It’s Complicated! Debating China-Southeast Asia Relations
May 14 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Harryanto Aryodiguno, President University, Indonesia
Zhaohui Wang, Xiamen University, China
Chester Yacub, University of Nottingham, UK

Moderator: Xiao Alvin Yang, Universität Kassel, Germany

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The relationships between China and Southeast Asia are complicated and multifaceted. In this debate, Harryanto Aryodiguno, Zhaohui Wang, and Chester Yacub will examine China-Southeast Asia Relations from three different theoretical perspectives.

Harryanto Aryodiguno will examine how Indonesia-China relations are determined by the identity and political views of Chinese-Indonesians. The relations between these two countries are in constant flux, like a high tide and ebb—from real friends in the Sukarno era to enemies during the Suharto era. After the Suharto era, relations between the two countries warmed up again, resulting in a strategic partnership. Various factors influenced the unstable relationship between the two countries: the external factors are the effects of the Cold War and the internal factor is the anti-ethnic Chinese sentiment in Indonesia. Entering 2000, the harmonious relations between the two countries were often unstable because of the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China trying to seize influence in the Southeast Asian region. Also, Indonesia’s domestic factors are China Threat and anti-Chinese (ethnic Chinese) sentiments that opposition groups and hardline groups in Indonesia raise. The ups and downs of the two countries’ relations affect foreign relations and trade between them. Relations between these countries also affect changes in Chinese ethnic identity in Indonesia. The relationship between China and Indonesia is reconnecting to the Chinese Indonesians’ role, which has brought back tensions between ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese in Indonesia. Aryodiguno concludes that the relationship between Indonesia and China has influenced the construction of Chinese identity in Indonesia. Chinese Indonesians’ political role and involvement contribute to a more stable or deteriorating relationship between Indonesia and China.

In the second presentation, Zhaohui Wang explores how Southeast Asian countries’ domestic sociopolitical factors influence their foreign policy-making and China-Southeast Asia relations. Based on comparative political sociology, Wang develops a 2*2 typology of foreign policymaking. One dimension is whether the foreign policymaking is personalized or institutionalized, and the other dimension is whether it is open/responsive or insulated. The different types of foreign policymaking in Southeast Asian countries are expected to have different influences on China-Southeast Asia relations. Then the typology will be applied to study the relationships between China and the main maritime Southeast Asian countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore).

In the third presentation, Chester Yacub will explore Philippine President Duterte’s diplomatic strategy in dealing with the South China Sea (SCS) dispute since the favourable Permanent Court of Arbitration Award in July 2016 until the end of the fourth year of his term in July 2020. Yacub will assess various prevailing International Relations (IR) realist frameworks in understanding the Philippines’ Sino-centric foreign policies. He will argue that scholars from both outside and within the Philippines who utilize these dominant IR explanations to make sense of the country’s foreign policy (un)consciously neglect either domestic politics or its state identity that has been influenced by a long history of colonial rule. He responds to this deficient, thus, distorted reading of IR by presenting a social constructivist approach to world affairs, employing the Copenhagen School’s (De) securitization theory. In short, Yacub will argue that the Duterte government’s pivot-to-China’s strategy has been influenced by local interest groups and has been supported by the public amidst the persistent Chinese intrusion in the SCS. The case of the Philippines demonstrates to what extent (De) securitization theory explains foreign policy decisionmaking.


Harryanto Aryodiguno is Assistant Professor in the International Relations Study Program, Faculty of Humanities, President University, Indonesia. He received his PhD in Political Science from National Taiwan University. His research fields include International Relations of East Asia, Taiwan’s political and economic development, Chinese political thought, comparative epistemologies for thinking in China, relations between Chinese Indonesians and China, Taiwan, and identity politics. His academic papers have appeared in Asian Survey, The Journal of South China Studies (Japan), AEGIS Journal of International Relations (Indonesia), and The Research and Educational Center For China Studies and Cross Taiwan-strait Relations.

