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Meet our researchers

Meet the centre’s China experts

Our researchers are engaged in multidisciplinary research on China.

Our researchers are engaged in dynamic and innovative studies of China and Greater China across many disciplines, and produce impactful research. 


Dillip Dutta

Dilip Dutta

School of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

What is the focus of your research right now?

My current research focus in on the importance of nurturing non-cognitive human capabilities for a stable mental health. 

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

With Professor Hans Hendrischke in the Business School we are initiating a research project on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We hope to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders from researchers, policy makers to business communities who are or will be impacted by the BRI. 

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

Apart from being an executive committee member (since October 2012) of the China Studies Centre, I also co-lead its university wide Business & Economics research cluster. In December 2014, I wrote a policy paper for the centre titled: ‘China’s miracle economic growth: Its policy implication for socio-economic inclusiveness & beyond’, which has had a substantial number of downloads from the centre’s publications website.

See Dillip's academic profile


Sophie Loy-Wilson

Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

What is the focus of your research right now?

I work on the history of the overseas Chinese diaspora in Australia and the Asia Pacific, with particular focus on the history of immigration restriction regimes and Chinese indentured labour schemes. I have also done work on the history of overseas Chinese return migration to Shanghai, focusing especially on the Kwok family who ran the Wing On Department Store empire. 

What impact does your research have?

I regularly share my research with Chinese Australian community groups and have also appeared on Radio National a number of times. There are current moves within the Chinese Australian community to advocate for an apology from the Australian government for Chinese Australian treatment under the White Australia Policy and I believe my work moves us closer to this goal. 

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

I work closely with Chinese Australian community groups such as the Chinese Australian Historical Society and the Chinese Australian Women’s Association. 

How did you become interested in China as a subject for your work?

I lived in Beijing as a teenager from 1995 to 2002 and this sparked my interest. Later on, I studied Chinese language at the Second Foreign Language Institute (now Beijing International Studies University). 

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

It has been fantastic to meet and learn from other scholars in the field, working on diverse projects.

See Sophie's academic profile


Joyce Nip

Departments: Media and Communications and Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

What is the focus of your research right now?

My present research focuses on the political aspects of Chinese media. They include social media in the China region, and information freedom in post-handover Hong Kong. 

What impact does your research have?

My co-authored paper ‘Challenging official propaganda? Public opinion leaders on Sina Weibo’ (2016) is the first study that relies on systematic large-scale data to investigate the relative power of the Chinese party-state on China’s Weibo. My papers on online communities were among the earliest that focus on the Internet in Chinese societies: ‘The relationship between online and offline communities: the case of the Queer Sisters’ (2004), and ‘The Queer Sisters and its electronic bulletin board: a study of the Internet for social movement mobilization’ (2004). My most influential study ‘Exploring the second phase of public journalism’ (2006) is not directly related to China, but informs my study of user engagement on networked digital media in China.

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

I am the chief investigator of the project ‘Online public opinion in Greater China: Similarities, differences, and mutual influences’, which involves academic collaborators in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and is funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Research Grant. It studies the Sunflower and Umbrella Movement on Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo. 

Another collaborative project that I am leading focuses on China’s influence on international online public opinion. 

In addition, I am working on two other projects related to post-1997 Hong Kong: The book chapter ‘Dissenting media: post-1997 Hong Kong’ is to form part of the Handbook of Dissent and Protest in China, scheduled to be published by Edward Elgar in January 2019. The other project studies the dissemination of information by the government of Hong Kong.

How did you become interested in China as a subject for your work?

I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. I was a journalist in Hong Kong during some of the transition years when Hong Kong was destined to be returned to China in 1997. The political changes brought by China have formed an important part of my experience.  

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

I have found seminars presented by the China Studies Centre helpful in keeping me up-to-date about China and research about China. I have benefited from conference grants provided. The centre also offers opportunities for me to present my research to an audience. 

See Joyce's academic profile


James Reilly

Department of Government and International Relations, Faculty of Arts and Social Science

What is the focus of your research right now?

I am finishing up a three-year project on China’s economic statecraft in Asia and Europe, funded by an ARC Discovery Grant. I am planning to complete my book manuscript on China’s economic statecraft by early 2018 (hopefully!). 

What impact does your research have?

I believe my research has some impact in the public and policymaking communities, as well as among fellow academics and students. I strive to use my research for public engagement, including offering public lectures and speaking regularly with journalists and other media professionals. I publish regularly in my field in order to engage with other academics, and of course, I try to bring my research into the classroom whenever possible. 

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

I am embarking upon a new research project together with a colleague at ANU looking at the implications of China’s infrastructure building drive across mainland Asia. We’re focusing on China’s ‘connectivity power,’ examining when and how China’s infrastructure projects generate political influence for Beijing.  

How did you become interested in China as a subject for your work?

