Asian Studies
Date: 2017-05-24

The Asian Studies Unit was created in 2015. The Unit is dedicated to the study of East Asia (China, the Koreas, and Japan) and East Asian societies. As one of the more regionally specialized units at the KFCRIS, the Asian Studies Unit aims to promote greater understanding of East Asia within the Gulf and the wider Arab world.  It also seeks to enhance the quality of academic, journalistic, and policy making coverage and discussions surrounding the region and its ever more complex relationship to Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East. It is also purposed towards building connections with other Asia-focused research institutions and think tanks around the world. 

The Unit’s research agenda is bifurcated between a focus on contemporary East Asian international relations, politics, economics, and security topics on the one hand, and a concentration on historical, anthropological and cultural-social issues on the other. This broad research agenda enables the Unit to engage with multiple disciplines, generate a diverse set of studies and, more importantly, allows it to maintain its fidelity to the spirit of KFCRIS as a think tank and academic institution. 

Contact: malsudairi@kfcris.com



Mohammed Al-Sudairi, Non-resident Senior Researcher

Visiting Scholar at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (Peking University) from March to August 2018.

Publications at the KFCRIS:

"Syria’s “China Dream”: Between the Narratives and Realities," Commentary, September 2019.

“The Communist Party of China’s United Front Work in the Gulf: The “Ethnic Minority Overseas Chinese” of Saudi Arabia as a Case Study,” Dirasat 34, March 2018.

“Some Observations on the Significance of President Xi Jinping’s visit and the Problem of the Sino-Saudi Relationship,” Commentary, September 2017.

“Changing State-Religion Dynamics in Xi-Jinping's China: And its Consequences for Sino-Saudi Relations,” Dirasat 19, January 2017.



Wan Lei, Non-Resident Research Fellow

Publications at the KFCRIS:

" The Chinese Islamic National Salvation Association and the Hui Minority: 1937–1948," Dirasat 45, May 2019.

"Two Scholars and the Hui Protest Movement in China in 1932: The Attitudes of Hu Shih and Lu Xun toward the Hui Minority and Islam," Qiraat 11, July 2018.

"The Earliest Muslim Communities in China,” Qiraat 8, October - November 2017.

“The First Chinese Travel Record on the Arab World - Commercial and Diplomatic Communications during the Islamic Golden Age,” Qiraat 7, December 2016 – January 2017.

“Etymology and Evolution of the Term Huizu,” Qiraat 3, April 2016.


Othman Almazyad, Non-Resident Research Fellow

Publications at the KFCRIS:

“Japanese Administration with a Different Perspective: Introduction to Basic Concepts,” Special Report, September 2018.

“Reasons for the Continuity and Longevity of Japanese Companies,” Special Report, December 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).


Shahad Turkistani, Assistant Researcher

"The Policymaking Process to Restart Japanese Nuclear Power Plants," Special Report, December 31, 2018 (In collaboration with King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center).


Associate Fellows

Bandar Alghamdi, Associate Fellow

Hung Takwai, Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong

Visiting Scholars

Wang Tingyi, PhD Candidate at Tsinghua University

Period of Stay: November 2015 – July 2016

Hyeju Jeong, PhD Candidate at Duke University

Period of Stay: January 2017 – July 2017

Publications at the KFCRIS:

“A Song of the Red Sea: Communities and Networks of Chinese Muslims in the Hijaz,” Dirasat 13, July 2016.




Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat, “China’s Efforts to Legitimize the Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Gulf,Dirasat 50, 7 November 2019.

Kyle Haddad-Fonda, “What Knowledge is sought in China? Arab Visitors and Chinese Propaganda,” Dirasat 48, 27 August 2019. 
Makio Yamada, “How Did Japan Achieve a 1% Unemployment Rate?: Facilitating the Education-to-Employment Transition,” Dirasat 30, December 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).
Ma Hailong, "The History of Chinese Muslims’ Migration into Malaysia," Dirasat 27, September 2017.
Makio Yamada, "King Salman's Visit to Tokyo: In Search of New Concepts for Saudi-Japanese Relations," Commentary, 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).
Makio Yamada, "Saudi Vision 2030 and the Transformation of Saudi-Japanese Economic Relations," Special Report, January 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).




Delegation Visit to China: KFCRIS Chairman of the Board, HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal, KFCRIS Director of Research, Dr. Abdullah Al-Saud, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Sudairi, participated in the Middle East Security Forum, organized by China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, China, 27-28 November 2019.

