May 4, China Briefing: China’s Demographic Challenge

China Briefing: China's Demographic Challenge

In our second China Briefing for 2017, we look back on China’s One Child Policy, its history, implementations, outcomes and longstanding impact on China’s demographic balance. Join us as Professor Martin K Whyte tracks the policy’s ‘tortured history’, its effects on the demographic makeup of modern China, and the problems China may now face as a result of the Policy, including becoming ‘old before rich.’

In the second part of the briefing Dr. Lauren Johnston will add context to the ‘old before rich’ demographic challenge that China is confronting. China, much like Japan and South Korea is now facing an aging populace as over 65’s make up a growing share of the population. Unlike its North East Asian neighbours however, China is not yet ‘rich’. Is this as bad as it sounds though? And is China truly unique in staring down such a problem?


Professor Martin King Whyte is John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Sociology Emeritus at Harvard University, and currently visiting Asia Scholar at the University of Melbourne. He specializes in the study of grass roots social organization and social change in the PRC. His most recent books are One Country, Two Societies: Rural-Urban Inequality in Contemporary China (editor, Harvard University Press, 2010) and Myth of the Social Volcano: Perceptions of Inequality and Distributive Injustice in Contemporary China (Stanford University Press, 2010).

Dr. Lauren A. Johnston is a Research Fellow in the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne. Lauren’s research in development economics applies mainly to China, Africa and China-Africa relations. Previously Lauren taught Chinese economy at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (IES), and held positions at the World Bank (DC) and World Economic Forum (Geneva). As an Overseas Development Institute Fellow she worked as an economist in the Ministries of Finance of Guyana and Sierra Leone, each for a year. Lauren holds a PhD (Econ) from Peking University, a MSc (Dev Econ) from the University of London (SOAS) and a BA/BCom from the University of Melbourne.


Professor Mobo Gao was the founding director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Adelaide, and he is the author of books including Remembering Socialist China,1949-1976 (2015, co-author), The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution (2008), Gao Village: Rural Life in Modern China (1999).

Following the talk, complimentary drinks and canapes will be served.

The Confucius Institute would like to thank the Hong Kong Australia Business Association SA for their support of this event.

This is a free event, however registration is essential:

Eventbrite - China Briefing: China's Demographic Challenge

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