Announcing: The China Focus Essay Contest

China Focus and the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China are delighted to announce the inaugural China Focus Essay Contest, a pioneering exercise in U.S.-China collaboration. The contest invites students from the University of California systems and Fudan University to submit an essay or video reflecting on U.S.-China relations.

Two winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize! Winners and finalists will have the opportunity to publish their work with China Focus. Finalists will be notified by May 11, 2015 and winners will be announced June 2015.


What is the biggest cliche in US-China relations and why is it problematic?

Cli·che (noun): a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Examples of cliches include but are not limited to “responsible stakeholder”, “tragedy of great power politics”, “new style of great power relations,” etc.


Each entry must be the original work by a student enrolled in the ten campuses of the University of California system or Fudan University for the 2014-2015 academic year. Collaborative projects are encouraged but the prize money must be split among the collaborators. The contest is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students only, and entries must be in English. In future years, we hope to conduct the essay contest both in English and Chinese, but at this point we are unable to evaluate Chinese language essays.

The entry can be either an essay or a video.
Essays should be written in op-ed style (not academic, footnoted papers) with a length of 1,000-2,000 words. Videos should not exceed 10 minutes.

CONTEST DEADLINE: March 30, 2015
CONTEST PRIZE: Two $1,000 prizes

Each entry will be reviewed by a panel of judges drawn from the China Focus Board of advisors: Fan Lizhu, Lei Guang, Susan Shirk, Karl Gerth, Barry Naughton


1. Send your submission to us by email at with the subject heading: CFContest-Last Name

2. Please make sure to use your university email address! We are only accepting submissions from .edu emails from Fudan University and the UC system

3. Attach your essay as a PDF or video as an email attachment (for video submissions please feel free to include a link to YouTube or youku if you have uploaded it online)

4. Please include the full name, school affiliation at the end of the essay or in the video description ” in the following format:

[Author 1 Full Name, Chinese Name (optional)]
[School Affiliation] [Degree pursued, year] Nationality: [Country Name]


Jack Zhang
UC San Diego
Ph.D. student in political science, 3rd year

Any questions? Please contact Jack Zhang at

Click for the flyer with details: 2015_Fudan-ChinaFocus_EssayContest

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Marika Heller

is a second-year MPIA student at IRPS with International Economics, Management, and China concentrations and Editor-in-Chief of the China Focus blog. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Chinese from Middlebury College, and an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute. She lived in Chengdu, China for two and a half years where she worked at a sustainable development NGO doing micro-finance and earthquake relief, and also at an international marketing and entertainment company.

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