Zhaohui Wang is Associate Professor at the School of International Relations and Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University. He holds degrees from Renmin University of China (dual BScs in International Politics and Economics), London School of Economics (MSc in International Political Economy) and University of Warwick (PhD in Politics and International Studies). His research lies in the fields of politics and International Relations, political economy, China studies, and Southeast Asian studies. His academic papers have appeared in Globalizations, Asian Survey, Journal of Contemporary China, and Journal of Chinese Political Science, among others.

Chester Yacub is currently a doctoral researcher at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, UK. He holds master’s degrees in International Political Economy (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Economics (Ateneo de Manila University). He was a Research Fellow at the John J Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI), an advocacy-oriented research institution based in the Ateneo. He has been interested in how material power and communal identity influence both Philippine society and its relationship with the outside world.

The Theoretical Debates on Asia series brings together young scholars from around the world to engage in theoretical debates on the emerging Indigenous international relations (IR) theories in Asia and new IR and global political economy (GPE) approaches to study Asia.

Chinese State Capitalism and its Discontents in Hong Kong
Jun 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

YCAR is very pleased to present the fourth Bernard H. K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies with Ho-fung Hung, Johns Hopkins University.

Eliza Lee, Professor, Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong
Gregory Chin, Politics, York University

Moderator: Yuk-Lin Renita Wong, Professor, School of Social Work, York University

Hong Kong’s political crisis today has been in the making for years, and it originates from the contradictions of the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement. Hong Kong and mainland China have been two independent members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with different terms of membership. While China’s financial system is still semi-closed to the world, Hong Kong’s financial system is fully open. The US and other developed countries treat Hong Kong as a separate entity on export, investment and immigration control, offering Hong Kong-based companies free access to their market and technology, conditional upon the international recognition of Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing. This lures Chinese state companies to use Hong Kong as an offshore platform or springboard for capitalization, outward investment, RMB internationalization, and importation of sensitive technologies from Western countries. This results in the expansion of political influences of Chinese state companies and elites in Hong Kong, eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and precipitating a social and political backlash, long before the 2047 expiration date of the One Country, Two Systems.

Ho-fung Hung is the Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy in the Department of Sociology and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He researches on global capitalist transformation, nationalism, social movements, and Chinese development. He is the author of the award-winning Protest with Chinese Characteristics (2011) and The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World (2015). His analyses of the Chinese political economy and Hong Kong politics have been featured or cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, BBC News, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), among other publications.

A beloved teacher and colleague, Professor Bernard H. K. Luk (1946–2016) was an internationally recognized authority on the history of Hong Kong. This endowed lecture was created at York University in honour of his work. Organized by a group of Hong Kong scholars at the York Centre for Asian Research, the lectures and accompanying events focus on Hong Kong as a distinct society, its influence on the wider world or the experiences of the Hong Kong diaspora.

Registration coming soon. Please register by 6 June 2021.

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Resistance and Contention: Identities, Connections and Power
Jun 10 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

In this panel, scholars of different disciplines and across geographical locations will discuss how the distinctiveness of Hong Kong civil society values and contentions can take new forms in alternative spaces under an authoritarian regime in Hong Kong and beyond. What implications does the Hong Kong experience offer for the comparative study of contentious politics?


Saving Hong Kong From Afar
Victoria Hui, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Notre Dame
Professor Hui’s core research examines the centrality of war in the formation and transformation of “China” in the long span of history. She also studies contentious politics. She is a co-researcher of a survey project—Hong Kong Voices in American Politics—and has extensively commented on Hong Kong politics in various major US media networks.

What’s Next After the ‘Endgame’: Naam-caau and Temporality in Hong Kong
Iam Chong Ip, Visiting Assistant Professor, Cultural Studies, Lingnan University
Professor Ip’s research is in the areas of urban/rural sociology, urban politics and political economy. His book, Hong Kong’s New Identity Politics: Longing for the Local in the Shadow of China (2020), uses Hong Kong as a case study of how the production of the desire for “the local” lies at the heart of global cultural economy.

