The lobbying of Chinese elite universities

 Jane Liang

How do elite Chinese research universities advance their interests in a tight policy environment and how do they interpret their role in a country increasingly obsessed with education? In this post-fieldwork presentation, Jane Liang will report on the major findings of her intensive field research in China in 2013 for her PhD project on the participation and role of Chinese elite research universities in the national policymaking process, during which she had access to the leadership of some major Chinese universities and conducted numerous interviews with leaders in the sector.

The seminar will illustrate the evolving nature of Chinese public policymaking processes and higher education governance institutions in China. The increasing bureaucratisation of policy making in China and the scientific attitude to policy developed over the last two decades in this process has not reduced but rather enhanced the capacity of universities (especially elite research universities) to intervene in the role of ‘expert advisor’ in the making of educational policies. While universities’ involvement in the making of policies has increased both through formal and informal policymaking channels, Jane’s hypothesis suggests that informal engagement and semi-formal lobbying strategies play a significant role in the policy process, especially for bottom-up policy inputs and communications initiated or driven by universities. Furthermore,
a ‘stratified approach’ and a tradition of ‘policy experimentation’ in the arena of education policy facilitate increasing participation and influence by a small number of elite players and strengthen the role of elite universities. They in turn serve as a catalyst for the development of university autonomy and the openness of the national education sector as a whole.

About the Speaker

Jane Liang is a PhD candidate in International, Political and Strategic Studies at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the ANU, investigating the role and influence of elite universities in policymaking process in China. Since early 2008, Jane has been working for Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8), a lobby group and coalition of eight leading research Australian universities established by their Vice-Chancellors. She currently serves as Go8 Director, China Engagement and Web Management 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. She has also received various computer engineering qualifications.

After the Seminar

To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by a dinner with the guest speaker at 6:15pm. The location of the restaurant will be announced at the seminar. All are welcome, though those who attend will need to pay for their own food and drinks. As reservations must be made at the restaurant, please RSVP by noon of the day before the seminar to

The China Seminar Series is sponsored by the China Institute, with the Australian Centre on China in the World and the College of Asia & the Pacific.


Jane Liang

Dates & times

Thursday, 12 June 2014

4.00pm - 5.30pm


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

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