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Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies

About Asia Experts Forum and International Journalism Lab

Thanks to a generous gift from Robert Y.C. Ho ’81, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College launched an International Journalism Lab in the fall of 2015. The Asia Experts Forum is the web publication of the lab. The mission of this innovative project is to train student journalists in basic reporting and interviewing skills and provide a better understanding of important contemporary Asia-related geopolitical, economic, and cultural issues in depth through interviews with leading experts, practitioners, and scholars on Asia. Each year the lab recruits eight student journalists who take a course in international journalism and work with two faculty advisers in identifying newsworthy topics and potential interviewees, preparing for the interviews, and producing high-quality transcripts. The faculty director of the lab is Professor Minxin Pei. The associate faculty director is Professor Hilary Appel. The instructor of the international journalism course is Terril Jones, a graduate of Pomona College with more than three decades of professional experience with leading U.S. news organizations. Two previous student journalists participating in the lab later interned at the Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong in the summer of 2016.

Jörg Wuttke on China’s industrial policies

Photograph of Mr. Wuttke​Jörg Wuttke is Vice President and Chief Representative of BASF China, based in Beijing. Since joining BASF in 1997, Mr. Wuttke has been responsible for helping guide the company’s investment strategies for China, negotiation of large projects and government relations. BASF has invested €6 billion in China; Sales of BASF China in 2016: €5.9 billion. 

Previous to joining BASF, Mr. Wuttke worked with ABB for 11 years; in fact his first professional encounter with China was in 1988 as the Finance and Administration Manager of ABB Beijing. In 1990, he returned to Germany as Sales Manager of ABB Power Plants Division, responsible for gas turbine sales to Africa and Russia. In 1993, he became Chief Representative ABB China in Shanghai and in 1994 moved to the President's Office of ABB China in Beijing, where he was responsible for the development and financing of large projects.

From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Wuttke was the Chairman of the German Chamber of Commerce in China. From 2007 to 2010, and again since April 2014 he is the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

In January 2011 the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), a Paris based body of major business associations that lobbies the OECD, named Mr. Wuttke to become Chairman of the BIAC China Task Force.

Since its establishment in 2013, Mr. Wuttke is member of the Advisory Board of Germany’s foremost Thing Tank on China, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), in Berlin.

Since July 2013, Mr. Wuttke is Vice Chairman of the CPCIF International Cooperation Committee, a group representing Multinational Companies in China’s Chemical Association. 

Mr. Wuttke is a Rotarian and a member of the European Bahai Business Foundation.

Mr. Wuttke holds a BA in Business Administration and Economics from Mannheim and studied Chinese in Shanghai 1982 and Taipei 1984-85. A frequent speaker on business and industry issues in China, he co-authored:
“The Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry in China” by Springer Publishing Trust in 2005;

“Energy Resources Security” by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in 2006;

Raka Ray on sex-selective abortions in India

Photograph of Raka Ray​Raka Ray (AB Bryn Mawr 1985, PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison 1993) is Professor of Sociology and South and Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the former Chair of the Institute of South Asia Studies and the Department of Sociology. On April 20, 2017, she spoke with Caroline Willian CMC '17. 

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Ray.

First, can you explain what sex-selective abortion is? How common is this in India? 

Sex-selective abortion is simply an abortion after a woman does a test to find out the sex of the fetus. A woman can take an ultrasound test or have an amniocentesis test, which is more invasive. After learning the sex of the fetus, if the result is not the preferred one, then she has an abortion. Sex-selective abortion happens much more if it’s a girl, but it could be either. 

It is difficult to know how common it is. I think even one is unacceptable. I don’t like questions that involve numbers. It makes sex-selective abortion seem less grave depending on the number. It’s a problem in and of itself, the fact that it happens at all. That said, there are different estimates. Keeping in mind that India is a huge country, some say it was zero in 1971 and then it became 6 million in the 2000s. I don’t know what data gets you at this. What I do know is that about 2 to 4 percent of pregnancies end in sex-selective abortions. They overall statistics are hard to come by, because it is technically illegal. 

David Dapice on economic growth in Vietnam

Photograph of Dr. DapiceDavid Dapice joined Tufts University in 1973 after graduating from Williams College (BA, political economy) and Harvard University (PhD, economics) He has worked extensively as a development economist in Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar and has also done significant work in Southeast Asia, Mongolia and several other nations. After serving as Chair of the Economics Department, he has worked since 1990 as the economist of the Vietnam and Myanmar Programs in the Kennedy School on a half-time basis. His work has included helping to establish the KUPEDES rural credit program in Indonesia, work at the World Bank and UN on nutrition issues, and work on energy issues in several nations. He continues to travel to Asia several times a year for work on development issues, now primarily in Myanmar and Vietnam. He stepped down from his Tufts position in 2016 but continues his work with the Harvard Kennedy School. On March 18, 2017, he spoke with Aleena Ali CMC '17.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Dapice.

