2 March 2017 – Dr Leo Suryadinata, Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute launched his recently published book, The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas: Beijing’s Changing Policy in Southeast Asia and Beyond (ISEAS), on 2 March 2017. The Guest of Honour and the speaker for the Book Launch cum Seminar was Professor Wang Gungwu, a leading historian on China and the Chinese overseas. The book launch cum seminar was chaired by Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Deputy Director of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.
Professor Wang provided a detailed history of how shifts in China’s policies towards Chinese overseas in recent times had been strongly influenced, partly by the opening up of its economy and by the huge numbers of Chinese emigrants that in the last two decades had settled in numerous countries throughout the world. The relationship between Chinese policy and each community of Chinese overseas therefore differs in accordance with a multitude of factors. In Southeast Asia for example, conditions in the north differs essentially from those in the maritime south.
Dr Leo Suryadinata argued that despite fluctuations in the policy towards Chinese overseas, the consistent feature continues to be the paramountcy of what China has considered its Core Interests, of which the Chinese overseas were not. Nevertheless, the recent blurring of the status of the Chinese overseas may have a negative impact on the Chinese in Southeast Asia and beyond.
The rise of China and its impact on Southeast Asia is a major field of study at ISEAS. The launch was attended by over 80 people from diplomatic, government, business and academic circles.