You are here

News from NIAS



Yan Wang, PhD, Faculty of Educational Sciences University of Helsinki
Comparative Study of Primary Science Curriculla in Finland and China in respect to goals for scientific literacy and 21st century competencies

I am a doctoral student at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. My doctoral thesis examines how the National Primary Science Curricula in Finland and China (a) specify the objectives of scientific literacy (b) have adopted the concept of 21st century competencies. The discussion is based on theories of curriculum and reflections on the three visions of scientific literacy. My research interests include comparative studies, science education, and curriculum studies.


Zhang Chuanyue, PhD, East China Normal University (Guest PhD, Aarhus University).

Community Education Development in Rural China Under The Returning Flow of The Middle Class A Case Study of Moon Village

I am a Phd student of East China Normal University, I am now a guest Phd student of Department of Global Studies of Aarhus University. My major is Education and my current research topic is Community Education Development in Rural China Under the Returning Flow of The Middle class ----A case study of Moon Village. The purpose of the research is to identify educational factors which have enhanced rural residents’ self-directed learning abilities influenced by the new villagers come from urban area.






Erkki Viitasaari, PhD, University of Helsinki.

Standing out Among Giants - National Museums in Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau.

I am a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, Department of World Cultures, East Asian Studies. In my research I study the national museums of Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau - all small nations compared to their immediate neighbors in what I have defined as Greater Southeast Asia. All these nations have a history under Japanese rule, the depiction of which is one of my topics. Another one is how the poorly-documented pre-European period is presented in the exhibitions.


An interview from 2000 with China’s Vice President Xi Jinping. Translated into Western language for the first time

At the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China to be held in November 2012, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to be elected as the new Secretary General of the party.
In August 2000, Xi Jinping gave a rare interview to the Chinese magazine Zhonghua Ernü. NIAS, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies hereby issues a translation of the interview in Danish and English. To our knowledge this the first time the interview has been translated into a Western language. The Danish version is a translation of the original interview in Chinese while the English version is translated from the Danish version. The translated interview was published in the Danish newspaper Politiken on Sunday 28 October 2012.
In the interview Xi Jinping tells about his background, his upbringing and his perception of good governance. In a personal and at times riveting way Xi Jinping explains how he during the Cultural Revolution only 15 years old was sent to the countryside for 7 years – 1,000 km away from Beijing – in order to learn from the peasants while his father was under political criticism. Moreover, Xi Jinping talks about the promotion of officials and corruption.
The interview is translated by the sinologists Carsten Boyer Thøgersen and Susanne Posborg. Carsten Boyer Thøgersen is a former Danish diplomat and Consul-General in Shanghai, posted for 20 years in China and now an associate of NIAS. Susanne Posborg, University of Aarhus, is the most often used Danish translator of Chinese novels and literature.
Researchers and news media are welcome to quote from the English translation if NIAS is stated as the source.

Remark, October 2018

In 2012, the same year as Xi Jinping was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, NIAS posted this translation on our web-site.
Today, six years later, Xi Jinping has become one of the most important Chinese leaders since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
The translation from 2012 comprised 95% of the 2000 interview with Xi Jinping. The updated translation is the full text of the interview. Moreover, the number of footnotes have been expanded considerably.
Geir Helgesen
Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
University of Copenhagen

On the Xi Jinping interview in 2000.                       