What are the primary factors responsible for Vietnam’s impressive economic growth in the last few decades? What explains its resilience to the recent regional slowdown? Are there any vulnerabilities underlying its impressive economic trajectory? 

Ans. Vietnam’s initial economic gains were largely due to the replacement of socialist mechanisms with market mechanisms and decollectivization. Subsequent gains were mostly due to Vietnam joining global trade. It received investment flows and high foreign direct investment, which supported exports of manufactures. Policies supporting agriculture are now fading and substantial investments in education and health have allowed for decent wages in the export sector, relative to the wages in the agricultural sector. 

Poverty in Vietnam has fallen from 60 to 21 percent of the population over the past 20 years. To what extent has the overall reduction in poverty impacted rural areas and ethnic minorities? What are the main economic challenges to reducing further the extent of poverty and inequality in Vietnam? 

Robert Ross behind the THAAD controversy: analysis of a veteran China watcher

Photograph of Dr. Ross

Robert S. Ross is Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Associate, John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University. 1989 Professor Ross was a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. In 1994-1995 he was Fulbright Professor at the Chinese Foreign Affairs College, in 2003 he was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Strategic Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing, and in 2014 was Visiting Scholar, School of International Relations, Peking University. In addition, in 2009 he was Visiting Scholar, Institute for Strategy, Royal Danish Defence College. 

Professor Ross's research focuses on Chinese security policy, Chinese use of force, and East Asian security. His recent publications include China in the Era of Xi Jinping: Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges, Chinese Security Policy: Structure, Power, and Politics (Routledge, 2009), China’s Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics (Cornell University Press, 2008), and New Directions in the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy (Stanford University Press, 2006). His other major works Great Wall and Empty Fortress: China’s Search for Security (W.W. Norton, 1997) and Negotiating Cooperation: U.S.-China Relations, 1969-1989 (Stanford University Press, 1995). Professor Ross is the author of numerous articles in World Politics, The China Quarterly, International Security, Security Studies, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, and Asian Survey. His works translated in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and various European countries.

Professor Ross has been the recipient of research fellowships from the University of Washington and Columbia University. He has received research grants from the Social Science Research Council, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), The Asia Foundation, and The United States Institute of Peace. 

Milan Vaishnav on BJP after victory in Uttar Pradesh

Photograph of Dr. VaishnavMilan Vaishnav is a senior fellow in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His primary research focus is the political economy of India, and he examines issues such as corruption and governance, state capacity, distributive politics, and electoral behavior.

He is the author of “When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics” (Yale University Press and HarperCollins India, 2017) and co-editor (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Devesh Kapur) of the new book “Rethinking Public Institutions in India” (Oxford University Press, 2017). His work has also been published in scholarly journals such as India Review, India Policy Forum, and Latin American Research Review. He is a regular contributor to several Indian publications.

Previously, he worked at the Center for Global Development, where he served as a postdoctoral research fellow, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has taught at Columbia, Georgetown, and George Washington Universities. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He spoke with Aaron Yang CMC '17 on April 12, 2017.

Photograph and bio courtesy of CEIP.

What are the main factors that account for the (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh in March, in which the BJP managed to capture 325 out of 403 seats in the Assembly elections?

David Lampton on the Trump-Xi Mar-a-Lago summit

Photograph of Professor LamptonDavid M. Lampton is Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he also heads SAIS China, the school’s overall presence in greater China. Chairman of the The Asia Foundation, former president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and former Dean of Faculty at SAIS, he is the author of: Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989-2000 (2001); The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds (2008); and, The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy (editor, 2001). He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. Lampton has an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies, is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was winner of the Scalapino Prize in 2010, and is a Gilman Scholar at Johns Hopkins. His newest book, Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping, was published by UC Press in January 2014 and translated into Chinese by Yuan Liou Press in Taipei, Taiwan, the following year. His current field research and book-length project is: “Roads to Chinese Power: Railroad Infrastructure and Beijing’s Quest for Influence.” On April 10, 2017, he spoke with Michael Grouskay CMC '17.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Lampton.

In your opinion, how successful was last week’s summit in setting the tone for future U.S.-China relations? Specifically, where have Trump and Xi made the most progress? Where have they made little or no progress?

Haiyan Song on mass tourism in China and the future of U.S.-China travel

Photograph of Haiyan SongProfessor Haiyan Song has a strong background in Economics. His major research areas include tourism economics with a particular focus on tourism demand modelling and forecasting as well as tourism forecasting using big data. He was educated both in China and the UK and has extensive research and consultancy experiences in areas such as foreign direct investment (FDI) in China and economic issues related to China’s tourism sector. Over the years, Professor Song has been involved in a number of projects on tourism demand forecasting in the Asia Pacific region. He has also spoken frequently, as an invited speaker and presenter of research papers, at various international conferences on issues related to tourism impact assessment and forecasting. He spoke to Bryn Miller CMC '19 on April 12, 2017.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Song.

