Chinese Studies

GCS: Research Projects

Current Projects

Global Migration, Global Terrorism and International Law: Chinese Perceptions and Responses

Global migration increasingly shapes Chinese politics. African migrants with uncertain residential status have become a familiar sight in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou Refugee camps line China’s southwestern border and North Korean migrants have long been a problem for border security in China’s North East. China does not provide constitutional protection for refugees of other countries, but cooperates with the UNHCR to care for those who apply for political asylum in China. At the same time, China has initiated a number of schemes to attract high-skilled labour to China, most notably from the Overseas Chinese Community, though it remains almost impossible to obtain Chinese citizenship as a non-Chinese. Global migration also impacts Chinese national security, in response to the potential threat of Islamist radicals from Central Asian States and the Middle East, who may have infiltrated Xinjiang province with plans to align with secessionist Uighur forces against Chinese authorities in the region. How does China respond to global migration and its apparent consequences, such as global terrorism? And how does China use international law to frame and tackle both of these issues, as a “responsible stakeholder” in international politics?

This project aims to understand China’s immigration policies and approach to counterterrorism, hence trying to shed light on the extent to which China is able to reconcile national interests – most notably the protection of borders and national identity – with a quest to shape global values and norms as embodied by international law.

This project is financed by Fellowship granted to Prof. Schubert by the renowned EINSTEIN-Foundation. The research group that works on the issues described above under the leadership of Prof. Schubert is affiliated to the Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS) of the Freie Universität Berlin. Established and emerging China scholars work with experts specialising in other East Asian countries in an interdisciplinary setting to not only understand China’s trajectory in global migration management but also to draw comparisons across the East Asian region.

(project duration: January 2017- December 2020)

Forschungsprojekt (Research Project)

Adaptive Strategies of Taiwanese Entrepreneurs in the Context of Structural Change of the Chinese Economy: the example of the Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone

This project continues Prof. Schubert’s research on the evolution of the cross-strait political economy and the changing environment of Taiwan’s mainland-based entrepreneurs. It focuses on the Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone (PFTZ), which was established in 2015 to serve two purposes: contributing to a new drive for market-unifying economic reforms in China and attracting Taiwanese investment capital and young entrepreneurs. Hence, the project will generate insights in the current effort of China’s central government to bring about a new economic growth model on the one hand and to shed light on the politically-driven dynamics of cross-strait economic relations on the other. The project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

(DFG-AZ: SCHU 1702/5-2; project duration: October 2016-September 2017)

Forschungsprojekt (Research Project)

“Steering the Private Sector Economy in Times of Rising Entrepreneurial Power”

This project is part of a broader research endeavor by 10 German China scholars who have applied for the establishment of a DFG Research Unit to study policy implementation in contemporary China through the lens of political steering theory. The project focuses on the implementation of private sector reform and the evolution of state-business relations at the local level. More precisely, it sheds light on the complex relationship between local governments and private entrepreneurs against a background of hard reform pressure from the central government and a rising sense of group-consciousness connecting private entrepreneurs across China. The project ties in with Prof. Schubert’s earlier research on local policy implementation and the development of private entrepreneurship in China, trying to understand the role and autonomy of local governments in China’s policy process and the formation of strategic groups in Chinese society which condition the leeway of local governments in implementing upper level policy demands. The project will be jointly conducted with Prof. Thomas Heberer, University of Duisburg-Essen.

(targeted project duration: October 2017-September 2020)