CAU China Centre a founding member – quality of research and teaching to be improved
China is not only Germany’s number one trading partner. China is also on the way to becoming a global power in the world of science. Both are good reasons why universities intensively investigate the phenomenon of China and offer their students related courses. In order to ensure the quality of research and teaching projects during this process, on the occasion of the "25 Years of the Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technology in China at the Technical University of Berlin" anniversary, the four university China centres in Kiel, Berlin, Dresden and Tübingen have now joined together to found the "Association of China Centres at German Universities". The aim of the association is to counter a previously inadequate China competence in the science system, through joint activities and collaborative projects in research and teaching. The first determining meeting will be taking place at Kiel University (CAU) on 12 February 2019.
For the Head of the China Centre at Kiel University, Professor Angelika Messner, the founding of the association is a long-overdue step. "Today, China-related knowledge is of essential importance for students and teachers from all subject areas. The need for this knowledge has increased continuously for years. At the same time, both inside and outside of the science system, we still know far too little about modern China. Mostly we cling to stereotypes and clichés, which are based on outdated half-truths." Messner was part of the delegation which visited the Schleswig-Holstein partner region of Zhejiang and Kiel’s partner university in Hangzhou in September. When it comes to China competence, the sinologist mainly holds the state governments responsible. For example, in the field of regional studies, China is insufficiently anchored in curricula. There is also no comprehensive teaching of Chinese in schools. "Through high-quality and well-coordinated cooperation, the new association can help to provide our researchers and students with a realistic image of China, and to develop new concepts for dealing with China." Messner is certain: recognising China’s diversity and complexity is the precondition for ensuring that the potential of the Chinese scientific landscape is recognised in Germany, and joint projects can be implemented on equal terms.