You are here

News from NIAS

New workplace student at NIAS

Johan Schoonhoven is one of our new workplace students at NIAS.

Johan is a Master's student from the Centre of East and South East Asian Studies at Lund University, and he writes:

In my thesis, I focus on South Korea’s development path and current challenges to contemporary society characterized by high youth unemployment, increasing economic inequality and lack of social mobility. In specific, I investigate the meaning of the emerging expression “Hell Joseon” and how language might reflect and/or ignite societal change. My thesis work is based on in-depth interviews with Koreans in their 20s and 30s.

Welcome to our two new SUPRA Students!

Stephanie Winkler, PhD student, Stockholm University 

Power shift East Asia – the Politics of Soft Power

My PhD project is concerned with the puzzle of the “stickiness” of soft power. The recent years have seen a rapid proliferation of academic work on soft power, specifically related to China and Asia, even though the concept and its utilisation in academic research and policy making has from its very inception been sharply criticized from nearly all academic traditions. How is it possible that despite bad policy, bad research practices and bad experience, academics and policy makers still hold on to the concept of soft power? My project suggests that understanding this paradox on the “stickiness” of soft power requires an analysis of the intentional practical use of reflexivity, in other words, the politics of soft power. 

Rather than treating concepts such as soft power as innocent, a-political or value-neutral conceptual tools to make sense of a reality “out there”, in my project I intend to trace the reification processes of the concept of soft power in East Asia and the consequences of such politics of soft power for East Asia and our understanding of the impending “power shift”. 

Matti Puranen, PhD student, University of Jyväskylä

Towards a World Without Borders?: Tianxia and the theory of world politics with Chinese characters

Matti Puranen (MSSc & MA) is a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is studying contemporary Chinese political thought, focusing on the "tianxia" discourse.


Cheng Zeng is a PhD candidate in Intercultural Communication at the University of Jyväskylä. He draws on both qualitative and quantitative methods to study how organizational dissent, a concept that has been studied extensively in western literature, functions in a different cultural setting. More specifically, he explores the influence of national and organizational culture on employee voice behavior and perception of freedom of speech in workplaces in China.



Xinrong Ma is a PhD candidate from LIAS (Leiden University Insitute for Area Studies), Leiden University, the Netherlands. Xinrong’s PhD research focuses on labour migrants in China, in particular, ethnic Yi labour migrants in the Pearl River Delta area of China. Her research focuses on examining the co-ethnic brokerage system of ethnic Yi labour migrants from the lens of the intersectionality of ethnicity and class.

We welcome two new SUPRA students at NIAS

The next two weeks we have the pleasure of welcoming:

Fabien Schuessler, MA student, University of Turku

Tourist Attraction and City Branding through old town renovation in the case of Chengdu

Domestic tourism in China has grown significantly, impacting consumption in China and affected by shifting travel motivations. Amidst strong inter-urban competition, Chinese cities are striving to adapt and cater to tourists' demands and promote themselves. Fabien explores how old town gentrification in the case of Chengdu as part of the city's place-making and branding strategies was successful at that.

Henrik Nykvist, MA student, University of Oslo

Working Title: National Policies to Promote the Employment of College Graduates in China

In recent years the increasing unemployment rate of college graduates has become a problematic challenge for the Chinese Communist Party. The policy National Policies to Promote the Employment of College Graduates in China was introduced in order to give specific guidelines to graduates as a means to deal with this issue. Henrik is currently investigating how Chinese graduate students from two different universities in China perceive and utilize this policy.

We welcome two new SUPRA students at NIAS!

Kati Hiltunen, MA student, University of Helsinki

The country image of Finland in China

I am a M.A. student of Chinese studies at the University of Helsinki. With a B.Sc. degree in human geography, I am interested in topics such as nationalism and constructing identities, and am at the moment writing my master’s thesis on Finland’s country image in China. For my thesis I am conducting a survey in China to look into what Finland is known for and what different components and aspects its country image consists of in the Chinese markets.


