IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No.17 | Institutes

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Labour Studies at Other Institutes

The Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong

The Centre of Asian Studies was established in November 1967. It functions as a Centre in which all departments of the University with interests related to contemporary and traditional Chinese studies, Hong Kong studies and East and Southeast Asian studies may bring together their research and their post-graduate students in interdisciplinary and other seminars. Its other functions include: serving as a Hong Kong base for overseas scholars in these field; supporting doctoral and post-doctoral research; publishing and sponsoring the publication of journals and the results of research in the field of Asian Studies; and engaging in other activities in the promotion of East and Southeast Asian Studies.

By Sun Wen-Bin

A team of researchers comprising a director, deputy director, three research officers and two post-doctoral fellows conducts independent research in the Centre's prescribed field of interest. Research activities of the Centre also include the projects of many University staff who have been appointed centre fellows. At present there are forty centre fellows. In addition, at all times there are a number of local and oversears scholars holding honorary appointments at the Centre, and engaged in research related to topics of interest to the Centre. The research work and other activities of the Centre are supported by eleven administrative and secretarial staff members.

Current materials from China and Southeast Asia are housed in the Centre's library. A collection of reference materials essential to scholarship is being built up, and these include the FBIS Daily Report from the PRC, Xinhua News Bulletins, Asian Studies journals and newspapers. Many of these materials are not readily available elsewhere. The publications of the Centre include a Monographs and an Occasional Papers Series, a Research Guide and Bibliographies Series, the Journal of Oriental Studies and the East Asian Tertiary/Quaternary Newsletter. The Centre also publishes its bi-monthly Newsletter, which aims to network the Centre's scholars and to keep the readers informed of the on-going Centre activities.
The Centre's research work is definitely heading in two directions. One is on the drastic changes in the PRC since the beginning of the reform in 1978. This includes research on the development of Chinese entrepreneurship, business tradition, and changing labour relations in China. The on-going study on labour relations focuses on the issue of labour disputes and the status quo of the Chinese working class in Post-Mao China. By collecting both qualitative and quantiative data in the Chinese mainland, the researchers are trying to examine several major problems: 1) individual and collective bargaining over wages and various social welfare benefits; 2) workplace regulations and grievance procedures; 3) internal cleavage and differential reward practice within enterprises; 4) informal social ties among workers, 5). the role of trade unions; and 6) the role of government. Related to this, the Centre's fellows have been doing research on the impact of legislation on trade unions in Hong Kong, and the development of labour relations in Hong Kong (labour's responses to industrial development and the transformation of industrial structure).
The other direction of research is on the study of China and the ASEAN countries. The aim is to link institutes in China and Southeast Asia to stimulate co-operative projects, collaboration in data collection, wider regional research, and to encourage research in this area in Hong Kong. The Centre holds an annual China-ASEAN academic conference and is going to publish a quarterly - China-ASEAN Review. The Centre also has experts running projects on Hong Kong Studies, in both historical and contemporary perspectives. It is in the process of establishing a centre of excellence on Hong Kong history and culture studies.
For further information please contact: Dr Sun Wen-Bin, Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, tel: (852) 2859 2460, fax: (852) 2559 3185, e-mail: wbsun@hkucc.hku.hk.

   IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No.17 | Institutes