Xi Jinping has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. But with his consolidation of power, the country has become more authoritarian, with increasing censorship and arrests of lawyers and activists. Three Festival writers uniquely placed to discuss China sit down with Linda Jaivin to talk about its political, economic and cultural future. Join Minglu Chen, senior lecturer at the Chinese Studies Centre at the University of Sydney; Robert E. Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University; and Xue Yiwei, a prolific Chinese-born novelist, for a riveting and timely discussion. Xue Yiwei by the Consulate General of Canada, Sydney.

Robert E. Kelly (International)

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Robert E. Kelly lives in South Korea, where he is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University. He holds a PhD in international relations from Ohio State University. Dr. Kelly comments frequently on North Korea and U.S. foreign policy for outlets including the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. He briefly became famous as “BBC Dad” when, in March 2017, his children interrupted him live on BBC News.

Xue Yiwei (International)

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Xue Yiwei is the author of 18 acclaimed books in Chinese, including five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, and five literary essays. Ha Jin called him “a maverick in contemporary Chinese literature”, and his works have been translated into English, French, Swedish, German and Italian. The English version of Dr. Bethune’s Children, a novel banned in China for more than 6 years, has drawn international attention since its English publication in 2017. Yiwei lives in Canada.

Minglu Chen (Australian)

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Minglu Chen is a senior lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her research concentrates on social and political change in China, especially the interaction between entrepreneurs and the state. She is the editor and author of Middle Class China and Tiger Girls: Women and Enterprises in the People’s Republic of China.

Linda Jaivin (Australian)

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Linda Jaivin is the author of eleven books including the international bestseller Eat Me, the Quarterly Essay: Found in Translation, the travel companion Beijing and the novel The Empress Lover. She has published numerous essays on a wide range of subjects, including the arts, travel and refugees and has had several works produced for the stage. She recently made her first radio documentary Nothing to Hide for ABC RN. She is also a literary translator (from Chinese) specialising in film subtitles.