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About Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown is professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London, associate fellow at Chatham House, and lead member of the Europe China Research and Advice Network. He was formerly director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His latest book is China's CEO: The Rise of Xi Jinping (IB Tauris, 2016).

His previous books include Carnival China: China in the Era of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping (Imperial College Press, 2014); (as editor) EU-China Relationship: European Perspectives (Imperial College Press / World Scientific, 2015); (as editor-in-chief) Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography (Berkshire, 2014-15); Contemporary China (Palgrave, 2nd edition, June 2015); Friends and Enemies: The Past, Present and Future of the Communist Party of China (Anthem Press, 2009); Ballot Box China: Grassroots Democracy in the Final Major One-Party State (Zed Books, 2011); and Hu Jintao: China's Silent Ruler (World Scientific, 2012). Kerry Brown's website is here

Articles by Kerry Brown

This week’s front page editor

Adam Ramsay, Editor

Adam Ramsay is a co-editor of openDemocracyUK.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The uses of Chinese philosophy

The work of Confucius is a political tool for China's one-party state. But ancient Chinese thought can still jolt the modern world towards fresh awareness. 

Zhou Youguang, the real hero of modern China

The architect of China's literacy revolution maintained an open-minded curiosity well into his second century.

Lost in time: Hada, an Inner Mongolian dissident

Twenty years ago, a bookseller was turned into a living ghost. Amid the great changes shaking China, America, Britain, and the world, he still matters.

What will happen when China’s future is today?

The bright national vision promoted by China's ruling party has a dramatic twist.

China and Africa: handling 'otherness'

An evolving, complex universalism makes western discourse obsolete but also creates new challenges. We are all 'other' now.

Yang Jiang, farewell

The life of a great writer, translator and intellectual encapsulates the story of modern China.

Xi Jinping: servant or dictator?

China's communist party awaits a steer on its next leadership transition. But might the current president have other plans?

In China, a trapdoor to hell

Beijing's anti-corruption drive spells icy fear for many officials. Could this form of power yet become an unlikely agent of reform?

Xi Jinping: the new Augustus?

It will soon be clear whether China's paramount leader cares more for baubles or, like the great Roman emperor, long-term achievements.

Xi's China and Han Fei: a lesson in authority

Xi Jinping's statecraft is influenced above all by an ancient, though lesser known, Chinese proponent of austere power-politics. 

China, the Hayekian dialectic

Beijing leaders' attachment to central planning serves their underlying philosophy. But what happens if their core vision is ever realised?

China dialogue: perils of parallel

There is more talk than ever about China and the world - but also less listening. A serious upgrade of language and ideas is needed.

Leviathan comes to Beijing

What is the Communist Party of China? How can its true nature and use of power be grasped? For insight, look to the English 17th-century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. 

Xinjiang and China, tragedy foretold

China's official mindset towards its troubled, majority-Muslim region is flawed. Many outside views are simplistic. A new book makes the case for a deeper understanding to help avert disaster. 

China and the world: beyond exceptionalism

The work of an erudite Chinese writer of the 20th century, Qian Zhongshu, is an antidote to the idea of absolute "difference" between cultural worlds.

Gao Yu, and power in China

The jailing of a veteran journalist for leaking a party document is an instructive moment for those studying the mind of authority in China.

China, the idea-hungry nation

China's restless intellectual energy carries an echo of Austria-Hungary in the pre-1914 years.

Reading Xi Jinping in Beijing

The collected statements of China's president reveal a grand ambition for the country. Why then is his party's attitude to freedom so small? 

China, questions of loyalty

What determines political survival among China's party elite? Where are the traps that ensnare men like Zhou Yongkang and Ling Jihua? The ambiguities of loyalty are a useful way to bring these questions into focus. 

China, the limits of exception

China's leaders present two stories about their country to the world. The gap between them is a recipe for growing tension.

Weighing history in China

A memoir of the cultural revolution both reveals the human cost of that era in China and helps explain the curious strategy of its current leadership.

Beijing-London: in the labyrinth

A visit to the party organisation at the centre of China's anti-corruption drive is a lesson in the concealments of power.

China and Habermas's public sphere

There is a public realm, and it nurtures a society of free citizens. The painful, complex evolution of this idea in the People's Republic of China is one of the great struggles of the modern world.

China, 1989-2014: one woman's story

A Shanghai worker imprisoned following the Tiananmen events remains haunted by her experience, finds Kerry Brown.

China's past, China's present

China's rich history is a seductive resource for China's modern politicians. But its complexity can also make it a selective one, says Kerry Brown. 

China, between self and society

The need for an ethical vision to hold society together saw China's former premier Wen Jiabao look to Adam Smith. What does this reveal about the elite's thinking, asks Kerry Brown.

North Korea: elite shame, world test

A credible United Nations report on North Korea demands a humane and practical response to its people's degradation, says Kerry Brown.

China vs Facebook: intimate rivals

The Chinese state and the United States company are engaged in an epic if undeclared contest over control and wealth-creation, says Kerry Brown.

China's visitor: Cameron in Beijing

The British prime minister's trip to China was presented as a mission to expand trade links with an important partner. But whose interests was he really representing, asks Kerry Brown.

China: who is in charge?

China's policy incoherence has disturbing echoes of the prelude to Europe's great war in 1914, says Kerry Brown.

Justice in China: common ground to discuss rights

As Xiaoyu Pu says, human rights is no longer a taboo issue in China; justice never was. Discussing justice allows us to talk about the sort of issues that the rights discourse was meant to grapple with, but in a way which steers clear of cultural and value issues. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.

North Korea, the cost of paralysis

A new study of the inner workings of North Korea's regime is an important account of its dark political genius. But big states in the international system share the blame for its success, says Kerry Brown.

China, time to accept differences

The scale of change in China, and the intriguing perceptions of China's elite, persuade Kerry Brown of the need to think afresh.

China: what we think we know is wrong

There's been too much lazy categorisation. It's time to get microscopic about power in China, says Kerry Brown.

China, the politics of corruption

China's new leader Xi Jinping has gathered more power more quickly than any of his predecessors. The big test now facing him will be to translate his concern about corruption into decisive action - and the early signs are promising, says Kerry Brown.

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