RAS Weekender

Tavern at the Radisson Xingguo Hotel

Current Conversations: China’s Demographic Puzzle

Moderator:: Dagmar Borchard, Sinologist and RAS member

This event debuts the first of a new series. Each program will explore a topic that’s both current for Chinese society and intellectually relevant for the RAS community. In a moderated discussion format, each event will examine a topic in its historical and cultural context. We call this unique series “Current Conversations”. Our first topic is China’s Demographic Puzzle.

This event centers on the dynamics that are changing China’s population such as the one child policy, gender imbalance between men and women of marriage age, the effect on a society that women bring when they choose not to marry and bear children, and that the large numbers of rural bachelors pose for stability and security when they cannot find a bride. The forces at play are vast.

We will investigate the topic from the perspective of issues raised in four recent books. Readers from RAS Book Club will briefly summarize the main ideas raised by each of four authors followed by opening of the floor for moderated discussion. The books: Unnatural Selection and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl, Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population by Valerie Hudson and Andrea Den Boer, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China by Leta Hong Fincher, and One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong. The readers: Connor Bralla, Aleta Stephen, Tracey Willard and Tom Yamamoto.

We realize most RAS members have read about these demographic challenges in China and may well have firsthand information gleaned from the very experience of living in China and working with its citizens. Collectively, we have a wealth of ideas to share.

In the coming months, we aim to identify several topics of current interest and bring together knowledgeable people from both inside and outside the RAS community to engage in moderated discussions with our audience. This is a new venture for RAS in Shanghai. We will be gauging our community’s interest in participating in such conversations. The governing Council invites your suggestions, feedback, and especially your participation in exploring this new program format. Contact programmes@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn or any Council member.

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn