Prof. Frank Pieke

img_0675bgAcademic Director of Institute for Area Studies and Professor of Modern China Studies

Leiden University, the Netherlands




Frank Pieke studied cultural anthropology and Chinese studies at the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in 1992. After lectureships in Leiden and Oxford, he was appointed chair professor in modern China studies at Leiden University in 2010. Currently, Pieke is the academic director of Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) and the executive director of the Leiden Asia Centre. Pieke’s work on contemporary Chinese society and politics focuses on the changing role of the Chinese Communist Party. His most recent books are Knowing China (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2016) and The Good Communist: Elite Training and State Building in Today’s China (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Pieke’s other specialization is Chinese international migration. In 2004 he published Transnational Chinese: Fujianese Migrants in Europe  with Stanford University Press. Pieke’s current research revolves around foreign immigrant groups and the Chinese Communist Party.

Research Project

  • Immigrants in China: reactions and debates

Frank PIEKE and postdoctoral researcher (Leiden University)

This study investigates popular, academic and government responses to the presence of international migrant communities (including Chinese return migrants) and the cultural, social and religious diversity that they engender. Currently, the trend is towards a more integrated normalizing approach that facilitates the entry and stay of foreigners. Residence and employment of foreigners is presented as a normal aspect of China’s economic prowess and global prominence. This normalizing discourse focuses on legalistic issues of rights and duties connected to the evolving concepts of residency, nationality and citizenship, most recently in the 2012 exit and entry law. Yet immigration also touches on some politically sensitive issues, such as religion, democracy, or human rights. In these areas, foreigners might continue to be viewed through an exclusionary prism (dating from the pre-reform period) as a politically marked category of people who may harm Chinese society. Finally, the growth of a “foreign floating population” is considered a burden on Chinese society, stigmatizing immigration by associating it not only with petty crime and illegal employment, residence and entry, but also with terrorism, subversive activities and international organized crime, especially in sensitive border areas in Tibet and Xinjiang. Both the exclusionary and the stigmatizing approach call for control and restrictions. The research will investigate popular, academic and government responses to the growing presence of international migrants, and the social, religious, cultural and political diversity they represent, and how processes of human mobility and cultural diversity interact, challenge and reiterate notions of the nation-state, international order, sovereignty, citizenship and identity. The methodology will include a content analysis of Chinese media (newspapers and TV), followed by interviews with government officials, police, public intellectuals and journalists in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Selected Publications

·      Knowing China: A Twenty-first-Century Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016).

·      “La Chine: un nouveau pays d’immigration ? (China: a new immigrant country?)” Les grands dossiers de diplomatie no. 31, pp. 93-95 (2016)

·      “Migration and China in the Chinese Century”. In Zhou Yongming (ed.) Zhongguo renleixue (Chinese anthropology). Beijing: Shangwu Yinshuaguan (Commercial Press), pp. 97-137  (2015)

·      “Asia: Sociocultural Aspects, China”. In James D. Wright (editor-in-chief) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol. 2. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 65-70 (2015)

·      “Chinese Investment Strategies and Migration: Does Diaspora Matter?” In Marco Sanfilippo and Agnieszka Weinar (eds.) Chinese Migration and Economic Relations with Europe: The Silk Road Revisited. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 12-32 (With Tabitha Speelman; 2015)

·      “Cadre Training and the Party School System in Contemporary China”. In Kerry Brown (ed.), The EU-China Relationship: European Perspectives. A Manual for Policy Makers. London: Imperial College Press, pp. 82-87 (2015)

·      “Contemporary China Studies in the Netherlands”. In Wilt Idema (ed.), Chinese Studies in the Netherlands: Past, Present and Future. Leiden: Brill, pp. 159-190 (2013)

·       “Immigrant China”. In Rosemary Foot, ed. China across the Divide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 97-121 (2013)

·      “Anthropology, China, and the Chinese Century”. Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 123-138 (2014)

·      Old and New Diversities in Contemporary China. Special issue of Modern China 38(1) (2012)

·      “Antropologie en de Chinese eeuw” (Anthropology and the Chinese century). Inaugural Lecture on the acceptance of the position as Professor of Modern China Studies at Leiden University, 2 March 2012. Leiden (2012)

Recent Activities

·      China in Nederland (China in the Netherlands), Leiden Asia Centre event organized for His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1 October 2015

·      Groeneveld Conferentie: De Chinezen komen (The Chinese Are Coming), Wageningen, 11 September 2014 (with René van der Duim)

·      Media, Information and Knowledge about China. Conference of the Modern East Asia Research Centre and Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 15-16 May 2014 (with Garrie van Pinxteren, Jan Melissen and Daniela Stockmann)

·      New Authoritarianism: China and Russia Compared. KNAW colloquium, Amsterdam, 27-29 November 2013 (with André Gerrits and Max Bader, 26-29 November 2013)

·      Balancing China’s Economy: Global Integration and Domestic Development. 24th Chinese Economic Association (UK) and 5th  Chinese Economic Association (Europe) Annual Conference. The Hague, 11-12 July 2013

·      East Asia Beyond the Headlines: The Modern East Asia Research Centre meets Government, Business and the Media, Leiden 11 June 2013 (with Remco Breuker and Kasia Cwiertka)

·      The State in Asia. Leiden, 12-14 December 2012 (with Nira Wickramasinghe, Adriaan Bedner, Henk Schulte Nordholt and David Henley)

·      Immigrant China. Angers, 4-6 October 2012 (with Shen Wei)