City University of London financial-journalism course holds China summit

City students go in-depth on China

Week-long symposium offers essential insights from journalists and experts 

China’s role in the global economy was the subject of a special four-day symposium in May for students on City’s MA Financial Journalism course.

Devised and led by Vincent Ni, China editor of The Guardian, the symposium included a packed programme of visits, online meetings and classroom sessions on a range of subjects such as reporting for the Chinese media, what shapes China’s economy and China’s relationship with the United States.

Guest speakers included prominent journalists and China experts such as podcaster Kaiser Kuo, Financial Times correspondent Sha Hua, former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Steve Roach, and Sam Wong, executive director at China Renewable Energy.

Students also visited the offices of The Spectator, The Economist and the House of Commons where they met Mark Logan MP.

This year’s Marjorie Deane scholars had this to say about the symposium.

Farooq Baloch: “The China Symposium first caught my attention when I was applying for the MA Financial Journalism programme. China has been the world’s engine of economic growth for years – and the opposite is also true, as evident from the post-pandemic supply chain crisis, traced back to the lockdowns in China.

“Being a rising superpower on its way to surpass the US as the world’s largest economy, China has become increasingly important for all international publications. So I had very high expectations from this symposium – and it exceeded them. 

“Given China is one of the most difficult countries to cover, this intensive learning taught me what I could not learn in a class or a newsroom in such a short time. Vincent Ni, the symposium leader, and an expert on China himself, did a fabulous job of structuring this module and moderating all the discussions.

In only four days, I was able to interact with economists, research think tanks, academics, professional services providers, China watchers, veteran journalists, a politician, and experts on supply chain, and renewable energy. This diverse range of topics and speakers – China experts in their respective industries – provided me with a 360-degree view of China’s economic and foreign policies and the link between the two. This is enough to get one started as an economic correspondent for any major publication.”

“For me, Reporting the Global Economy course, particularly the China Symposium, has been the major highlight of the MA programme, making it a truly international experience. As a student, aspiring to be a global financial journalist, I couldn’t ask for more.

Jennifer Johnson: “When the MA’s China Symposium began, Shanghai was nearly a month into its stringent covid-19 lockdown – and the global economy was feeling the ripple effects. In an ordinary year, students on the course would be boarding a plane for the city to learn about China’s economy first-hand. Instead, we met with a number of journalists, financiers, policymakers and China watchers in person here in London and on Zoom. 

“Despite the limitations imposed by the ongoing pandemic, I felt the symposium managed to paint a nuanced picture of China and enhanced my understanding of its place in the global economy. Though I’m an avid news reader, the week’s events showed me that there are still so many underreported business and finance stories in China. I also realised the importance of speaking to people who truly know the country and appreciate how it’s changing. 

“Visiting the House of Commons and the offices of The Economist were particular highlights of the in-person programme. We also got to ask questions of a journalist under lockdown in Shanghai on Zoom, which was valuable in building our understanding of China’s domestic media landscape.” 

More details about the studentships that the foundation funds at City University of London can be found here.

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