University Autonomy, the State, and Social Change in China


Su-Yan Pan

ISBN : 978-962-209-936-4

Education Education in China: Reform and Diversity

March 2009

276 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$295.00

This book explores the role of universities in responding to ongoing changes in China, and in shaping the relations between the university and the state during periods of social change. Tsinghua University is selected as a case study to inform this important issue. By tracing the changes and continuities Tsinghua has experienced since 1911, this book gives an in-depth analysis of how the university strives to maintain autonomy while taking a leading role in implementing China’s policy of higher education.

By drawing on a vast literature of higher education theories, the book offers original insights into the university-state relationship and provides a new understanding on the complexities China faces in the era when the country is becoming a key global actor.

Su-Yan Pan is a research assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include higher education and social change, education policy and legislation, and China education policy studies.

“Su-Yan Pan has given a beautifully textured interpretive understanding of one of China’s most influential universities. She has challenged dominant assumptions of both modernization and dependency theories in the international literature, and analyzes the link between the university’s creativity and China’s move from the periphery to a position closer to the core of the world economic system. This is a book that deserves to be widely read.” —Ruth Hayhoe, Professor, The University of Toronto

“The saga of Tsinghua University is, in many ways, the story of Chinese higher education. Su-Yan Pan has provided us with a nuanced analysis of Tsinghua’s development through the lens of the struggle for autonomy. This case study teaches us much about the role of higher education in China’s development. It is, as well, relevant for understanding higher education in developing countries.” —Philip G. Altbach, Monan Professor of Higher Education, Boston College