By Carsten Boyer Thøgersen and Susanne Posborg
Officially, the interview has never been promoted by the Chinese authorities. Neither in 2000 nor today. The interview is accessible on Chinese web-sites and was in February 2012 once more published in another Chinese commercial magazine, owned by a Xi’an based Chinese shareholding media company. 
If interviewed today, Xi Jinping would probably have phrased himself differently. But the interview was already published 12 years ago, has been available since then and known to an increasingly larger Chinese public. What can the Chinese authorities do? They do nothing and do not comment on the interview.
Xi Jinping was 47 years old and governor of Fujian province when he gave the interview in 2000. At the time he was relatively unknown and not even a full member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. It is not often but neither unusual that a governor of a Chinese province gives a long personal interview to a Chinese magazine. Looking back Xi Jinping gave the interview two years before the party leadership –known for its long-term planning – was to decide on younger candidates to be promoted at the party congress in 2002 and later – at the following party congress in 2007 – to select the possible successor of Hu Jintao in 2012. In 2007 Xi Jinping became a member of standing committee of the Politbureau, indicating he was to become Hu Jintao’s successor in 2012.
Giving the interview back in 2000, the purpose of Xi Jinping was hardly to make himself known as a potential young candidate for promotion. The party itself is fully aware of possible candidates for the party’s top positions and does not welcome reminders. Most likely Xi Jinping wanted to make sure that his background was fully understood, told properly and to stress three things: 1) During the Cultural Revolution he stayed for seven years in the countryside under difficult conditions and only by his own efforts became a member of the party and enrolled at university. That is to say not by political connections and in spite of the fact that his father at the time was under political criticism. 2) In 1982, he chose to give up a comfortable career in Beijing and instead started from the bottom as deputy secretary in a small provincial district. 3) To appear as a person in close contact to ordinary people.
The extraordinary thing about the interview is to hear what China’s new leader said in 2000 in an open and direct conversation. There is nothing unusual in what Xi Jinping said in 2000. Neither read in 2012. But we hear Xi Jinping tell about personal experiences in words he hardly would use today. We hear about his views on good governance, promotion of officials and corruption. The interview gives the reader a more authentic and unfiltered picture of the person to become China’s next leader.

Xi Jinping: My road into politics.

Interview from the summer of 2000 in the Chinese journal Zhonghua Ernü.
Xi Jinping at the time was 47 years old and governor in the Fujian province.
Yang Xiaohuai was the editor of Zhonghua Ernü.
Copyright © 2000 by中华儿女,北京市朝阳区东三环南路98号韩建丹阳大厦15层,邮编:100021
Xi Jinping: Welcome here.[1] I have previously said no thank you to personal interviews innumerable times. We all have different tasks. If you do not mention everybody, then you are only emphasizing yourself. You can also put it differently: When we are all doing our duty within our respective area of responsibility, then it is the community that creates the results. Therefore, it makes no sense mentioning the individual. That is the reason why I have refused giving personal interviews. There are also people who write autobiographies. I do not do that either.
Yang Xiaohuai: I thought so. That kind of thing can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Xi: Particularly if you look at the popular media. You write about a person’s background. Who are her parents? Who is she married to? She is such and such a person. What’s the use of that? That kind of information is not news. It is something everybody knows already. You make a little soup of it. It is unimportant.
Yang: Obviously that kind of publicity is unimportant and superfluous. But as a high-level official[2] you are in the focus of the formation of public opinion. The press and the media can help people better understand your work. That kind of public mention I think is important.
Xi: Of course you can write about leading officials. To a certain extent. But you must preserve the sense of proportions. There is a tendency to write that a leading official is so and so perfect and so and so excellent, but in reality nobody is perfect and consummate. Take a person and describe him as excellent. Nobody will believe it. An individual’s ability to get results on his own is limited. Without the community and without cooperation you will achieve nothing. Therefore, I believe that it is better to focus on the community and cooperation.
Yang: I fully agree with you. The writing about high-level official shall also include the relation between the person and the community as well as the relation between the person and leading groups. The work of our Communist Party concerns the whole community and never stops. Our generation stands on the shoulders of previous generations. Our achievements belong to the community and leading groups.

