Is China Opening Up or Self-Isolating?

Prof. Zhang Zhenjiang

Monday, 4th June 2018, 5pm
Seminarraum 3, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5.1, 1090 Wien

Since the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s 18th Party Congress in 2012 and 12th China’s National People’s Congress in 2013, the new leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the Chinese government have reiterated that China is not only continuing, but also deepening the policy of “Reform and Opening-Up” which was proposed from 1978. However, some foreign observers seem to have a very different understanding and interpretation, among whom some believe that China is “self-isolating” from the international community. This talk will start with presenting various strands of evidence - government and society, politics and economy, discourse and implementation - to illustrate that China is indeed continuing and deepening the opening-up policy, at least from China’s perspective. Meanwhile, some explanations of “self-isolation” will be also provided. From a comparative perspective, the seminar will try to understand and explain the huge discrepancy between the existence of the “Opening-up” policy from China’s perspective and the “self-Isolating” policy from other people’s perspectives.

Dr. ZHANG Zhenjiang is currently a full Professor of International Relations and the Dean of the School of International Studies/Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China. He is also the Vice Chairman for China Southeast Asian Studies Association, the Vice Chairman of China Association for the Overseas Chinese History Studies, Vice Chairman of the Guangzhou Association for Political Science Studies, the Board Member of Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network (CA/AC), and the Expert Advisor to the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs, the State Council of PRC. His research interests cover the history and theory of international relations, American foreign policy, international relations in Asia-Pacific, transnational migration, Southeast Asian regionalism, Chinese diaspora and foreigners in China.

Africa Day Event

Date & time: Friday, May 25th 2018, 5pm
Venue: University of Vienna, Department of African Studies, Seminar Room 1 (Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5.1, 1090 Wien)

1. Prof. Adams Bodomo: Afro-optimism and Afro-futurism in the 21st Century

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 ushered in the 21st Century a decade earlier. New realignments, new nations, and new global power relations emerged all around the globe. It was, for instance, thought that the end of the Cold War marked by the fall of the Wall would usher in a period of marginalization of Africa since global powers would no longer be interested in wooing different actors in Africa as was the case during the East – West ideological wars of the 20th Century. However, towering above this Afro-pessimist subtext, Afro-optimist headlines launched Africa into the 21st Century. Socio-politically, more countries were becoming democracies; socio-economically, African countries began to feature among the top-10 fastest growing economies; and socioculturally, Nollywood and African fashion began to take the world by storm. As specific instances, the election of Barack Obama happened in 2008 – eventually thrusting a man of African descent into the White House. In 2010, South Africa pulled off an excellently organized football world cup. Shakira, the Colombian singer, capped this optimism with her song “Waka Waka – This Time for Africa”. In this Afro-optimistic constellation, a new or renewed form of film genre, afro-futurism, is with us. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, featuring an almost all-Black cast, tells a wonderful story about a powerful African country that has developed powerful technology based on a wonder mineral called vibranium that is involved in internal and external power struggles. It raises issues about how Africa might position itself in global power relations should it become a world power.

2. Grand Poetry Slam


Date & time: May 24th 2018, 5pm
Venue: University of Vienna, Department of African Studies, Seminar Room 1 (Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5.1, 1090 Wien)

Chair: Prof Dr Adams Bodomo

Find a copy of the speech here!

Brief summary of the presentation
Fifty years after independence Africa still remains in the periphery – great prospect notwithstanding the claim by some that the 21st century is here for the taking. Africa has many challenges and her success requires patience, persistence and perseverance. I am confident that Africa will one day take her pride of place at the dinner table of human development for three reasons: first, the encouraging signs of growth and democracy in Africa itself; second, the constructive role of business investment in expanding Africa’s economy; and third the emergence of public- private partnership in African business and social investing.

Prof. PLO Lumumba is an Associate Professor of Public Law, Founding Dean, Kabarak University School of Law and an Advocate of the High Courts of Kenya and Tanzania. He is a former Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya School of Law. He is the Founding Trustee of the African Institute for Leaders and Leadership (AILL) and founding Chairman of the Association of the Citizens Against Corruption (ACAC). He is a former lecturer at the University of Nairobi, the United States International University (Africa), Widener University USA (Nairobi Summer School). He is also a former Secretary of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and former Director of the defunct Kenya AntiCorruption Commission (KACC). He holds Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nairobi and a LL.D (Doctor of Laws) on the Law of the Sea from the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is also a holder of the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Fellow of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya FCPS (K), a Member of the Kenya Institute of Management (MKIM) and a Certified Mediator. Currently, Prof PLO Lumumba is actively involved in running his Foundation, Law Firm and Pan Africa activities.

Past Activities

  • 5 May 2018 (10am-5pm): Workshop Remittance and Beyond: The Future of African Diaspora Contributions to African Development
  • 20 March 2018 (5-7pm): What could Europeans learn from the culture of Sub-Saharan Africa? Ubuntu compared to W.E.I.R.D., Wilfried Echterhoff (Universität Wuppertal)
  • 19 March 2018 (5-7pm): Rooted and uprooted identities: How generations of Nigerian migrants imagine and experience life/belonging in the diaspora, Olayinka Makinwa (Oxford University)
  • 22 January 2018 (5-7pm): Diaspora Perspectives on the Joint Africa EU Strategic Partnership, Dr. Awil Mohamoud (African Diaspora Policy Centre, Den Haag)
  • 15 January 2018 (7-8pm): The Globalization of Foreign Investment in Africa: The Role of Europe, China, and India, Adams Bodomo (University of Vienna)
  • 15 January 2018 (8-9pm): Literature of Migration, Prof Mike Okyerefo (University of Ghana)
  • 21-22 December 2017: Preparatory meeting of the Organizing Committee of the African Institute for Remittances (AIR)
  • 31 October-2 November 2017: Workshop on Mabia Languages and Literatures Part 2 (University of Vienna)
  • 2 Oct 2017 (7pm): Questions and Answers on the Global African Community, Dr. Runoko Rashidi
  • 31 July-5 August 2017: Workshop on Mabia Languages and Literatures Part 1 (Winneba, part of the 30th West African Linguistics Conference WALC 2017)
  • 27 June 2017 (5pm): Talking Ubuntu: Towards a Relational Model of Public Discourse, Dr Leyla Tavernaro-Haidarian
  • 1 June 2017 (7pm): Strangers at the Gate: Africans in Poland, James Omolo
  • 24 May 2017 (6pm): Pan Africanism: Nkrumah's Legacy in Africa and Beyond. An Appraisal, Paul Okojie, AfriPoint (Hofmühlgasse 2, 1060 Wien)
  • 22 May 2017 (5pm): Cosmopolitanism, Diaspora, and Ethnicity in Todays's Accra, Ato Quayson (University of Toronto)
  • 2 - 4 May 2017: Workshop on Strategies for the Promotion of African Language Literature.
  • 2 March 2017 (5.30pm): GADS and Frontiers of Dialogue, #FOD17, Mastering Disruptive Innovation & Technology
  • 21 January 2017 (8.45am-4.30pm): African and Chinese Migration to Austria. Mock Conference by students from the Departments of African Studies and Sinology
  • 5 December 2016 (5pm): Prospects for Transnational Collaboration in Chinese-African Relations, Univ-Prof. Dr. Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel (Goethe University of Frankfurt, University of Vienna
  • 29 November 2016 (5pm): African Diaspora Contributions of African Studies: Towards a Knowledge-based African Society Model, Dr. Alain Nkoyock
  • 7 November 2016 (6pm): Stories of Gifts. Travelling between Africa and Europe, Dr. Martina Kopf
  • 6 June 2016 (5pm): Literature as a Vehicle for Intercultural Understanding, Prof. Dr. Christa Knellwolf King (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. Afro-Asiatisches Institut, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Wien
  • 25 May 2016 (4.30-7.30pm): Africa Day Celebrations. Theme of this year: Agenda 2063 - The Africa We Want. Contributions from Adams Bodomo, Prince Pallikunnel of PROSI - Austria, Louise Deininger, Martina Kopf. Poetry and other Literary Readings in the Theme of Africa and African Unity.
  • 23 May 2016 (5pm): Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces, Birgit Englert, Katharina Fritsch, Hanna Stepanik. Afro-Asiatisches Institut, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Wien
  • 9 May 2016 (5pm): Africans in Moscow, Anissa Strommer. Afro-Asiatisches Institut, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Wien
  • 25 April 2016 (5pm): Diaspora Linguistics. Probing the Contours of an Emerging Discipline in the Humanities, Adams Bodomo. Afro-Asiatisches Institut, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Wien
  • 11 April 2016 (4.30-7pm): Roundtable Discussion: Museums as Resources for Global African Disaspora Studies, Adams Bodomo, Oliver Rathkolb, Walter Sauer, Steven Engelsman, Nadja Haumberger. Weltmuseum, heldeplatz, 1010 Wien
  • 8 January 2016 (3-6pm): Two GADS talks. Mike Okyerefo (University of Ghana, GADS Fellow, University of Vienna): "I am Auatro-Ghanaian" - Citizenship and Belonging of Ghanaians in Austria. Wioleta Gierszewska (Institute of Political Science, University of Gdansk): Political Myths of the African Great Lakes Region.