China's rise in spotlight during 2015-16 Sichel Series

Contact: Cara Barnes
Photo of Murray Scot Tanner.


KALAMAZOO—Six experts on China will take a close look at the emergence of the Asian nation as an economic and political superpower in the coming months when they visit Western Michigan University as part of the restructured Werner Sichel Lecture Series.

The series kicks off on Sept. 23 with Dr. Murray Scot Tanner, former WMU professor of political science and currently a senior research scientist in the China Studies Division at CNA Corp., a nonprofit research and analysis organization in Arlington, Virginia. Tanner's presentation is titled "The U.S. and the China Challenge." This year's series carries the theme "The Impacts of China's Rise on the Pacific and the World." Presentations are on Wednesdays and have been shifted to noon and include a light lunch reception after the lecture.

All presentations are free and open to the public and are from noon to 1:15 p.m. in 2028 Brown Hall, with the exception of the Nov. 11 lecture, which will be in 3502 Knauss Hall.

Murray Scot Tanner

Tanner holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Michigan. A renowned China expert, he served on the WMU faculty from 1990 to 2004 and won a Teaching Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002.

Tanner has written and published widely on Chinese and East Asian politics and security issues, including internal security, social unrest, policing and political reform in China, as well as China's military doctrine, emerging national security interests and policy-making institutions and China's security relations with India and South Asia, Russia, North Korea and Taiwan.

He is the author or co-author of many books and monographs, including "China's Emerging National Security Interests and their Impact on the People's Liberation Army;" "Distracted Antagonists, Wary Partners: China and India Assess their Security Relations;" "China Confronts Afghan Drugs: Law Enforcement Views of the Golden Crescent;" "A Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Dispute;" "Chinese Responses to U.S. Military Transformation and Implications for the Department of Defense;" "Chinese Economic Coercion Against Taiwan: A Tricky Weapon to Use;" and "The Politics of Lawmaking in China."

His article and book chapters have appeared in such journals as The Washington Quarterly, The China Quarterly and The China Journal. In addition to serving at CAN Corp. and WMU, Tanner has served as senior political scientist at the RAND Corp. and as the co-chairman's senior staff member for former U.S. Sen. and Rep. Byron Dorgan on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. A sought-after lecturer, Tanner has made presentations at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and George Washington universities. His research has received attention from other scholars, the United States government, international human rights organizations and major media covering China.

Other Sichel Series speakers

Other dates, presenters and topics in this year's series are:

  • Oct. 7: Dr. Wing Thye Woo, professor of economics, University of California at Davis, "An Assessment of Napoleon's Prediction that an Awakened China Would Shake the World."
  • Nov. 11: Dr. Barry J. Naughton, professor of Chinese economy and the Sokwanlok Chair of Chinese International Affairs in the graduate school of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, "Is there a Xi Jinping Model of Economic Reform?"
  • Feb. 24: Dr. Mary E. Lovely, professor of economics and the Melvin A Eggers Economics Faculty Scholar in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, "China's Evolving State Enterprises."
  • March 30: Dr. James G. Wen, professor of economics and international studies at Trinity College, "Why is the Exit Right the Key to the Birth of China's Land Market?"
  • April 13: Dr. Xiaodong Zhu, professor of economics at the University Toronto, "Trade, Migration and Growth: Evidence from China."

About the series

The Sichel Series is organized by the WMU Department of Economics and named in honor of Werner Sichel, a longtime WMU economics professor and former department chair, who retired in 2004. The series is cosponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Timothy Light Center for Chinese Studies. The lectures are open to the public and formatted with the general public in mind.

This year's series is being organized by Drs. Wei-Chiao Huang and Huizhong Zhou, WMU professors of economics.

For more information, contact Huang at (269) 387-5528 or, or Zhou at (269) 387-5550 or

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