Xi Jinping: Min vej ind i politik: Interview fra sommeren 2000

På Kinas kommunistiske partis 18. partikongres, der indledes den 8. november 2012, forventes Kinas nuværende vicepræsident Xi Jinping at afløse Hu Jintao som partiets nye generalsekretær. På Kinas Nationale Folkekongres’ møde i marts 2013 vil Xi Jinping også overtage Hu Jintaos post som Kinas præsident. Xi Jinping forventes at fortsætte som Kinas leder de kommende ti år.
I august 2000 gav Xi Jinping sit eneste interview nogensinde til et kinesisk tidsskrift. NIAS, Nordisk Insitut for Asien Studier bringer nedenfor interviewet, oversat direkte fra kinesisk til dansk. Det er den første oversættelse af interviewet nogensinde til et vestligt sprog, og det blev bragt, stort opsat, i det danske dagblad Politiken, søndag d. 28/10 2012..
I interviewet fortæller Xi om sin baggrund, opvækst og opfattelse af god embedsførelse. I personlige og til tider medrivende vendinger fortæller Xi Jinping, hvordan han som femtenårig under Kulturrevolutionen oplevede at blive sendt på landet i syv år – tusind kilometer fra Beijing – for at lære af bønderne, mens hans far samtidig var under voldsom politisk kritik. Xi Jinping fortæller også om sit syn på ledelse, korruption og om, hvorledes organisationer bedst forfremmer embedsmænd. Mange af Xi Jinpings observationer er almengyldige og også meningsfulde i Vesten.
Interviewet er oversat fra kinesisk til dansk af sinologerne Carsten Boyer Thøgersen og Susanne Posborg. Carsten Boyer Thøgersen er tilknyttet NIAS og tidligere kontorchef i Udenrigsministeriets Kina Task Force og har arbejdet over 20 år i Kina, senest som dansk generalkonsul i Shanghai. Susanne Posborg er tilknyttet Aarhus Universitet og den mest anvendte oversætter af kinesisk litteratur til dansk.
Nyhedsmedier er velkomne til at citere fra interviewet, såfremt NIAS nævnes som kilde.

Tilføjelse – oktober 2018

I 2012, samme år som Xi Jinping blev udnævnt til generalsekretær for Kinas kommunistiske parti, bragte NIAS dette interview på vores hjemmeside.
I dag, seks år senere, er Xi Jinping blevet en af Kinas mest fremtrædende ledere siden oprettelsen af Folkerepublikken Kina i 1949.
Oversættelsen fra 2012 omfattede 95% af interviewet med enkelte fodnoter. Den nye oversættelse omfatter hele teksten. Samtidig er noteapparatet udvidet betydeligt.
Geir Helgesen
Nordisk Institut for Asien Studier
Københavns Universitet

Om Xi Jinpings interview sommeren 2000.

