All posts by Clare Orchard

Annie Hongping Nie publishing book on the Selden Map of China

The Selden Map of China: A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty will be published in June 2019.

Dating from the seventeenth century at the height of the Ming Dynasty, the Selden Map of China reveals a country very different from popular conceptions of the time, looking not inward to the Asian landmass but outward to the sea. Discovered in the stacks of the Bodleian Library, this beautifully decorative map of China is in fact a seafaring chart showing Ming Dynasty trade routes. It is the earliest surviving example of Chinese merchant cartography and is evidence that Ming China was outward-looking, capitalistic and vibrant.

Exploring the commercial aims of the Ming Dynasty, the port city of Quanzhou and its connections with the voyages of the early traveller Zheng He, this book describes the historical background of the era in which the map was used. It also includes an analysis of the skills and techniques involved in Chinese map-making and the significance of the compass bearings, scale and ratios found on the map, all of which combine to represent a breakthrough in cartographic techniques.

The enthralling story revealed by this extraordinary artefact is central to an understanding of the long history of China’s relationship with the sea and with the wider world.

Hongping Annie Nie is a Teaching and Research Associate of the University of Oxford China Centre and a Senior Member of St Anthony’s College, Oxford.

  • Hardback
  • 96 pages, 259 x 237 mm
  • 40 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851245246
  • Publication June 2019


China, Law, and Development project: new PDRA posts available

As part of the H2020 China, Law and Development (CLD) project based at the University of Oxford, we are now advertising for three Post-Doctoral Research Associates (PDRAs).

CLD is an inter-disciplinary and multi-sited research project that aims to understand the nature of order that underlies China’s new globalism, an order that has multiple sources, one of which may be law. This project breaks new ground in analysing Chinese approaches to “law and development” in recipient or host states in the global South. “Law and development” pertains to the role of law and legal institutions in promoting economic growth and sustainability. Whereas the study of law and development has historically originated in the U.S. and Europe, as China is projected to be one of the world’s largest capital exporters in the near future, this project will examine the logics of Chinese approaches to creating environments for transactional security. Such approaches touch on a wide array of legal fields including trade and investment, corporate, environmental, labour, land, dispute resolution, tax, technology, and project finance to name a few. Reporting to Professor Matthew Erie, the PDRAs will join an international research team in developing empirical data on China’s impact on law and development in host states. Each PDRA will be responsible for conducting a case study that examines different emergent formations of China’s globalism, working in field sites in Southeast Asia (e.g. Cambodia or Thailand), Central Asia (e.g. Kazakhstan or Tajikistan), or Africa and the Middle East (e.g. Algeria or the United Arab Emirates).

The posts would suit either a) social scientists (with training in sociology, anthropology, developmental economics, political science, etc.) who focuses on law, or b) legal scholars who are trained in social scientific methods. These are full-time posts, fixed-term for 28 months starting on 1 September 2019, and including a 12 month period of fieldwork.

For more details and to apply via the University of Oxford website.

Closing date is 8 March 2019.

FORHEAD publishes report on Air Pollution in China

In Nov 2018, the Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD) released its report Air Pollution in China: an Interdisciplinary Perspective. It provides an analysis of the current state of air pollution in China, the drivers and sources of pollutants, the scientific challenge in understanding air pollution and its health effects, and an assessment of recent policies and governance challenges. The report combines scientific research results with multi-layer policy evaluation and offers an in depth case study of air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and policies to address it. It notes the impressive achievements that have been made in tackling air pollution in recent years, but argues that more detailed analysis is needed of the different costs and benefits associated with various policy measures and distributional effects.

The report is available for download on the FORHEAD website

English version:

Chinese version:


FORHEAD holds its 10th Anniversary Conference in Beijing

The Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD), of which OSGA’s Dr Jennifer Holdaway is co-Director, held its 10th anniversary conference at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 8-10 November. This year’s conference brought together natural, medical and social scientists as well as corporate, media and NGO professionals to review progress in environment and health research in China and related policy over China’s forty years of reform and opening-up.

Conference themes included: the emergence and development of environment and health as a policy issue and topic of research; focused panels on agriculture, food, the pork sector and the impacts of different development strategies on rural environmental health; China’s War on Air Pollution; and the role of NGOs in environment and health. The core FORHEAD team also discussed what can we learn from our experience in promoting and building capacity for interdisciplinary research on environment and health and priorities for future work.

For more information on the conference agenda and topics, please visit: (in Chinese)

A brief review of FORHEAD’s 10 years’ work is available here:  (in English)  (in Chinese)

FORHEAD Co-Directors Dr Jennifer Holdaway (fourth from the left) and Professor Wang Wuyi (third from the left, IGSNRR, Chinese Academy of Sciences), with other members of the Advisory Committee (Li Liping of Shantou University, Fang Jing of Kunming Medical School and Zhou Zhijia of Xiamen University- 5th, 6th and 7th from the left).

Ambassador Sylvie Bermann and Yan Lan in conversation at the China Centre on Friday 18 January

‘China Past, Present and Future: Family History and National Destiny’.



A special China Centre Conversation with Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to Russia, and Yan Lan, Chairman and CEO of Greater China and Lazard Asia (HK) Ltd., took place at the China Centre on 18 January.  The conversation was centred on Yan Lan’s book, Chez Les Yan, and Sylvie Bermann’s book, La Chine en eaux profondes.