Introduction to the current issue (17, 2)

The current issue of the Journal of East Asian Studies (17, 2) brings together a number of pieces on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, beginning with Qingjie Zeng’s discussion of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Zeng finds that cadre rotation has little effect on anti-corruption efforts. Rather, politically-important provinces are responsive to top-down mobilization campaigns, suggesting that the instruments of authoritarian power is more traditional than thought.

A pair of contributions explore China’s changing relationship with the outside world with individual-level data. Haifeng Huang uses survey and experimental evidence to ask “Who Wants to Leave China?” Huang argues that Chinese often see the outside world through rose-colored glasses. When misperceptions of economic opportunities are corrected, the desire to go abroad falls. T. Y. Wang and Su-feng Cheng also explore the role of information, looking at cross-Strait contact. They find that casual encounters have no effect on Taiwanese views of the mainland. More intense interactions do affect views of Chinese as individuals, but they do not have any effect on broader perceptions of the PRC. Their findings have important implications for China’s efforts to pursue a charm offensive with respect to Taiwan: contact alone will not overcome policies that are seen not only as unfriendly but threatening.

Finally, John Carey’s review of Hong Kong’s electoral system explores the design of the city’s electoral system. Carey systematizes a long-standing observation of Hong Kong politics on how proportional representation has fragmented potential sources of opposition.  These findings are important as debate continues on whether Beijing is seeking to revise the status quo in Hong Kong.

For more on China’s political institutions, see our virtual special issue on the topic. We invite you to use the JEAS for your research and teaching!

You can access the entire issue (17,2) free of charge until October 15, 2017 here.


Interview with Stephan Haggard, editor-in-chief of JEAS


  1. First of all, would you please introduce yourself?

I teach at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego, where I also direct the Korea-Pacific Program.

  1. Would you like to say something about your academic career and your research field?

After getting my PhD at Berkeley in 1983, I started my teaching career at Harvard. My first book, Pathways from the Periphery, was about the political economy of export-led growth in East Asia, and particularly the developmental states of the region such as Korea and Taiwan. I have always moved back and forth between broader comparative political economy on themes such as the politics of financial crises, social policy and democratization; my most recent book with Bob Kaufman, Dictators and Democrats, replays these themes. But I have also developed a keen interest in North Korea and the political economy of the Korean peninsula, and have written three monographs with Marc Noland on the famine, refugees, and sanctions and engagement strategies. I also run the Witness to Transformation blog at, where we discuss North Korea but also try to link developments there to the region and good research on the topic. There are too many instant experts, and not enough sustained analysis.

  1. How long have you been an editor-in-chief? What do you think is distinctive about the Journal of East Asian Studies as a journal?

I took over the editorship of the journal about ten years ago, with the aim of turning it into a venue for high-quality social science on Asia. Founded by Byung-kook Kim and with editorial offices at the East Asia Institute in Seoul, I wanted to build a journal that had a very distinctive niche. The idea was to publish cutting edge social science primarily in political science—both quantitative and qualitative—but on substantive issues that are of broad interest to those studying the region. My dream for the journal is that a scholar who is primarily a China expert would not only see good things on China, but articles on the rest of the region that they would find relevant for their teaching and research.

  1. As the editor-in-chief of an international journal, what do you think are the main challenges to attract contributions from all around the world? What have you done to attract those contributions from Asia, especially China?

We have a number of authors from Asia—including China–and increasingly from Europe as well. The quality of manuscripts from everywhere is going up, so the challenges are those of a level playing field; getting into the journal is hard no matter where you are coming from. Some think that language and the quality of English is a barrier, but I rarely find that to be true; if a piece has a good idea and is generally well-executed, we can work with the language.

I think the main challenges are to combine things that are of high academic quality—with good theory and data—with issues that are substantively interesting. I don’t want to publish only on narrow themes of interest to a specialist. I am open to both qualitative and quantitative work, but like to see qualitative work that also takes into account emerging methodological standards. I love good cases and comparative historical work, but it needs to serve an explanatory purpose.

  1. How do you evaluate the submissions to your journal? What kind of papers will be published on your journal?

I love to be surprised. Send me something new and fresh! In general, our regional balance is good: we publish on Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan and other countries’ relations with the region. So I don’t feel like I have problems in that regard, although I can always use more on China. Among the challenges are relevance. It is one thing to do high-quality work, but I like papers that speak to exciting and challenging issues. I would like to see more on gender, the environment, social movements and current political economy as well as more traditional issues related to institutions and behavior. I am also working to attract more in the field of international relations. Although our core is in political science, I have published very interesting work from economists on political economy as well as from sociologists, students of business, and those with a background or interest in law. I don’t want to lose focus, but I can see room for the right type of work from other disciplines outside of politics. The journal has a very strong review process, and I think we add value regardless of the field.

  1. What do you think is the future vision of your journal?

Honestly, I want to keep doing what I am doing. With the move to Cambridge, our platform has expanded and we are seeing our reputation rise. I don’t think the JEAS is a journal for everyone; it is designed with a social science audience in mind. I still would like to see those pieces that have strong theory, data and method. But I love submissions that would also make for a good blog post.  Academia is not doing its duty if we are speaking only to ourselves.

  1. Would you like to share your ideas and/or suggestions to the young researchers who are about/eager to publish their own papers?

Always reach for the best venues you can. The main piece of advice is to look at what journals actually publish before submitting. Is my work in line with this journal and its publishing record? The JEAS is not for everyone. But if you have an idea, I am always open willing to tell you if something will fit or not. We are trying not only to publish good work, but to add value to the papers that come to us. If I have a reputation for doing that, I wlll be happy; it is my most important mission.

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