Af Carsten Boyer Thøgersen og Susanne Posborg
Fra officiel kinesisk side og i de officielle kinesiske medier promoveres interviewet ikke i dag, har aldrig været det og blev det heller ikke i 2000. Interviewet indgår således ikke i nogen officiel omtale af Kinas kommende leder. Men interviewet er tilgængeligt på mange kinesiske hjemmesider både i sin fulde længde og i uddrag og blev senest i februar 2012 udgivet i Kina af et kommercielt tidsskrift, ejet af en børsnoteret kinesisk mediekoncern. Det pågældende nummer af tidsskriftet blev i maj 2012 købt af den ene af de to oversættere af interviewet i kiosken på en rasteplads på motorvejen mellem Shanghai og Hangzhou. 
Den kinesiske ledelse, herunder Xi Jinping selv, har i dag næppe problemer med interviewet. En del af interviewet ville partiet – og ikke mindst Xi selv – dog givetvis formulere anderledes i dag. Men interviewet har allerede gennem tolv år været kendt i en stadig bredere kinesisk offentlighed. Hvad kan man gøre? Man gør ingenting og undlader officielt at kommentere interviewet.
Da Xi Jinping i 2000 gav interviewet til et kinesisk tidsskrift var han 47 år og guvernør i Fujianprovinsen, var relativt ukendt og ikke en gang fuldt medlem af kommunistpartiets centralkomité på godt 200 medlemmer. Det er ikke ofte, men heller ikke usædvanligt, at kinesiske provinsguvernører giver personlige interviews til tidsskrifter. Set i bakspejlet gav Xi Jinping interviewet på et tidspunkt, hvor man i partiledelsen – med dens kendte langstidsplanlægning – vurderede yngre partimedlemmer, der skulle promoveres ved partikongressen i 2002, for senere på næste partikongres i 2007 at pege på Hu Jintao’s mulige efterfølger i 2012. Xi Jinping blev netop i 2007 indirekte udpeget til Hu Jintaos efterfølger i 2012.
Xi Jinpings formål med interviewet i 2000 var næppe at gøre opmærksom på sig selv. Partiledelsen kender selv feltet af mulige kandidater til partiets topposter. Og huskesedler er ikke velkomne. Formålet har formentlig været at sikre, at hans egen usædvanlige historie blev fortalt på den rigtige måde og at han fik understreget tre vigtige ting. 1) under Kulturrevolutionen klarede han som helt ung et syv års vanskeligt ophold på landet og blev ved egen indsats medlem af partiet og optaget på et universitet, dvs. uden hjælp fra politiske forbindelser og på trods af, at hans højtplacerede far på det tidspunkt var under voldsom politisk kritik. 2) han fravalgte i 1982 en lovende og behagelig karriere i Beijing og startede i stedet fra bunden af det kinesiske hierarki som funktionær i et lille distrikt ude i en af provinserne. 3) at fremstå som en jordnær praktisk politiker med tæt kontakt til befolkningen.
Det usædvanlige ved interviewet er at høre hvad Kinas kommende leder sagde i 2000 i en særdeles åben samtale. Der var intet politisk usædvanligt i det, Xi sagde i 2000, heller ikke læst i 2012. Men vi hører hans stemme omkring personlige oplevelser i en sprogtone, som han næppe ville bruge i dag, hvor han er kommet højere op i det politiske system. Vi hører hans personlige meninger og holdninger til god embedsførelse, forfremmelser og korruption. Det giver os et autentisk og ufiltreret billede af den person, der snart bliver Kinas leder.

Xi Jinping: Min vej ind i politik

Interview fra sommeren 2000 i det kinesiske tidsskrift Zhonghua Ernü.
Xi Jinping var da 47 år og guvernør i Fujian provinsen.
Yang Xiaohuai var Zhonghua Ernü’s redaktør
Copyright © 2000 中华儿女,北京市朝阳区东三环南路98号韩建丹阳大厦15层,邮编:100021
Xi Jinping: Velkommen hertil[1]. Jeg har tidligere sagt nej tak til personlige interviews. Utallige gange. Jeg synes, det er forkert at sætte fokus på den enkelte. Vi har alle forskellige opgaver. Hvis du ikke omtaler alle, så fremhæver du kun dig selv. Man kan også sige det på en anden måde: Når vi alle gør vores pligt inden for hvert vores ansvarsområde, så er det fællesskabet, der skaber resultaterne. Derfor giver det ingen mening at omtale den enkelte. Det er grunden til, at jeg har afslået at give personlige interviews. Der er også folk, der skriver selvbiografier. Det gør jeg heller ikke.
Yang Xiaohuai: Jeg tænkte nok, det forholdt sig sådan. Den slags omtale kan let føre til misforståelser.
Xi: Navnlig hvis man ser på de populære medier. Man skriver om en persons baggrund. Hvem er hendes forældre? Hvem er hun gift med? Hun er sådan og sådan en person. Hvad skal man bruge det til? Den slags oplysninger er ikke nyheder. Det er noget, alle ved i forvejen. Man koger lidt suppe på det. Det er ligegyldigt.
Yang: Det er klart, at den slags omtale er ligegyldig og overflødig. Men som højt placeret embedsmand[2] er De i fokus i den offentlige meningsdannelse. Pressen og medierne kan hjælpe folk til bedre at forstå Deres arbejde. Den slags presseomtale, synes jeg, er meget vigtig.
Xi: Selvfølgelig kan man skrive om ledende embedsmænd. I et vist omfang. Men man skal bevare fornemmelsen for proportionerne. Der er en tendens til at skrive, at en ledende embedsmand er så og så perfekt og er så og så fremragende, men i virkelighedens verden er ingen perfekt og fuldkommen. Tag en person og beskriv ham som fremragende. Der er ingen, der vil tro på det. Det enkelte menneskes gennemslagskraft er begrænset. Uden fællesskabet og uden samarbejde, opnår du ingenting.