I first went to China as a third-year undergraduate student from the US. I soon became fascinated with the challenges of learning Chinese and also really enjoyed living in Beijing in the early 1990s. I returned to Beijing again in my fourth year and then again after my graduation to continue studying Chinese, and have been hooked ever since. I’ve travelled widely around China, and worked as an English teacher and an NGO representative over the years, before finally settling into an academic career here in Sydney. One of my favourite parts of my job is that I get to regularly travel around China for research. 

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

The China Studies Centre has been immensely supportive of my research and teaching on China. When I first arrived in Sydney in 2009, the centre was just getting underway, and I was happy to be involved in some of its earliest planning and activities. As I started to develop my research on China, the centre provided me with invaluable financial and logistical support. The centre helped support the production of my co-edited book on China-Australia relations, and hosted numerous workshops and presentations that I’ve helped organise over the years. The centre plays an important role in enriching and expanding China-related research across the University -- a contribution from which I, and many others, have greatly benefitted. 

See James' academic profile


Linda Tsung

Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Linda is an internationally recognised research leader in the field of multilingualism and multilingual education in Australian and China. She is also an Executive Committee member of the Centre and the convener of the Language, Literature, Culture and Education cluster.

What is the focus of your research right now?

My research focus is on why young Australian people do not study their heritage languages and how to promote community languages among these young people.

What impact does your research have?

Hopefully the impact of my current research will be to contribute to the building of a rich multilingual resource and greater understanding and stronger connections to Australian migrant cultural heritage in Australia. 

The impact of my research on multilingualism and multilingual education in China has been to significantly influence international and Chinese researchers to work on this topic. For example, a number of NGOs in China such as Save the Children UK, have used my research outcomes to build their projects to support minority students in their mother tongue education. 

The impact of my research on community languages in Australia from my joint ARC project ‘Maximising the potential of Australia’s language resources: exploring and developing languages across sectors, schools and communities’ between 2011 and 2016 has been to benefit a wide range of national communities. This project has raised greater awareness and concerns among communities and education policy makers that young Australian people are losing their home language and cultural heritage at a very fast pace. Our research outcomes were the subject of a special story compiled by SBS in 2016. The ARC research outcome also has been instrumental in language education policy improvement and government funding initiatives in support of community languages. Our research findings and implications have been adopted by NSW Department School Education in their policy on second language learning.

Most recently, my team and I successfully bid and won large funding to support our research recommendations. In November 2017, the NSW government announced that $9.4 million will be invested to establish Sydney Institute for Community Language Education in partnership with the NSW department of Education. These funds will be applied to develop a comprehensive program to strengthen community language teaching in NSW. The future impact of our research will not only be at a national level but will have international influence on language policy making in similar multilingual countries like Australia.

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

I am working on a project with the Sydney Institute for community language education with other academics and Chinese community in NSW. I am also working with colleagues in the School of Languages and Cultures on the project ‘Multilingual Australia: Past and Present’. This project aims to access and critically investigate Australia’s community, state and national archives in their original languages and in so doing transform the landscape of Australian historical, cultural and language studies. 

How did you become interested in China as a subject for your work?

I started my PhD thesis on China’s language and education policies for minority nationalities and have conducted over 20 years research on multilingualism and multilingual education in China and community language teaching in Australia. This subject allows me to develop not only theoretic frameworks but also to gain methodological insights and practical experience in the analysis of research data in two countries.  

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

I have significantly benefited from working with academics and researchers at the China Studies Centre and been supported in part by the centre’s funding. This has contributed to my publishing extensively and gaining international recognition as an authority in multilingualism and Chinese discourse studies. For example, the centre’s funding contributed greatly to my organisation and leadership skills of an international workshop in 2013 and a research forum in 2016. The centre’s support has also made possible my field studies in Tibet, Xinjiang and Qinghai. These research activities have resulted in my publishing of a single authored book, Language Power and Hierarchy: Multilingual Education in China (Bloomsbury, 2014) and my co-editing a number of journals and volumes including Contemporary Chinese Discourse and Social Practice in China (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2015). 

See Linda's academic profile


Xiaohuan Zhao

Department of Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

What is the focus of your research right now?

I research in the areas of traditional Chinese literature and culture with a specialist focus on Chinese temple theatre.

What impact does your research have?

My research on Chinese temple theatre will lead to the construction of an integrated model of understanding how drama emerged from ritual and how ritual/theatrical elements were synthesised into drama via temple theatre. The project will eventually lead to the establishment of ‘Temple Theatre’ as a multidisciplinary branch of theatre studies.

What projects are you working on with other academics, the community or businesses?

I am working on this project in collaboration with the Institute of Chinese Theatre and Theatrical Relics of Shanxi Normal University, where I am ‘Shanxi Hundred Talents Scheme (SHTS) Distinguished Overseas Professor’. 

How did you become interested in China as a subject for your work?

I was born and grew up in China and was trained in UK as a Sinologist.

How has being part of the China Studies Centre made a difference in what you do?

The China Studies Centre provides a great platform for members to present their research to a diverse audience. In addition to facilitating inter- and multi-disciplinary research projects, the centre provides support for disciplinary scholars from across the University through six academic clusters including History, and Language, Literature, Culture and Education.

See Xiaohuan's academic profile