Suvi Kurki, MA student, University of Turku

Finding a New Narrative of Chinese Business Leadership

The research goal is to determine how Chinese business leadership is viewed by young Chinese people. The study seeks to answer the following questions: How do Chinese university business students talk about leadership? and What kind of differences are there between the Chinese business leadership described by Western scholars and young Chinese people? The data consists of 112 empathy-based stories written by Chinese university students. 


New SUPRA students at NIAS

Sidsel Rasmussen, PhD, University of Aarhus

Perceptual assimilation of Mandarin Chinese consonants by native Danish listeners

“My project aims to map the potential problems of native Danish speaking learners’ spoken Mandarin Chinese (MC)  by assessing their perception, discrimination and production of  selected MC phones. I am particularly interested in the rich MC inventory of fricatives and affricates which probably constitute the most novel sounds for native Danish learners of MC. My first experiment investigates the perceptual assimilation of (nearly) the full set of MC initial consonants as perceived by native Danish speakers without any experience with MC. The assimilation patterns yield predictions about discrimination problems of which some resonate anecdotal classroom observations.”


Anh Nguyen Quoc, MA, University of Helsinki

The politics of land grabbing in Vietnam

New SUPRA students at NIAS

Saana Santalahti, MA student, Helsinki

Language attitudes of young Okinawans

I am a MA student from the University of Helsinki, majoring in East Asian Studies. I'm interested in sociolinguistics, language endangerment and language education. Currently I'm working on a MA thesis related to the language attitudes of young Okinawans and the revitalisation of the Ryukyuan languages.


Anna Bruun Pedersen, MA student, Aarhus

The self-identity of Japanese Ha-fus/Doubles and how they are constructed in the Japanese society

I am currently working on my MA thesis focusing on the differences between the self-identity of bi-ethnic individuals (known in Japan as haafu, doubles or mixed-roots, among others) and the portrayal and construction of them in Japanese media.


FES Film Migration and Development

Nias guest researcher Bonn Juego participated in a conference on "Migration and Development: Global Perspectives, Progressive Approaches" organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung early December 2016.

Short videos of the conference have been made


Fudan-European Centre for China Studies extends its contract for another 4 years

Laying a New Milestone

Fudan President Xu Ningsheng visited Copenhagen University and extended the contract of Fudan-European Centre for China Studies for a second term.
From 23rd to 24th of November, 2016, Professor Xu Ningsheng, President of Fudan University visited University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and extended the contract of Fudan-European Centre for China Studies for a second term of four years (2017-2021).  His visit was accompanied by Dr. Zhu Chouwen, director of Fudan Foreign Affairs Office, Prof. Chen Wen, dean of School of Public Health, Dr. Zhang Yi, executive dean of Fudan Development Institute (FDDI) and Prof. Liu Jiping from School of International Relations and Public Affair. The delegation was well received at UCPH and the visit has created a new chapter for Fudan Center and generated new dynamics for Fudan-UCPH collaboration.

Sanae Suzuki Guest Researcher at NIAS

Monday, October 31, 2016 to Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sanae Suzuki will be a guest researcher at NIAS from November 2016 - October 2018. Her research will be on conflict management by regional organizations.

Sanae is a research fellow at Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO). IDE-JETRO is a research institution dealing with political, economic and social issues in developing economies and countries. She has been taken the part of international relations in Southeast Asia, in particular, the role of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in this region. In 2011, she received PhD at University of Tokyo. Her PhD thesis analyses how the member states of ASEAN accommodate their conflicting interests in political-security fields from institutional perspectives. In 2014, she published the thesis chapters into the academic book titled ASEAN Governance as a Consensus-Building Model: the Chairship System in International Politics, University of Tokyo Press, 2014. This book is written in Japanese, if you can read the summary of the argument in English, please access to Chairship System and Decision Making by Consensus in International Agreements: The Case of ASEAN,” IDE Discussion Papers, No.471, July 2014.  (

As a gust researcher at NIAS, Sanae will work on the research topic ‘conflict management by regional organizations.’ With her research on ASEAN, she attempts to conduct comparative analysis including not only ASEAN, but also other regional organizations in the world, in particular in Africa, to investigate how decisions on conflict management are made in regional organizations.