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The Aleksanteri Institute

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Keynote speakers

CONFERENCE OPENING: Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Dr Erkki Tuomioja

Chunling Li   Professor Chunling Li
Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Chunling Li’s areas of academic interest are social stratification and mobility, gender studies and sociology of education. Her main publications include Gender Stratification and Labor Market (2011), Formation of Middle Class in Comparative Perspective: Process, Influence and Socioeconomic Consequences (2009); Cleavage or Fragment: A Empirical Analysis on the Social Stratification of the Contemporary China (2005); Social Mobility in Chinese Cities
1997); The Theories of Social Stratification (2008).

Abstract: Stratification and Class Formation in China since the 1980s

This paper provides an overview of the changes in China’s social structure since the economic reform began in 1978. The paper focuses on the transition of class structure, enlargement of income inequality, emergence of urban middle class, and formation of elite coalition and rebuild of the welfare system. The author has attempted to analyse the social consequences of economic reform and its implication on the political transition.

Linda Jakobson   East Asia Programme Director Linda Jakobson
Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney

On 1 April 2011, Linda Jakobson took up the position of East Asia programme director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney. Before that, she lived and worked in China for nearly 20 years and published six books about China and East Asian society. A Mandarin speaker, she has published extensively on China’s foreign policy, the Taiwan Straits, China’s energy security, and climate change and science and technology polices.
Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Jakobson served as director of the China and Global Security Programme and senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Her most recent publications are China’s Energy and Security Relations with Russia: Hopes, Frustrations and Uncertainties (SIPRI Policy Paper 2011/29 with Paul Holtom, Dean Knox and Jingchao Peng); New Foreign Policy Actors in China (SIPRI Policy Paper 2010/26 with Dean Knox); China prepares for an ice-free Arctic (SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security 2010/2) as well as The Myth of a Sino-Russian Challenge to the West (International Spectator, with Hiski Haukkala, vol. 44, no. 3, September 2009).
Jakobson’s research focuses on China’s foreign and security policy as well as regional security issues in Northeast Asia.

Abstract: China's Energy Relations with Russia: Hopes, Frustrations and Uncertainties

For more than a decade, energy cooperation has been a cornerstone of the China–Russia relationship. At first glance, China and Russia seem perfectly matched in the energy sphere considering their geographic proximity and near perfect supply and demand complementarity. As of 2009, Russia became the world’s largest producer of oil and second largest of natural gas, whereas China, which shares a 4000 kilometre border with Russia, surpassed the USA in 2010 to become the world’s largest energy consumer.

Despite these complementarities, energy cooperation between China and Russia is modest. Russian crude oil represents a smaller share of China’s overall oil imports than it did five years ago. China has strategically diversified its suppliers. Its largest oil supplier is Saudi Arabia, followed by Angola, Iran and Oman. In 2010, imports from Russia accounted for a mere six percent of China’s total oil imports. Chinese experts have highlighted a number of challenges for future cooperation on oil, such as Russia’s declining production in Siberia, barriers to foreign upstream investment in Russia and pricing disputes.

The lack of meaningful cooperation on natural gas is even more evident. China currently imports a very small amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia. Negotiations regarding a natural gas pipeline have been held up for years due to pricing disagreements. Meanwhile, China has strategically diversified its gas suppliers, and the government has drafted an ambitious plan to explore shale gas reserves. These developments have strengthened China’s hand in gas negotiations.

Nuclear power cooperation continues in China’s Tianwan power plant, and Russia is committed to jointly constructing new reactors with China. However, China’s determination to develop its own technology, combined with competition from France and the USA, has made Russian technology less attractive.

Alexander Lomanov   Dr, Chief Research Fellow Alexander V. Lomanov
Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Science

Alexander Lomanov is deputy chair of the Centre for Comparative Studies in Civilizations of North-East Asia of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Science. He received his DSc (modern history) degree from the Russian Academy of Science in 2001 and DSc degree (history of philosophy) from the Moscow State University in 1994. Dr Lomanov conducted his post-doctoral work at the University of Toronto. His research interests embrace contemporary Chinese thought and politics, the role of culture and ideology in Russian-Chinese relations, and Sino-Western interactions in philosophy and religion. Dr Lomanov is also an editorial board member of the Far Eastern Affairs journal and an academic advisory board member of Russia in Global Politics.

Abstract: “Chinese Model” after the Global Financial Crisis

The steady growth of China’s economy during the financial crisis has stimulated a new wave of discussions on the “Chinese model” and on applicability of the related experience of powerful governmental controls over social and economic system in other parts of the world. Economic growth has supported the widespread confidence that, in the foreseeable future, China will assume an influential position on the international stage. In 2011, Chinese scholars and propaganda officials focused on two historical events: the disintegration of the USSR (1991) and the anniversary of the Communist Party of China (1921). Critical assessments of Soviet failure and glorification of its own successes served as additional proof of the correctness of the Chinese model. Some intellectuals warned that a one-sided accentuation of the advantages of the Chinese model could lead to prolonged post-crisis strengthening of economic role of the state, thereby obstructing the development of private business and hampering the continuation of reforms. Nationalistic emotions threaten to push China towards self-isolation from new ideas and values. Supporters of the Chinese model underline the government’s extraordinary ability to carry out long-term steady development of economy. Crisis has demonstrated that the Chinese system is capable of making fast and adequate decisions. That served as an extra argument in attempts to prove that borrowing the Western political model with inter-party rivalry and pursuit of short-term election goals would bring no benefits for China’s development. Current Russian debates on modernisation and opening up to foreign technologies and capital investment bear some resemblance to Chinese slogans of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the foundations of the Chinese model were laid. Side effects of the transformations in China included corruption and income polarisation. The Chinese experience of dealing with these problems could also be relevant in Russia.

Minxin Pei   Professor Minxin Pei
Claremont McKenna College, California

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and the director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. Prior to joining CMC in July 2009, Pei was a senior associate and the director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.  
Pei’s research focuses on democratisation in developing countries, economic reform and governance in China, and U.S.-China relations. He is the author of “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union” (Harvard University Press, 1994) and China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy (Harvard University Press, 2006). Pei’s research has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Modern China, China Quarterly, Journal of Democracy and many edited books. Pei is a frequent commentator on BBC World News, Voice of America, and National Public Radio, and his op-eds have appeared in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek International, International Herald Tribune, and other major newspapers. Pei received his PhD in political science from Harvard University. He was on the faculty at Princeton University from 1992 to 1998. Pei is a recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships, including the National Fellowship at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the McNamara Fellowship at the World Bank, and the Olin Faculty Fellowship of the Olin Foundation.

Abstract: From Communism to Autocratic Crony Capitalism: Lessons from the Transitions in China and Russia

China and Russia undertook dramatically different routes of transition from communist rule. Despite this, their divergent paths have led to apparently similar outcomes. Instead of the emergence of liberal political institutions and a market economy, authoritarian politics and crony capitalism now dominate both post-communist societies. The specific factors that have led to these outcomes may be different on the surface, but they share important underlying similarities. This paper argues that the pre-transition balance of power between the state and society, nationalist ideologies, and the inherent difficulty in establishing functioning market institutions in elite-dominated political systems make transitions from communism to crony capitalism very likely.

CONFERENCE CLOSING: Dr, Docent Christer Pursiainen
, University of Helsinki