About Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown is professor of Chinese politics and director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He is an associate fellow of Chatham House, and leads the Europe China Research and Advice Network. His latest books are 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); and Contemporary China (Palgrave, forthcoming, June 2015)

Kerry Brown's website is here. His previous books include The Purge of the Inner Mongolian People's Party in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1967-69: A Function of Language, Power and Violence (Brill, 2004); Struggling Giant: China in the 21st Century (Anthem Press, 2007); The Rise of the Dragon: Inward and Outward Investment in China in the Reform Period 1978-2007 (Woodhead, 2008); 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)

Articles by Kerry Brown

This week's editor

Mariam Ali

Mariam Ali is Associate Editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

China, the party-state's test

A new leadership in China will govern a system devoting huge resources to controlling its people and preserving its power. But the needs of the future require different tools and thinking, says Kerry Brown.

Bo Xilai's fall: echo and portent

The disgrace of a powerful party boss is a familiar theme in Chinese communist history. But the awareness of a new Chinese public means that the elite can no longer manage the problem so easily, says Kerry Brown.

China and Japan: a conflict of logics

The territorial dispute between regional powers has the potential to escalate. All the more reason for the Chinese elite to lead rather than follow public opinion, says Kerry Brown.

Chongqing and Bo Xilai: how China works

The downfall of party boss Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai is more than a tale of scandalous intrigue. Their fate reveals the prison of suspicion and mistrust that envelops China’s system of power, says Kerry Brown.

Gan Lulu and China: the human touch

A young model notorious for her provocative dress, revealing videos, and bumptious mother has something to teach China's cynical political world, says Kerry Brown.

China's party, Bo Xilai's legacy

The efforts of China's ruling elite to cope with the scandal that consumed a leading comrade mark a political watershed for the country, say Kerry Brown & David Goodman.

China and Syria: a question of responsibility

Beijing's refusal to support intervention in Syria in support of the rebels is founded on a mix of strategic judgment and political calculation. But this still leaves it with the challenge of defining a distinctive international role, say Kerry Brown & Cassidy Hazelbaker.

China's elite: a language deficit

Beijing is concerned by Washington's more assertive regional policy in Asia. But here as elsewhere the Chinese leadership's inability to talk to the rest of the world in a natural way blunts its capacity to respond, says Kerry Brown.

The three laws of Chinese politics

China is moving towards a major leadership transition in 2012. A process that looks opaque is governed by clear if unwritten rules, says Kerry Brown.

China’s great transition: the next party

A month that began in China with official celebrations of the communist party’s ninetieth anniversary ends with furious public criticism over its reaction to a fatal train disaster. The contrast symbolises the epic political task the party is facing, says Kerry Brown.

Inner Mongolia: China’s turbulent secret

A protest in another of China’s ethnically mixed regions highlights both Inner Mongolia’s singular history and the Beijing government’s political neglect, says Kerry Brown.

Chinese democracy: the neglected story

The evolution of new forms of governance in rural China is an important if often hidden part of the country’s major transition, says Kerry Brown.

China and the Egyptian rising

The Arab democratic awakening makes China’s communist leaders nervous. But are they right to be worried, ask Kerry Brown & Cassidy Hazelbaker.

Hada, Liu Xiaobo, and China’s fear

A powerful Chinese political elite fears those citizens who raise their voice against it. The case of a political prisoner in Inner Mongolia, as much as that of the Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, reveals the distance it has to go to temper strength with justice, say Kerry Brown & Natalia Lisenkova.

Liu Xiaobo and China's future

The Beijing elite’s vehement reaction to an imprisoned dissident’s Nobel award is a sign of its political vulnerability, says Kerry Brown.
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