Understanding China’s Role in Central Asia and Afghanistan

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September 19, 2012


On September 18, 2012, the Jamestown Foundation hosted an event entitled “Understanding China’s Role in Central Asia and Afghanistan.” The event featured Dr. Pan Guang, Vice Chairman of Shanghai Center for International Studies at Shanghai Academy, and Dr. Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who provided additional remarks. 

Dr. Pan addressed China’s role in Central Asia and Afghanistan.


He explained China’s interest in fighting terrorism and extremism in the region as well as China’s interests in containing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promoting energy and economic development, and supporting Afghanistan in its post-war reconstruction. Like the United States, China is interested in tackling issues such as transnational crime, illegal immigration, environmental degradation, water resource shortage, and emerging public health issues. Beijing however, has different views of political reform in Central Asia, the alignment of energy pipelines in the region, and the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. Dr. Pan also provided his insight on China’s role in Afghanistan and its implications for U.S.-China relations. Dr. Weitz was also a discussant and provided additional remarks on the security situation in Central Asia and Afghanistan, as well China’s role and interests there.

Full video of the conference can be found below:



Dr. Pan Guang

Dr. Pan Guang is Vice Chairman and Professor of Shanghai Center for International Studies at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Director of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) Studies Center in Shanghai, Dean of Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS) and Vice President of Chinese Association of Middle East Studies. He is an International Council Member of the Asia Society in USA, Senior Advisor of China-Eurasia Forum in USA, Advisory Board Member of Asia Europe Journal (by ASEF) in Singapore, Member of the Board Management Committee of Asian Scholarship Foundation in Bangkok and Senior Advisor on Anti-terror Affairs to Shanghai Municipality and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security of PRC. He obtained the James Friend Annual Memorial Award for Sino-Jewish Studies in 1993, the Special Award for Canadian Studies (especially for research on Canadian Jews from China) in 1992, the Sankt Peterburg-300 Medal for Contribution to China-Russia Relations awarded by President Putin in 2004 and the Austria Holocaust Memorial Award in 2006. He was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as member of the High-Level Group for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (AOC) in 2005, and appointed as Ambassador of the AOC in 2008.

Dr. Pan has been doing research and giving lectures widely in North America, East Asia, Russia, Central Asia, Europe, Middle East and Australia. He holds a number of prestigious posts in Chinese institutions in International Studies, Asian Studies, Middle East Studies and Jewish Studies. He also has published books and articles on a variety of topics such as “The Jews in China,” “The Jews in Asia: Comparative Perspective,”” The Jews in Shanghai,” “The Political and Cultural Impact of the Holocaust,” “From Silk Road to ASEM: 2000 Years of Asia-Europe Relations,”  “A Comprehensive Studies on Shanghai Cooperation Organization,”  “Contemporary International Crises,” “China’s Success in the Middle East,” “China’s Anti-terror Strategy,” “Islam and Confucianism: the Development of Chinese Islam,” “China’s Energy Strategy,” as well as “China’s Policy on AF/PAK.”

Dr. Richard Weitz

Richard Weitz is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute. His current research includes regional security developments relating to Europe, Eurasia, and East Asia as well as U.S. foreign, defense, and homeland security policies. Dr. Weitz is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he contributes to various defense projects and is the author of a forthcoming Jamestown Occasional Report titled “Beijing Ponders NATO Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

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