Global Identity of Hong Kong: Past, Present and Future
Simon Shen, Founder of start-up groups Global Learning Offices and 1841
Dr Shen is an international relations scholar currently serving as an adjunct associate professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and visiting fellow of Academic Sinica in Taiwan. He is a commentator for various global and local media and is running a series of social media with a total number of 500,000 followers.

Sherry Yuen-Yung Chan, Doctoral Student, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sanho Chung, Doctoral Student, Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona

Moderator: Susan Henders, Associate Professor, Politics, York University

This is the first panel in the Hong Kong Beyond Hong Kong Symposium, which inquires how Hong Kong as a “distinct society” culturally, politically and economically could sustain moving forward within geographical Hong Kong and beyond. Invited panel speakers will explore new forms of contentious politics in alternative spaces, new visions and discourses in Hong Kong Studies, and the implication of the Hong Kong experience for Canada and the wider world. The symposium is presented alongside the Fourth Bernard H. K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies at York University.

Registration coming soon. Please register by 8 June 2021.

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Studying Hong Kong: The National Security Law and Beyond” Roundtable Conversation
Jun 15 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

In this roundtable conversation, panelists from a variety of interdisciplinary and geographical contexts will discuss how we study Hong Kong and the Hong Kong diaspora moving forward in the post-national security law era. How can Hong Kong Studies as an interdisciplinary field of area studies be reimagined beyond territorial boundaries? How do we develop new concepts, theorization and methods of studying the history, politics, culture and identity of Hong Kong and its diasporic communities as a conduit to considering the intertwined histories and geographies of transnational social struggles and identity formation amidst the global hegemonies of power?


Francis L. F. Lee, Director and Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor Lee works mainly in the areas of journalism studies, political communication, public opinion research, and media and social movements. He is the lead or sole author of Memories of Tiananmen: Politics and Processes of Collective Remembering in Hong Kong, 1989–2019 (2021), Media and Protest Logics in the Digital Era: The Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (2018), Talk Radio, the Mainstream Press and Public Opinion in Hong Kong (2014), and Media, Social Mobilization, and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong (2011). He is Co-Chair of the Society for Hong Kong Studies (SHKS), an independent professional association based in Hong Kong. The SHKS serves as a global multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional platform to encourage the development of new theories, concepts and methods of studying Hong Kong, its relations to China, Asia and beyond.

Jack Leong, Associate Dean, Research & Open Scholarship, York University Libraries
Dr Leong was the founding director of the Richard Charles Lee Canada–Hong Kong Library at the University of Toronto in 2007–19. In that role, he provided leadership in building the largest research collection on Hong Kong and Chinese Canadian studies in North America. He has extensive experience stewarding major research collections and leading collaborative digital initiatives that heightened the visibility and impact of these research collections through open access platforms, including the Hong Kong Handover Collection Digitization Project (2008–10), Hong Kong Basic Law Portal (2013), the Hong Kong-Canada Crosscurrents Project (2014–19), and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement Archive (2014).

Leo K. Shin, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
Trained as a historian of China, Professor Shin is interested in the historicity of the ideas of “China” and “Chineseness” and how the boundaries of China have been drawn. His book, The Making of the Chinese State: Ethnicity and Expansion on the Ming Borderlands (2006), traces the roots of China’s modern ethnic configurations to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). He has also maintained a strong interest in the recent past, especially as it relates to the formation and transformation of modern-day Chinese and—by extension—Hong Kong identities. He is the Convenor of the Hong Kong Studies Initiative (HKSI) at the University of British Columbia. The HKSI is devoted to facilitating the creation and transmission of knowledge about the past and present of Hong Kong, both by fostering academic research and dialogue as well as by building bridges between academia and the community.

Heidi Wang-Kaeding, Lecture, International Relations, Keele University
Professor Wang-Kaeding’s research focuses on global environmental governance, economic statecraft in East Asia, and the role of emotions in international politics. She is interested in how the rise of China is reshaping regional power dynamics in East Asia and how China’s emergence as a superpower creates normative effects on multilateral governance. She is the author of China’s Environmental Foreign Relations (2021). Her recent article (co-authored with Malte Kaeding) “Red Capital in Hong Kong” (2019) won the 2020 Literati Award. She is Co-Founder of the Hong Kong Studies Association (HKSA) based in the UK. The HKSA primarily provides a network for scholars in European universities and research institutions but aims to connect with students and academics from across the world.