Workshop: Dr. Andrea Ghiselli, “Learning to be a Gret Power: China and the Middle East”, 21 November 2019.

Meeting with a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences led by Dr. Tang Zhichao, Director of Middle East Studies, 14 November 2019.

Workshop: Collaboration with Boao Forum for Asia, “Global Economic Prospects: Opportunities and Challenges” 27 October 2019. Participation from the former Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Dr. Zhou Xiaochuan, and the General_Secretary of the Boao Forum for Asia, Mr. Li Baodong.

Public Lecture: Kent Calder, “Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration”, 27 August 2019.

Delegation Visit to China: KFCRIS Director of Research, Abdullah Al-Saud, participated in Tsinghua University’s ‘World Peace Forum’ (世界和平论坛). Attendance at Tsinghua University Area Studies Forum, 8-12 June 2019.

Delegation Visit to Hong Kong (China): Collaboration with Hong Kong Policy Research Institute and Chinese University of Hong Kong, 21-26 June 2019.

Workshop: Collaboration with Al-Anoud Al-Sabah (Kuwait) and Khalifah Al-Tunaiji (United Arab Emirates), “China and the Region: Gulf Visions” 11 April 2019. 

Public Lecture: Dr. Kerry Brown (King's College), “The World According to Xi Jinping”, 10 April 2019. 

Meeting with a reporter, Mr. Yusuke Takano from the Asahi Shinbun  (朝日新聞), 25 March 2019. 

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "The 'Secondary Enemy': Maoist China in the Saudi Domestic-Foreign Nexus", Cold War Islamisms International Workshop at the Freie University of Berlin, 15 March 2019. 

Meeting with a delegation from the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) led by Dr. Wang Youming, Dean of Department for Developing Countries Studies of CIIS, 14 March 2019.

Workshop: Shahad Turkistani participation in a "Sino-Korean Relations" workshop, Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies, 26 February 2019. 

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "The 'Religious Westphalian' Turn in Eurasia: The Consequences for Sino-Gulf Trans-Islamic Networks", The Middle East Institute, the National University of Singapore, 12 February 2019.
Presentation: Shahad Turkestani paper contribution in the "Violent Extremism in the Middle East Dialogue", Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo), 2-9 February 2019. 

Meeting with Assistant Director Dr. Hosaka Shuji of the Japanese Institute of Middle Eastern Economics JIME, 28 January 2019. 

Workshop: Collaboration with the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute, "South-China's Integration Experience", 14 January 2019. 


Workshop: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "Is There an Islamic Response to Globalization?", The Asia Global Institute, The University of Hong Kong, 10 December 2018.

Workshop: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "The Belt and Road Initiative in the Long-term Plan of Building China’s Moderately Prosperous Society", Peking University, 6 December 2018.

Public Lecture: Dr. Kaoru Iokibe (University of Tokyo), “The Meiji Restoration: A Look into Japanese Modernization Efforts in the 19th and 20th centuries”, 30 September 2018. 

Presentation: Shahad Turkestani, “The Future of Saudi-Japanese Relations under the New Transformations”, Center for Japanese Studies, Cairo University, 22-23 September 2018. 

Workshop: Collaboration with Dr. Niu Xinchun with accompanying delegation (Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations) “Saudi domestic and regional affairs”, 19 September 2018. 

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "Unifying Hearts and Minds: China's United Front Work Activity in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in Georgetown University, 10 August 2018.

Delegation Visit to China: KFCRIS General-Secretary, Saud Al-Sarhan and Researcher Mohammed al-Sudairi, participated in Tsinghua University’s ‘World Peace Forum’ (世界和平论坛). Collaborative Panel between Forum organizers and KFCRIS was held on the subject of “Middle East Peace”, 14-15 July 2018. Meeting held with The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Research Center for People-to-People Diplomacy’s Director General Li Xinyu.

Exhibit: “Shēndu... Depth: The World behind the Lense” by Saudi Photographer Khalid Al-Sudairy, 8-12 May 2018 (in collaboration with the Museums Department).

Delegation Visit to China: Participation in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China-Arab Reform and Development Research Centre’s ‘China-Arab States Reform and Development Forum’ (中国-阿拉伯国家改革发展论坛), 21-25 April 2018. Meeting held with Tsinghua University’s former President Gu Binglin and the Area Study Institute’s Associate Director Zhang Jing.