New workplace student at NIAS

Kasper Sand Olsen will be at NIAS until Summer 2019.

Kasper writes:
I am a masters student at the department of political science at University of Copenhagen. Last year I spent a semester studying International Studies at University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China.

Now, I am writing my masters thesis on the relation between China and Denmark in the Arctic region. My main focus will be on the Danish 'Arctic Strategy' and how Danish policy makers balance the growing Chinese attention towards the Arctic region including Greenland. I am also interested in analysing how the Danish relationship to Greenland might affect diplomatic relations to China. I am very happy to be writing my thesis at NIAS.


Ernils Larsson, PhD, Uppsala University.

Constitutional Secularism in Japan and the "Shinto Right", 1997-2018.

Ernils Larsson is a PhD candidate in the history of religions at Uppsala University, Sweden. In his dissertation research he explores how the categories of ‘religion’ and ‘Shinto’ have been interpreted and negotiated in Japanese courts of law during the postwar period, with a particular focus on the 1997 Supreme Court ruling on the Ehime Tamagushiryo case. His research situates the legal debates on state-Shinto relations within the context of postwar Japanese nationalism, where vestiges of prewar ‘State Shinto’ are often presented as being something inherently different from ‘religion’, something intimately connected to Japanese identity.





Xiao (Alvin) Yang, PhD, University of Kassel.

Theorizing the (Changing) Global Order: Emerging Chinese IR Theories and the Belt and Road Initiative

Xiao (Alvin) Yang is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University of Kassel in Germany. His dissertation examines the emerging Chinese international relations (IR) and international political economy (IPE) theories and the Belt and Road initiative. Moreover, it aims to theorize the current (changing) global order where there are on-going tensions among globalization, regional integration and the resurgence of nationalism. His research interests include global IR/IPE theories, Chinese and Canadian IR/IPE theories, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, global governance, global political economy, research methods, econometrics, and philosophy of science/s and history/s.

Before he pursues studies in social sciences, he was a passionate musician and studied music at York University, Canada, where he obtained Bachelor of Fine Arts with honours. He studied music with several world-renowned musicians, such as Jim Blackley (Jazz), Trichy Sankaran (Indian music), Barry Romberg (Jazz drumming), Rick Lazar (Brazilian and Latin music), Kwasi Dunyo (Ghanaian music), and Steve Mancuso (drumset and world percussions).

In 2010, he took a summer course, sociology of religions (taught by Joseph Bryant), offered by the University of Toronto, which has made him deeply interested in social sciences, and has subsequently led him to shift his studies from music to social sciences. Afterwards, he spent one-year at Stockholm University in Sweden where he studied political science, business management and anthropology as an exchange student. To deepen his knowledge of economics, he went to the Berlin School of Economics and the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China where he obtained a master’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in international business respectively.

To better understand German and French philosophy and European history, he learned German at Heidelberg Universität, Humboldt Universität and München Universität, as well as French at Université Jean Monnet in France, Western University at Trois-Pistoles and Laval Université in Quebec.

He has written on a variety of subjects, ranging from music to philosophy, from politics to economics. His newest academic writing, “Theorizing BRICS: Does BRICS Conform or Provide an Alternative to the Current Global Order?”, will be published in Xing Li edited book, The International Political Economy of BRICS, Routledge (2019). He was a visiting fellow at the Center for East and South-East Asia Studies at Lund University in Sweden and currently is one at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.



Call for Applications: SUPRA Scholarship 2 – 13 January 2019

The SUPRA scholarship is designed to support MA and PhD students working on a thesis and includes:

- Inexpensive travel to and from Copenhagen, where Nordic Institute for Asian Studies is located
- Acc
ommodation in a NIAS room at Nordisk Kollegium with full board for the whole period
A chance to be part of a dynamic research environment and get supervision on your thesis
- Your own workspace at NIAS for you to immerse yourself in your project 

Deadline for applications is 3 December 2018.