Moderator: Wendy S. Wong, Professor, Design, York University

This is the second panel in the Hong Kong Beyond Hong Kong Symposium, which inquires how Hong Kong as a “distinct society” culturally, politically and economically could sustain moving forward within geographical Hong Kong and beyond. Invited panel speakers will explore new forms of contentious politics in alternative spaces, new visions and discourses in Hong Kong Studies, and the implication of the Hong Kong experience for Canada and the wider world. The symposium is presented alongside the Fourth Bernard H. K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies at York University.

Registration coming soon. Please register by 13 June 2021.

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Hong Kong-Canada Relationships
Jun 17 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This panel will examine the histories and contemporary realities of Hong Kong-Canada relationships. Panelists will discuss what part these diverse connections have or could play in protecting and developing Hong Kong identities, cultures and democratic politics, or, alternatively, how they have or could in future inhibit their flourishing. To what extent and in what ways are Hong Kong-Canada relationships dominated by PRC-Canada relationships? What are the implications of this hierarchy, to the extent that it exists?


Canadians in Hong Kong, Past and Present: Implications for Hong Kong Identities, Cultures and Politics
Susan Henders, Associate Professor, Politics, York University

Professor Henders is currently conducting research on the historical and contemporary nature and significance of Canadian-linked organizations in Hong Kong. Together with Mary M. Young, Henders has advanced the theorization of non-state diplomacies as “other diplomacies” and the empirical understanding of its roles in making Canadian-Asian relationships in co-authored articles in the Hague Journal of Diplomacy and Canadian Foreign Policy Journal. The latter article won the 2012 Maureen Molot Prize for best article. Henders’ single-author articles on Canadian-linked other diplomacies in Hong Kong have been published in Global Society (in press) and the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal. She also publishes on the domestic and international politics of decentralized state architectures in culturally regionalized states. A former Director of the York Centre for Asian Research, Henders received a doctorate degree from the University of Oxford and a master’s degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The Legacies of Hong Kong Immigrants in Canada’s Migration History
Miu Chung Yan, Professor, School of Social Work, University of British Columbia
Professor Yan studied, practiced and taught social work in Hong Kong, London England, Toronto and San Francisco. His sojourner’s experience has influenced his major research interests covering settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees, critical cross-cultural and antiracist practice, internal dynamics in Chinese community, and globalization and social development. He has recently completed a project on “Immigration, Integration and Social Transformation in the Pacific Rim”, and is the lead author of “Subethnic interpersonal dynamic in diasporic community: a study on Chinese immigrants in Vancouver” (2019) in Asian Ethnicity and co-editor of Working with Immigrants and Refugees: Issues, Theories, and Approaches for Social Work and Human Service Practice (2017).

What to Do When There is Little to be Done
David Zweig, Professor Emeritus, Division of Social Sciences, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
Professor Zweig spent 15 years as Director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations at HKUST. Currently he is Director of Transnational China Consulting Limited and Vice President of the Center on China and Globalization. He is the author or editor of ten books, including Internationalizing China: domestic interests and global linkages (2002) and Sino-U.S. Energy Triangles: Resource Diplomacy under Hegemony (2016). He is currently finishing a book on China’s reverse migration of talent.

Discussant: Lynette Ong, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto

Moderator: Guida Man, Associate Professor, Sociology, York University

This is the third and final panel in the Hong Kong Beyond Hong Kong Symposium, which inquires how Hong Kong as a “distinct society” culturally, politically and economically could sustain moving forward within geographical Hong Kong and beyond. Invited panel speakers will explore new forms of contentious politics in alternative spaces, new visions and discourses in Hong Kong Studies, and the implication of the Hong Kong experience for Canada and the wider world. The symposium is presented alongside the Fourth Bernard H. K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies at York University.

Registration coming soon. Please register by 15 June 2021.

For more information: