Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Association Of Chinese Political Studies

I had the chance this past weekend to travel to San Francisco to take part in the 25th annual meeting and international symposium of the Association of Chinese Political Studies (ACPS).

I delivered a presentation on some research that Zhou Liao, a Ph.D. student in the Political Science Department at George Washington University, have recently been doing on political participation on the Chinese Internet.  (The punch line...It is not all about censorship and revolution.  There are actually potentially productive uses of the Internet that may benefit both citizens and government officials.)  That's Zhou and me after my talk.

I also was elected Research Director of the ACPS, a post which means I have the responsibility of promoting the research activities of the organization in the broader field of political science and Asian studies.  That's the Board of Directors, none of whom had I personally met before the weekend.

A couple of things humbled me during the conference proceedings.  In the course of listening to dozens of research presentations, I realized that although almost all of the lectures were delivered in English, relatively few of the presenters are native English speakers.  Native languages included Portuguese, German, and, of course, Mandarin.  I have a long way to go in my own language learning!

Also, I realized how little I still know about China and Chinese politics.  I was stunned to hear that China has one of the smallest police forces, per capita, in the entire world.  No sooner was that fact uttered by a speaker that I confirmed the information online.  (Hey, if Wikipedia says it is so, then it must be!)

All in all, a useful weekend professionally, even though I didn't have the chance to see any of our San Francisco friends (sorry!), nor see any of the San Francisco sites (never even set eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge!).

下次 !  Next time!

~Steve

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