Meeting with the People’s Daily (人民日报) Middle East Bureau Chief, Mr. Huang Peizhao, and Middle East Correspondent Mr. Qu Xiangyu, 16 April 2018.

Presentation: Dr. Wan Lei, “The hardships of the alien merchants between the Arabic Gulf and Chinese coastal cities during the Tang and Song dynasties,” Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 2018.

Presentation: Dr. Jon B. Alterman (Center for Strategic and International Studies), “The Sino-American Rivalry in the Middle East and the Strategic Triangle,” 21 March 2018.

Workshop: Mohammed Al-Sudairi participation in Arab Gulf States Institute (Washington D. C.) roundtable, “Gulf Rising: GCC-East Asia Relations,” 28 February 2018.

Sino-Saudi Cultural Dialogue Month (January 2018)

Public Lecture: Professor Agius Dionisius (Exeter University), “The Road to China: Seaborne Exploration in Medieval Islam,” 29 January 2018.

Public Lecture: Dr. Yan Xuetong (Tsinghua University), “China and the Changing World Order,” 22 January 2018.

Workshop: Collaboration with the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IISS) at Peking University (Professor Wang Jisi and Dr. Wu Bingbing), “China’s Great Power Relations in the New Era,” 14 January 2018.

Launch of the Chinese-language KFCRIS website, 14 January 2018.


Workshop: Collaboration with Dr. Wang Yuting (American University of Sharjah) and Dr. Chai Shaojin (UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development), “Chinese Soft Power: from the Age of Mao to the Age of Xi,” 29 November 2017.

Presentation: Dr. Wan Lei, “Hui struggles for political privileges during the first half of the Republican China,” conference by the Chinese Hui Research Association and Weishan County Administration (Yunnan), November 2017.

Presentation: Dr. Wan Lei, “Two scholars and the Hui protest movement in 1932 – The Attitudes of Hu Shih and Lu Xun towards the Hui minority”, ‘Civilization Forum’ held by Ibn Haltun University, Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, and Alliance of Civilization Institute, October 2017.

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, “The Mikado as an Oriental Khalifah: A Cursory Look at Arab Writings on Japan and Chinese Muslims at the Turn of the Century,” Tokyo University-KFCRIS Joint-Workshop, 6 September 2017.

Presentation: Dr. Wan Lei, “Exploration on the intermarriages between the alien businessmen and local Chinese women in the Tang and Song dynasties,” annual meeting of the Chinese National Hui Studies Association, July 2017.

Delegation Visit to China: KFCRIS General-Secretary, Saud Al-Sarhan, participated in Tsinghua University’s ‘World Peace Forum’ (世界和平论坛). Collaborative Workshop was held with the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IISS) at Peking University, 21-29 June 2017.

Public Lecture: Makio Yamada, “The Political Economy of East Asia-Saudi Arabia Relations,” University of Hong Kong, 13 March 2017 (in collaboration with the Political Economy Unit).

Workshop: Collaboration with Professor Wang Jisi (Peking University), Dr. Wu Bingbing (Peking University), Professor Tim Niblock (University of Exeter), and Mr. Wang Tingyi (Tsinghua University), “The GCC and China: Towards a Strategic Partnership,” 5 April 2017.


Symposium: Collaboration with Dr. Yan Xiaojun (The University of Hong Kong) and Mr. Chen Xinwei, “China under President Xi Jinping: The Political and Economic Landscape,” 17 October 2016.



Translation of Chinese-language Archival Material on the Arab World from the Tang and Song eras. Overseen by Dr. Wan Lei. 

Reconnecting Asia Project.

Cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS’ "Reconnecting Asia" project in Gulf-related data collection.  

The reconnecting Asia initiative tracks infrastructure developments that are reshaping economic and geopolitical realities across the Asian continent. Through data curation and objective analysis, the project aims to fill Asia’s infrastructure-information gap. The objective of this partnership is to share data, increase transparency, and enable analysis. 

To know more about this project, click here.

Chinamed Research Project

Joint project with the Center for Mediterranean Area Studies of Peking University (ChinaMed). ChinaMed aims at offering independent and objective analysis on the deepening interconnections between the greater Mediterranean region and the People’s Republic of China.

The objective of the project is to exchange data, analyze trends and developments, and help produce research on various aspects of China’s engagement with the Middle East and broader Mediterranean region.

To know more about this project, click here.




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