The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Assessing 40 Years of Reform and Opening in China

23 - 25 January 2018

2018 marked the fortieth anniversary of the initiation of China’s ‘Reform and Opening’ period. Over these four decades the country has seen economic, social and cultural transformation on a scale and at a speed unprecedented in human history.

Over these four decades the country has seen economic, social and cultural transformation on a scale and at a speed unprecedented in human history. The Chinese government can rightfully claim major achievements including decades of double-digit economic growth, widespread poverty reduction, improvement in the material wellbeing of hundreds of millions of citizens, and the construction of advanced physical and digital infrastructure connecting people across the country’s vast territory. At the same time, however, the liberalisation of the economy and the focus on economic growth at all costs has resulted in environmental catastrophe and deepening inequality—creating a situation of precarity for those not able to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the shifting socioeconomic landscape. By bringing together scholars from China, Europe and elsewhere, this event aims to provide a much needed forum to reflect on, and assess, the legacy of China’s four decades of reforms from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The conference was organised by the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies with funding received from the Birgit Rausing Language Foundation and the Swedish Research Council. The Centre also acknowledges support from the Department of Sociology and Department of Economic History in the form of facilities during two panels.

  • David Bandurski (University of Hong Kong)
  • Jean-Philippe Béja (CNRS, CERI-Sciences-Po)
  • Stefan Brehm (Lund University)
  • Kerry Brown (King’s College London)
  • Bu Wei (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
  • Lisa Eklund (Lund University)
  • Ivan Franceschini (Australian National University)
  • Fu Hualing (University of Hong Kong)
  • Justin Yifu Lin (Peking University)
  • Nicholas Loubere (Lund University)
  • Lu Jixia (China Agricultural University)
  • Qian Gang (University of Hong Kong)
  • Annika Pissin (Lund University)
  • Barbara Schulte (Lund University)
  • Shen Qiu (China Center for International Knowledge on Development)
  • Marina Svensson (Lund University)

23 January

The Political Context of the Reform Period (The Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies)

  • 10.15 -10.20 Welcome
  • 10.20-10.50 Kerry Brown, “China Winning the Battle: Control of Information and its Successes Under Xi Jinping.”
  • 10.50-11.20Jean-Philippe Béja, "Forty Years of Struggle for the Emancipation of Society: A Long and Winding Road."
  • 11.20-11.50 Q&A
  • 11.50-13.00 Lunch break

Economic Reforms and Development (School of Economics, Crafoord Lecture Hall)

  • 13.15-13.20 Introductory remarks by moderator Sylvia Schwaag Serger
  • 13.20-14.00 Justin Yifu Lin, “China’s Rejuvenation and Its Implications for Economics and Other Developing Countries: A New Structural Economics Perspective.”
  • 14.00-14.20 Discussants Tobias Axelsson and Stefan Brehm
  • 14.20-15.00 Q&A
  • 15.00-15.30 Coffee and mingle


24 January

Laws, Institutions, and Socio-economic Developments (The Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies)

  • 09.15-9.45 Fu Hualing, "Hope: Four Decades of Legal Reform"
  • 9.45-10.00 Q&A
  • 10.00-10.30 Coffee break
  • 10.30-10.50 Shen Qiu, "Politics in Time: The Evolution Process of China's Poverty Alleviation Policies."
  • 10.50-11.10 Ivan Franceschini, “A Retrospective of Chinese Labour NGOs in the Reform Era.”
  • 11.10-11.30 Lu Jixia, “Shifting Rural Livelihoods After China’s Reform and Opening.”
  • 11.30-12.00 Q&A
  • 12.00-12.45 Lunch

Gender, Family and Social issues (Social Science Faculty, Room 240 building R, Gamla Kirurgen)

  • 13.15-13.20 Introductory remarks
  • 13.20-13.40 Lisa Eklund, “Refamilialisation? – The Impact of Labour Market and Welfare Reforms on Marriage and the Family”
  • 13.40-14.00 Annika Pissin, “Child Welfare, Digital Practice and the Environment in China.”
  • 14.00-14.20 Bu Wei, "Migration, Gender and Social Change in China"
  • 14.20-14.40 Barbara Schulte, “Forty Years of Reform, Twenty Years of Educational Reform: Has China Become a Knowledge Society?”
  • 14.40-15.30 Q&A
  • 15.30-16.30 Coffee break and mingle


25 January

The Internet and Media (The Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies)

  • 10.15-10.20 Introductory remarks
  • 10.20-11.00 David Bandurski and Qian Gang
  • 11.00-11.30 Results from the Digital China Project: Marina Svensson, Barbara Schulte, Stefan Brehm and Annika Pissin
  • 11.30-12.00 Introduction of the Made in China Project: Nicholas Loubere and Ivan Franceschini
  • 12.00-12.30 Q&A
  • 12.30-13.30 Lunch