Introduction from the Director

Introduction from the Director – Derek McGhee


It is a great privilege to be the inaugural Director of the China Research Centre. The purpose of the Centre is to bring together the research on China currently being conducted in the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences. We are an interdisciplinary centre we include: Sociologists, Economist, Human and Physical Geographers, Gerontologists, Demographers, Political Scientist and Social Policy Specialists in our core membership. We very much hope the centre goes from strength to strength and we can extend our reach to include members in other Faculties. Our ambition is to be a portal on research in China across the University.


My China Research

My current research in China (with Dr Shaoying  Zhang, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences) examines governance in contemporary China in the context of the current anti-corruption, and anti four-undesirable working styles campaigns. This research follows on from our first book together. The title of our first book is Social Policies and Ethnic Conflict in China, Palgrave, published in December 2014. This book focused on the ethnic and social policies targeting Xinjiang (the Uygur Autonomous Region) which is one of China’s most strategically important, resource-rich and largest regions, but also one of China’s most troublesome regions. Xinjiang is synonymous with ethnic conflict, nationalist (or separatist) movements and extremism. This book sets out to explore how the Chinese government has governed Xinjiang in light of growing tensions in the region exploring initiatives such as the partner assistance programme to understand the extent to which attempts to reverse the deteriorating situation have been effective.

Furthermore, this study also provides compelling insights into how policies vary in different regions, focusing in particular on the role played by officials in interpreting and implementing these policies within their specific locale. It shows that Communist Party strategy and policy become messy when introduced at a micro-level as local governments interpret how these policies should work within their particular region. On the back of the success of our first book together Zhang and I have been working on our second co-authored book..  The provisional title is China’s Ethical Revolution through Anti-Corruption we anticipate that this book will be published in 2017..


Shaoying Zhang and Derek McGhee, Social Policies and Ethnic Conflict in China, Palgrave Macmillan,