the advent of market reforms in the 1980s and many barefoot doctors either became private doctors or gave up medical practice… Continue reading

Security or Nationalism? Making Sense of Tibetan Resistance against China

Memo #247

By Tsering Topgyal – t.topgyal [at]

Scholarship on the Sino-Tibetan conflict maintains a primarily binary representation of the Chinese as security-driven and the Tibetans as ethno-nationalistic. In reality, for Tibetans it is the sense of identity security or insecurity (that is, the relative prospects for the survival and reproduction of their identity) that informs and explains… Continue reading

China’s Turn Against Law Fuels Rising Social Unrest

Memo #246

By Carl Minzner – cminzner [at]

Over the past decade, central Chinese leaders have changed course with regard to legal reforms they had pursued in the late twentieth century. This has eroded earlier state progress towards improving citizens’ access to justice, a reality that is fanning the flames of social unrest.

Over the… Continue reading

Enter the “Chinese Dream”

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #244

By Grégoire Legault – gregoire.legault [at]

After decades of political and socio-economic turmoil China is finally able to dream again. It is now prosperous and powerful enough to confront a new problem: how it should use its wealth and power towards social, environmental and political… Continue reading

Islamic Roots of Identity in Xinjiang, China

Memo #188 – Among the numerous cultural restrictions aimed at China’s Uyghur population, the Chinese government focuses particularly intently on control of religious activities. This past Ramadan saw an increase in state-imposed restrictions on ordinary Islamic practices among the Uyghurs. Since Beijing proclaims support for a distinct Uyghur identity while suppressing Islamic practices, it is worth reconsidering the historical connections between identity and Islam among the Uyghurs and their ancestors. Continue reading

Asia in the World (Video Interview with Dr. Yves Tiberghien)

Memo #186 (Video) – Europeans, particularly the French are terrified about the rise of China. This is the first book that presents China not as an ugly, totalitarian, and repressive state, but as a multifaceted player. China is fragmented and pluralistic and can offer a diverse portfolio to the world. It is a partner that can engage in social and collaborative processes like the G20. Continue reading

China: Two Faces of Social Protest

Memo #183 – There was a dramatic rise of social protests in China in the 1990s. Since, popular contention has become a main form of interest articulation for social groups that suffered as a result of reform era government policies. While the accommodation of social protests has contributed to authoritarian resilience in China, it has also exposed fundamental weaknesses in the Chinese political system. Continue reading

Interview with Ezra Vogel on Deng Xiaoping’s Role in International Relations (Part 3/3)

Memo #123 – In this final instalment of our interview with Ezra Vogel, he turns first to the legacy of Deng Xiaoping. While Deng’s role in the suppression of popular protest at Tiananmen Square in 1989 will never be forgotten, the longer view will dwell on Deng as the man who changed China and steered the transformation that formed the China we see today. Professor Vogel then turns to Deng’s role in international relations, beginning with the predominant relationship with the US but also noting Canada’s special role in the 1970s and enduring relationship. Finally, Professor Vogel reflects on how he came to write this biography, and much of his public work, in a style that combines scholarship and accessibility. Continue reading

Interview with Ezra Vogel on Deng Xiaoping and Chinese Politics (Part 2/3)

Memo #121 – In part two of our interview with Ezra Vogel, he discusses the domestic politics of Deng’s career. Professor Vogel outlines the forces that shaped Deng as a leader, from his experiences with senior Chinese communists in Europe in the 1920s to Deng’s own “years in the wilderness” in the Cultural Revolution. Loyalty for Deng Xiaoping was based on comradeship over personal friendship – his primary loyalty was to the movement and to its supreme leader, Mao Zedong. Continue reading

Interview with Ezra Vogel on Writing Deng Xiaoping’s Biography (Part 1/3)

Memo #119 – Ezra Vogel is a commanding figure in scholarship on East Asia and American-East Asian relations. His major books include Canton Under Communism, Japan as Number One, and Living with China. Henry Ford II Research Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus at Harvard University, he has published a monumental biography, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. Continue reading