Friday, October 26, 2012

Upcoming Seminar: Rumors about Chinese Convict Laborers in Developing Countries

"A New Metaphor of China? Rumors about Chinese Convict Laborers in Developing Countries"

Speaker: YAN Hairong
Department of Applied Social Sciences
Hong Kong Polytechnic University 
Time: 12:30 p.m., Friday, 2 November 2012
Venue: Room 401 Humanities Building, New Asia College, CUHK

With Chinese and Chinese companies venturing into developing countries in the recent decades, there has been a global expansion in the discourse about China. There are thus new participants in the making of the discourse, connecting approaches that are vernacular and academic, as well as those of organized institutions, such as political parties and corporate media. Tracking the recent addition to the global discourse of China, this paper studies a globally circulated claim (rumor) that the Chinese government exports prison labour to other developing countries. Based on our fieldwork in a number of countries in Africa, this article examines the origins of the rumour, the mechanisms of its transmission at local, translocal and global levels, and the intersection of the agendas of its promoters. We analyse the rumour’s circulation in light of the larger discourse on China and developing countries and argue that China is conceived with this rumor functioning as its new metaphor. We will examine the politics of this rumor in the specific context of the present. The talk is based on, and expands upon, a recent China Quarterly article jointly authored with Barry Sautman.


Feel free to bring your box lunch or sandwich to eat during the talk

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