Language can be a big barrier to any research into a country. Therefore, I have taken part in language courses and am currently halfway through my third course on Chinese Mandarin. I am starting to gain a good feeling for it, but I am far from being able to express complex matters. Hopefully, in September I will continue in further studies. A year in China is a quite likely option as well, sometime in the next years.
History, Culture and Philosophy
I have read two books about the Chinese history and politics so far (see: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a9typR7SqrqfDdKxEYZwDybOKOLGK7TWzX-t-3mbCYQ/edit#gid=0) and I will also leave it at that for now while I am exploring more the Chinese Philosophy, coming back later when I have a better feeling of the cultural background. On the Philosophy side I am currently reading a 300 pager on the history which nicely summarises all the important parts that influence the Chinese society. On the culture part, I am trying to converse with as much Chinese nationals as possible.
Chinese politics is pretty much the epitome of studying Chinese language, history, culture and philosophy. Therefore, I will save this one up for when I am more confident in my knowledge and skills, but I definitely see it is a the long-term goal.
Economics, Investment and Business
Having a natural interest in everything business related and especially internet business related, I will start to research well known companies such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, but also less well known one’s. I have discussed this step with several people of which each has raised several concerns like the political complexity or the investment complexity regarding the legal matters for example as a foreigner etc., but I think that working through these challenges will result in a pay-off on the long term. I have the time and the resources, so I can afford to experiment.
Science and Technology
Finally, I will take a look at the development of technology as well the scientific progress made in China. Right now, most Chinese travel to the West to get a “decent” education, but things will change and there will be a global academic power shift, but what kind, potentially towards China, that is what I want to understand better.