Sunita Shrestha, MA Student, University of Oslo.

Exploring perceptions, practices and possibilities of safe delivery among women in upper Mugu, Nepal.

I am currently enrolled as a master´s degree student in community health at the University of Oslo.  As being a student of public health, I have a great compassion to work in the fields of international health policy, reproductive health, gender equality, and woman rights.  My current master thesis was carried out in upper Mugu which is one of the remotest areas of Nepal and very few researches have been conducted in the past. This study aims to explore the perceptions, practices, and possibilities of safe delivery among that society which is in the periphery or beyond the reach of functional health institutions. At the same time, its own socio-ecological uniqueness makes it interesting to observe its influences on their childbirth decision making from generation to generation.

Vardan Karki, Ma Student, University of Oslo.

Factors influencing Utilization of Antenatal Care Services in Rural Health Center in Upper Mugu, Western Nepal.

I am a second-year student studying master’s in International Community Health in University of Oslo. Currently, I am working on my master’s project which focuses on various aspects of the socio-cultural context and existing health system regarding maternity services to explore health seeking behavior of the women during pregnancy in rural villages in upper Mugu, Nepal. Recently, I have visited villages in Mugu, Nepal and stayed two months for my data collection. Upper Mugu is one of the most rural area in Nepal lacking basic facilities as transport, electricity and proper education and health services. The area in heavily influenced by Tibetan culture and religion. The women living in these areas have their own perception, traditions and practices during pregnancy and delivery. This study will explore how all these factors have impact on utilization of health services during pregnancy.

NIAS Post Doc Researcher Lau Blaxekjær in Korea this week

Lau Blaxekjær has been invited to Korea to give two presentations - one for the students at KAIST Graduate School of Green Growth, and one wrap-up keynote at the 5th Annual Seoul Climate-Energy Conference 2018.

In the wrap-up session, Lau Blaxekjær will comment on lessons learned and next steps for P4G, Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals: P4G seeks to combine the successes and experiences from the last decade’s (2008-2018) focus on green growth with the new 2030 Agenda’s focus on Sustainable Development Goals. The 4 Gs – Green Growth and the Global Goals – are achieved through Partnerships. But what does this mean?

SDG number 17: “Partnerships for the Goals” contains 19 implementation-focused targets on finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, and systemic issues. The overall aim seems to be to get existing and new partnerships to support developing countries towards sustainable development (within all SDGs). SDG Partnerships are broadly defined as North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation and as public, public-private and civil society partnerships.

Lau’s presentation will focus on insights from his research on green growth partnerships and will deliver and explain three recommendations for P4G going forward.

  1. P4G partnerships should clearly identify which partner takes on the role of “Internal Governance Unit” and clearly define the terms of reference.
  2. P4G partnerships should include “boundary spanners” or “honest brokers” in all phases of the partnership. Boundary spanners or honest brokers could be from academia.
  3. P4G partnerships should have a clear plan for capacity-building in developing countries, e.g. through inclusion of developing country partners in partnership set-up and implementation and inclusion of on-the-ground work and experiences.

Other speakers include the Korean deputy-minister of Environment, Katherine Richardson, Professor, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen and Thomas Lehmann, Ambassador of Denmark to Republic of Korea.


Mingming Shi, MA Student, University of Iceland

The Role of China in the Greenland Independence Question

Growing up in Southern China, Mingming Shi moved to Iceland and started her career in the Arctic region four years ago. She has worked extensively in the tourism sector in Iceland and is registered as a graduate student in West Nordic Studies at the University of Iceland. Her interest in the Arctic covers Arctic political economy and trans-regional cooperation. In 2017, she spent two months in Nuuk, Greenland, researching on the economic relationship between Greenland and China. Currently, she has been working on her MA thesis on The Role of China in the Greenland Independence Question.