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On Monday, 27 November 2017, Dr. Duan Xiaolin, Assistant Professor of International Relations, gave a talk on "China's Rise and the Challenges Ahead". Dr. Xiaolin explained that most analysts of International Relations agree that since implementing reform and opening-up in the 1980s, China's development into the world's second largest economy has been nothing short of miraculous.​

Dr. Xiaolin's talk was divided into seven sections. Firstly, he discussed the background to China's rise. Secondly, he highlighted some historical development which impacted the orientation of the state policies. Dr. Xiaolin then explained how ideology was replaced by pragmatism as the government began to focus on improving economic productivity, national power and living standards above all else. In addition to economic reform, the Chinese Government has also implemented certain adjustments to transform into a pro-growth system. He then moved on to talk about political promotion and development. After that, Dr. Xiaolin noted that in foreign relations, Beijing has tried to maintain a low profile in the region, accommodating the West and buying more time for its peaceful rise. Finally, he discussed a number of issues related to China in transition including how much of the world expects China to play a larger role, and contribute more, in international relations. Dr. Xiaolin ended his presentation by asking "Where is China going?" noting that economic reform and political adjustments have yielded unforeseen side-effects that have constrained China's further development.

This interesting and topical presentation was attended by both faculty and students. Dr. Xiaolin's talk and insights prompted an interesting question and answer session.​