China Story Yearbook: Crisis

Crawford School of Public Policy
China Story Yearbook image by ANU

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 24 June 2021


China in the World Auditorium, Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU


Ari Heinrich, Esther Sunkyung Klein, Jorrit Gosens and Trang X. Ta


Australian Centre on China in the World

The year 2020 was marked by a series of rolling crises. The Australian wildfires at the start of the year were a catastrophic sign of the global climate crisis. Xi Jinping’s announcement in September that the People’s Republic of China would become carbon neutral by 2060 could help alleviate the crisis, but China has to fix its coal problem first. The big story was, of course, the global COVID-19 pandemic. China itself successfully suppressed the disease at home and recorded positive economic growth for the year — proving, at least according to the Chinese Communist Party, the ‘superiority of the socialist system’. Not everyone was convinced, with persistent questions about the CCP’s initial cover up of the outbreak, and how the lack of transparency helped it become a pandemic in the first place.

For this panel and Q&A event, we are fortunate enough to be joined by four contributors to the Yearbook. In a similar fashion to the Yearbook’s survey of the multiple crises of the year of the Metal Rat, each panelist will bring a unique perspective to the crises faced by China in 2020.

Specifically, the panelists discussion will focus on:

  • Waste and the Elderly Working Poor in Hong Kong (Dr. Trang X. Ta)

  • China’s Post-Covid-19 Stimulus: Dark Clouds, Green Lining (Dr. Jorrit Gosens); and

  • The Dao of Crisis (Dr. Esther Klein)

Ari Heinrich is the author of The Afterlife of Images: Translating the Pathological Body Between China and the West (Duke, 2008) and Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body (Duke, 2018). He is Professor of Chinese Literature and Media at the School of Culture, History and Language, ANU.

Esther Sunkyung Klein is a Lecturer in pre-modern Chinese studies at ANU, focusing on Chinese philosophy and historiography. Her book, Reading Sima Qian from Han to Song (2019), traces pre-modern Chinese attitudes toward authorship and the representation of historical events.

Jorrit Gosens received his PhD from RCEES, an institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU. He researches renewable energy transitions and innovation globally, including in China.

Trang X. Ta is a cultural and medical anthropologist with research and teaching interests in healing regimes; the cultural politics of food and nutrition; culinary medicine; ageing and the elderly; death and dying; science and technology studies; waste and discard studies; and theories of labour. Her current projects examine public narratives of medical tragedy and moral economies of charity in contemporary China and informal street economies of recycling and salvaging waste among the elderly working poor in Hong Kong.

Yearbooks will be on sale at this event for $45.00. Find out more about the China Story Yearbook 2020: Crisis at

Updated:  20 May 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team