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Human Rights in China Twenty-Five Years After Tiananmen

  • The City College of New York At 137th, between Amsterdam and Broadway New York, NY (map)

Andrew J. Nathan, Professor, Political Science, Columbia University and Vincent Boudreau, Professor, Director, Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service

Twenty-five years after Tiananmen, China has made progress in economic and social rights and has engaged more deeply with the international human rights system, but has sustained and even intensified its repression of civil and political rights. Pressures continue to build for political freedom and rule of law, but each new set of leaders has disappointed hopes that it would institute political reform. What explains the persistence of authoritarian politics. Does the Chinese experience disprove the theory that economic growth must lead to a growth of freedom?


Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.  His teaching and research interests include Chinese politics and foreign policy, the comparative study of political participation and political culture, and human rights.  Nathan’s books include Chinese Democracy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985); The Tiananmen Papers, co-edited with Perry Link (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001); China’s Search for Security, co-authored with Andrew Scobell (Columbia University Press, 2012); and Will China Democratize? (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).  Nathan has served at Columbia as chair of the Department of Political Science, 2003-2006, chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 2002-2003, and director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 1991-1995.   He is currently chair of the Morningside Institutional Review Board (IRB). Off campus, he is chair of the board, Human Rights in China, a member of the boards of Freedom House and of the National Endowment for Democracy, and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Asia, which he chaired, 1995-2000.  He is the regular Asia and Pacific book reviewer for Foreign Affairs.

Photo: Joshua Kristal

Photo: Joshua Kristal

As of January 2013, Vincent Boudreau is the first permanent dean of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York. Previously he served as the director of the Colin Powell Center since 2002. Dr. Boudreau is a professor of political science at the City College of New York and a member of the City University of New York graduate faculty. A specialist in the politics of social movements, particularly in Southeast Asia, his latest book is Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press). He also conducts research and writes on repression, government transitions to democracy, and collective violence. Dr. Boudreau's current research, supported in part by a grant from the Fulbright program, investigates the relationship between civil society, social movements, and democratization processes in Indonesia and the Philippines. He is the academic adviser to the International Development Program at the City University of Hong Kong. At City College, Dr. Boudreau has served as the director of the M.A. Program in International Relations, the chair of the Department of Political Science, the director of the International Studies Program, and the deputy dean of the Division of Social Science. In addition to his academic work, he has undertaken projects with ActionAid Asia, Jubilee South Asia, and The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, and has consulted for Oxfam Asia, Action of Economic Reform (Philippines), and Freedom House. Dr. Boudreau received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1991.

Earlier Event: April 28
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