Sunday, October 23, 2016

Middle East Studies in China: Achievements and Problems

By Jin Wang 

RUBIN CENTER - September 5, 2016

In the decades since 1949, China has made major progress in the area of Middle East studies. These academic achievements are reflected not only in the great volume of publications, but also in an increasing number of Middle East academic journals. The development of Chinese Middle East studies has become even more popular since Chinese president Xi Jinping introduced the “One Belt One Road” initiative in 2012. Since then, research institutes have evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, and Middle East studies publications in China have evolved from providing a basic introduction to Middle-Eastern states to in-depth studies of various Middle East issues. China has joined existing academic institutions and NGOs, such as the and Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA), as well as establishing its own, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA). However, while Middle East studies in China are now turning out a large quantity of literature, the quality is not yet up to international standards.  Middle East studies in China remains a marginal field, both in comparison with American, European, and Japanese studies within China, and with the prominence of Middle East studies in Western countries.