Background and Goals of the Research Network

In recent years the importance of authoritarian societies – from the Gulf region to East Asia – in global politics and the world economy has been growing rapidly. The influence of undemocratic political systems, and especially of the People’s Republic of China, has created profound challenges for politics, political consulting, and academic research. So far the political adaptability and innovativeness of authoritarian regimes have been explored only sporadically by the social sciences.


The intent of the “Governance in China” research network is to gauge successes and limitations in the adaptability and innovativeness of the institutions, methods, and content of governance in China using an innovative research pool and in collaboration with other disciplines such as social sciences and area studies. This research program is, on the one hand, based on projects completed by its members and is connected with current research. On the other hand, new subprojects are adding fresh perspectives and systematically broadening the thematic focus. The research network also benefits from the international contacts of its members and regular academic exchanges. The network includes the following ongoing projects:


Overview on completed research projects:

The members share the goal of strengthening existing resources within China-related political science in Germany through their collaboration.


Public Relations

Additionally, the members of the “Governance in China” research network plan to make the results of their research available to political consultants and the public in the form of Background Papers. These papers will be published periodically and will be available as free downloads.


Promotion of Young Researchers

The research network also provides a framework for the promotion of a new generation of social science-trained China scholars. Each project employs either two PhD students or one postdoc. These students have the opportunity to focus on new topics under the guidance of the professor managing the project. The young researchers are promoted systematically through scientific exchange within the network, intensive supervision, collective workshops, teaching, joint academic publications and research.

Scientific Symposia

A special concern of the joint research project is the promotion of Germany as a research location. The goal is to increase Germany’s visibility within the international scientific community by organizing conferences, holding workshops, and hosting other events intended to strengthen international exchange. The participation of the research network’s members at international symposia also supports this goal.


Visiting Scholars

Another important element of the research network is the establishment of a visiting scholar program. Every year several international scholars are invited to participate. They visit two or three locations of the research group in order to enlarge the academic network and enhance the integration of research into teaching. Furthermore, public lectures help to attract the attention of a wider audience.


The “Governance in China” research network is funded by the German Fe­deral Mi­nis­try of Edu­ca­ti­on and Re­se­arch (BMBF) within the framework of the “Freedom for Research in the Humanities” initiative and as part of the “Strengthening and Advancing Area Studies” program. The project began on March 1, 2010, and is funded for the next six years by the BMBF, which is contributing a total of 3 million euros.