Could you give a brief background of the history of mass tourism in China? When did the country open up to a large number of foreigners, and why?

China’s mass tourism, especially domestic tourism, started in the early 1980s just after China’s economic reform. Chinese citizens, especially those from the coastal areas where more rapid economic development occurred, were able to travel within China due to these reforms. Such travel was initially mostly business travel. At that time few were able to travel for leisure or pleasure -- it was relatively rare due to the low income levels of Chinese consumers at the beginning of the period of economic reform. 

When China opened to the outside world, trade with other countries increased significantly. There was a lot of business travel, initially outbound. With the increase of personal disposable income from the economic development in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a significant increase of outbound tourists travelling from China to other nations in the Asia-Pacific and also to Europe and America. However, not every Chinese person could travel to Europe and the United States in this period due to visa restrictions. Over the last decade, the visa restrictions have lifted in many of the developed countries, so Chinese citizens can travel freely to most of these nations.

Nicole Constable on migrant workers in Hong Kong

Headshot of Dr. ConstableNicole Constable is a Professor of Anthropology and a Research Professor of International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She is former JY Pillay Professor of Social Sciences at Yale-NUS College, former Director of the Asian Studies Center and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research has focused primarily on migration and mobilities; the commodification of intimacy; gender, sexuality and reproductive labor. She is the author of four monographs including, Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers and Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and Mail-Order Marriages. Her most recent book, Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor is about Filipina and Indonesian migrant workers who become mothers in Hong Kong, and their legal and personal struggles in relation to work, family, citizenship and parenthood. She spoke with Erica Rawles CMC ’17 on April 11, 2017. 

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Constable.

How did you become interested in studying migrant workers? How did this issue become important to you?

Sang-Hyop Lee on the middle-income trap and demographic crisis in East Asia

Photograph of Dr. LeeDr. Sang-Hyop Lee is Professor in the Department of Economics and Director of Center for Korean Studies and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. He is also the Asian Team Leader of the National Transfer Accounts project. His studies focus on social welfare issues and population aging. He has published numerous articles including 10 books focusing issues on fiscal policy, population aging, and labor market with emphasis on Asian economies. His recent edited books include Aging, Economic Growth, and Old-Age Security in Asia (2011, Edward Elgar), Inequality, Inclusive Growth, and Fiscal Policy in Asia (2015, Routledge), and Social Policies in an Age of Austerity (2015, Edward Elgar), and the Demographic Dividend and Population Aging in Asia and the Pacific (2016, special issue of the Journal of the Economics of Ageing). Dr. Lee received his BA and MA in economics from Seoul National University, and PhD in economics from Michigan State University. On March 27, 2017, he spoke with Caroline Willian CMC '17.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Lee.

What kinds of strains does an aging population put on society? Are there strains that you see as distinct to East Asian countries?

Children and elderly people consume much more than they produce through their labor. For example, a five-year-old girl or boy does not work at all, nor do retired people work. During adulthood, people produce through their labor. They consume as well, but they produce much more. Therefore, there should be “intergenerational resource allocation."

There are only four ways people fund their consumption. The first way is working. Children and the elderly don’t do this. The second way is relying on family and friends. This is called private transfers. The third way is relying on government. In the United States, this includes pension benefits, medicare, and medicaid. These are also called public transfers. The fourth way is relying on saving or assets.

Badruun Gardi on Ulaanbaatar's ger districts

Photograph of Badruun Gardi​Badruun Gardi is the founder and CEO of GerHub, a nonprofit social enterprise that seeks to find innovative and creative solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the ger areas of Ulaanbaatar. Previously, Badruun worked as Executive Director of the Zorig Foundation, a leading non-governmental organization in Mongolia that focuses on good governance, youth and education, and community development. He serves on the boards of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and American University of Mongolia. Badruun is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and the inaugural class of the Asia Foundation Development Fellowship. Badruun holds a BA with a double major in Psychology and Communication from Stanford University. He spoke with Erica Rawles CMC '17 on March 29, 2017.

Can you describe your background and how you became interested in working in the ger districts in Ulaanbaatar?

I was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, but did the last three years of high school in Arlington, Virginia in the U.S. I did my undergraduate education at Stanford and the summer between my junior and senior year I got a grant to do research in Mongolia. My major was psychology with a focus on cultural psychology, so the topic I chose was interviewing ger district residents. I was always fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures. Coming from Mongolia, I wanted to go more in depth in understanding people's mentality and then compare that to other cultures as well. The reason I was interested in doing the work in the ger districts is because they provide insight into an interesting social segment. The residents of the ger districts have moved to the capital city and have become sedentary, but at the same time they’ve held onto the ger, a key relic of our nomadic herding past. Gers [or tents] are really meant for mobility and are suitable housing if you are constantly moving around, but residents in the ger districts have settled down and still live in the gers. I was doing research, talking to residents and finding out the reasons for their move from the countryside into the city. It was incredibly fascinating.