The lobbying of Chinese elite universities

 Jane Liang

Despite growing research on lobbying in China, little is known about how Chinese universities do it. The perspectives, strategies and tactics of elite universities have long been hidden from view, and difficult to research. Yet, universities have accumulated capacity to influence higher education policies and advance individual and collective interests. All out but careful lobbying of government institutions has, in fact, become prevalent and is one of the most significant parts of university-government relations.

In this talk, Jane Liang will present the outcomes of her PhD research on the lobbying of Chinese elite research universities. Her research relies on a unique set of empirical evidence, which includes personal interviews with university top leaders and executives from some of the leading research institutions, as well as with government officials. She will address the following key questions:

  • What do the Chinese universities do to influence the central bureaucracy on policies of crucial importance to their operations? (e.g. strategies and forms of agency)

  • What are the “rules of the game” that shape lobbying behaviour and define the patterns of interaction with the state?

  • How successful are they vis a vis the authoritarian state in a tight regulatory environment? How do they legitimise their action and prevent being seen as “biting the hand that feeds them”?

  • Is the case of universities suggesting potential implications or challenges for the current political structure?

‘Lobbying authoritarianism’ is the result of the hybrid nature of universities in China’s political system: they both need autonomy to modernise their operations and gain international and domestic prestige while at the same time remaining dependent on the government’s ideology, financial control, and political will.

About the Speaker

Jane Liang is a PhD candidate at the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) at the ANU. Since early 2008, Jane has been working for Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8), a lobby coalition of eight leading Australian research universities. She currently serves as Go8 Director, China Engagement with responsibility for driving Go8-China collaboration and managing its strategic development. Jane holds a Master of New Media Arts from the ANU, a Graduate Diploma in Interpreting & Translation from the UWS, and is a NAATI accredited professional translator (English-Chinese). She also received various international computer engineering qualifications.


Jane Liang

Dates & times

Monday, 12 October 2015

3.00pm - 4.30pm


Seminar Rooms, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

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