The “China in a Dynamic Changing World” Symposium brought together leading UQ experts on China to showcase their research, exchange ideas and discuss current developments in a multidisciplinary forum. Shan-Yuan Liew, President of UQ’s Australia-China Youth Association, shares his experience of the Symposium and his time living in China.
As an Australian that spent 10 years growing up in China, I was given the unique opportunity to live through the latest Industrial Revolution in China from the late 2000s until now.
As I was growing up, the quiet town on the outskirts of Shanghai where I went to school begun to slowly change. I remember looking out the bus window on the way to school as unpaved roads turned into elevated highways, and homes turned into high-density apartments. High-speed railways, an airport, malls and development zones all began to pop up out of nowhere. It became evident that the China I saw when I settled into the country would not be the same when I left.
It was astonishing to live through such rapid development, and to witness how many people’s lives were changed during the process. The “China in a Dynamic Changing World” Symposium at UQ reminded me how drastic and fast-paced these developments were by bringing together experts with extensive experience to present their areas of research on China.
With China's rapid development and growing influence around the world, it is important to understand China better so that we as future leaders can act as facilitators between the cultures of people and organisations.
The symposium gave me a greater understanding of the benefits, and also the consequences, of such rapid expansion. A specific statistic that stood out to me came from Dr John Humphreys, a lecturer for the School of Economics, who said that half a billion people in China have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the last 30 years.
Although this is a positive development that has fundamentally reshaped the global economy, Dr Humphreys also brought forward some unprecedented challenges that arise from such quick progressions. He discussed increasing issues including emissions, water crises, capital misallocation and counter terrorism.
Other UQ researchers presented emerging developments, including tactics for negotiating with the Chinese, agricultural innovation, opportunities for the Australian economy and the changes to the tourism industry in China due to increasing popularity of Chinese social media apps.
The city I grew up in looks more and more unrecognisable every year that I visit, but attending the symposium helped me to understand the effects of these rapid changes on the greater economy. I am excited to see the new direction China takes as growth starts to slow and they turn towards sustainable development.
The symposium served as an introduction to UQ's new Understanding China course, corordinated by economics lecturer Associate Professor Renuka Mahadevan.
"Variety is the spice of life and I am pleased to provide our UQ students the opportunity to have a taste of great variety in a course," she said.
UQ Confucius Institute Director, Professor Ping Chen was very pleased with the outcomes of the symposium.
“The new course, Understanding China, will be the first time six schools at UQ have worked together in a multidisciplinary way, and this initiative has received very strong support from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s (Academic) Office,” Professor Chen said.