Dissent in China

Talk Wednesday 15 January 2014, 7:00 PM


On 28 October in China’s iconic and politically sensitive Tiananmen Square, a car crashed through crowds and exploded, killing two tourists and three suspects. Just over a week later, on 6 November, one person died and eight were injured following a series of small blasts outside a Communist Party office in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province.

Whether these attacks where carried out by organised groups – such as the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement – or individuals, they show a chink in the armour of the ruling Communist Party, despite soaring expenditure on domestic security over the past decade.

In a year that marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square, we will be joined by a panel of experts to explore the significance of these two fatal incidents, looking at the levels of dissent in China and how it is being suppressed. We will also be asking who are those behind these attacks and what are their motivations.

Chaired by Rob Gifford, China editor of The Economist. He first went to China in 1987 as a language student, before working for the BBC and then spending seven years in Beijing and Shanghai as a correspondent for NPR.  He is the author of China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power.

The panel:

Isabel Hilton is a journalist, broadcaster and writer. She is the founder and editor of chinadialogue and has authored and co-authored several books and holds honorary doctorates from Bradford and Stirling Universities. She was appointed OBE in 2010 for her contribution to raising environmental awareness in China.

Thomas König is China & Asia Programme Coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). He works on the increasing ECFR’s profile in this area, expanding the programme’s activities and contributes to ECFR’s China & Asia research. He played an integral part in the publication of ECFRs flagship report China 3.0, a unique essay collection that sheds light on the intellectual spectrum in Chinese contemporary society.

Yuwen Wu joined the BBC World Service in 1995 and has worked in the Chinese Service, English news and African Service. She was the news and current affairs editor for the Chinese Service from 2004 to 2012 and covered many major Chinese and international events. Since 2012, she has worked as the planning editor of the BBC East Asia Hub and appears regularly on BBC World TV and radio programmes as a China analyst.

Jonathan Fenby has written seven books on China, most recently Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today which was chosen as a book of the year by the Financial Times, The Independent and Bloomberg Business Week. He is a former editor of The Observer, Reuters World Service and the South China Morning Post, which he edited from 1995-9 through the handover of Hong Kong to China. He is currently China director of the international research service Trusted Sources.

Photograph: nui7711 / Shutterstock.com