Changing Lives in Modern China


Theme:       Changing Lives in Modern China
Date/Time:     Friday-Saturday  July 27-28, 2018             8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Place:   San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE),
101 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City,  California
Workshop Goal: Enable middle and high school teachers to include modern China in their curriculum.
Stipend: San Francisco Bay Area Teachers – $200 
Other California Teachers – $300
Out-of-State Teachers – $400
Who Should Apply: Grade 6-12 teachers, U.S. public or private schools
APPLY AT:–apply




Clayton Dube, Moderator

Moderator of our 2017 Workshop, is the Executive Director of University of Southern California’s U.S.-China Institute, focusing on the multidimensional U.S.-China relationship. Trained as a historian, he first lived in China in 1982 and has since returned to China many times to carry out fieldwork on economic development, lead study tours, and lecture at conferences.  Mr. Dube is recognized for his many outstanding contributions to the research and education about China and has won teaching awards at three universities.


Joan Chen

Joan Chen is a widely recognized and respected Asian actor and director. Her most notable performances include the Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor, the Twin Peaks TV series, Heaven and Earth, and Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.  In 1997, Joan made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu:The Sent-down Girl, which received numerous international awards, including the International Freedom of Expression Award. She also directed MGM’s Autumn In New York starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder and Shanghai Strangers in 2012.  Joan is a member of the 1990 Institute Board of Directors and also chair of its Youth Voices on China program.


Scott Rozelle

Dr. Rozelle is the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) at Stanford University.  REAP is an organization whose goal is to help students from vulnerable communities in China to enhance their human capital and overcome obstacles to education so that they can escape poverty and better contribute to China’s developing economy. Dr. Rozelle had spoken about this project at our inaugural 2013 Teachers Workshop.  (See video.)

Rob Schmitz

Rob Schmitz is the Shanghai Correspondent for NPR and author of Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road. From 2010 to 2016, Mr. Schmitz was the China Correspondent for the public radio business program Marketplace. Mr. Schmitz has won numerous awards for his reporting on China and other East  Asia countries, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards, Education Writers Association award, and Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.

Richard Madsen

Dr. Madsen is a sociology professor at U.C. San Diego and is the author, or co-author, of twelve books on Chinese culture, American culture, and international relations.

Tobias Smith

Tobias Smith is a researcher specializing in the development of criminal law in China. His writing focuses on capital punishment and its alternatives. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and is a PhD candidate in UC Berkeley’s Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program.

Yunxiang Yan

Dr. Yan is a professor of anthropology at UCLA.  His research has centered on China’s Social change and development, family and kinship, cultural globalization, morality, the individual and individualization.  Dr. Yan also has the personal experience of having been forced to drop out of primary school to work as a shepherd, farmer, and seasonal manual laborer in rural China until 1978.

Above are speakers that have already committed or have expressed their interest in speaking at the Workshop, as of April 13, 2018. 



To further illustrate how people’s life have changed, we will be inviting a number of Chinese citizens to share personal stories on how their lives have changed, perhaps also contrasting with what their lives would have been like if they were born 30-40 years earlier.

Spring Bud Program Recipients.  In 2001, the 1990 Institute started the Spring Bud program which recruited 1000 impoverished girls from rural Shaanxi province that have stopped going to school , to re-start school from the 3rd grade and continue through college (if they are able), with all expenses paid.  These 3 young women, out of 173, are the young woman that did finished college on this program.

Li QinQin Ma Danning Li Yue
Attorney Head of District Level Kindergarten & Pre-school Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine


In our 2013-2016 workshops, we focused on topics that pertain to China’s political/governmental structure, economic development, environmental sustainability, globalization challenges, military & security concerns, bilateral relations with the U.S., etc.

In 2017, we examined China’s social institutions, values, and the vastly changing demographics.  This year,  we are going deeper into exploring how the different classes/groups of Chinese citizens’ lives have change from the end of the Cultural Revolution to today.  Besides presentations by academics and journalists,  we will also be bringing in individuals to tell their personal stories on how their lives have changed during this period.


Topics addressed can include the following:

Changing Demographics and Its Impact on Traditional Chinese Values

  • How has the rural to urban migration, rise of the middle class, aging population, former one -child policy, and changing roles of women affected the lives, beliefs and traditional values of the Chinese?
  • Has the rise of a mass consumer society challenged many of the Confucian doctrines?

Improving Economy and Entrepreneurship

  • How have Chinese lives evolved from a communist “iron rice bowl” mentality to an entrepreneurial way of life?.
  • How have the lives of common citizens in rural and urban China been changed by a growth-driven economic policy?
  • Who are the billionaires in China?  Are they the Horatio Algers of China?

Opportunities for Education

  • Are there different education competency standards and privileges in China, between urban and rural, the have’s and the have-not’s, male and female?
  • How has the rise of educational opportunities for youth affected their lives?
  • Who are the students pursuing education abroad and how are their lives and values changing?

Art and Culture

  • How have the lives and works of artists changed in China over the years?
  • How has China’s censorship affected filmmakers, authors, musicians and artists?
  • How are Chinese people portrayed in modern Chinese literature, film and art?

Changing Legal System and Citizenship

  • What is the Chinese legal system and how does it serve its citizens?
  • How is everyday justice perceived from the citizens’ perspective?
  • What is the historical and current role of judges and lawyers in Chinese society and do they influence social change?

And, an Update on U.S.-China Relations



Morning sessions include speaker presentations, panel discussions, and Q&A opportunities for teachers. Afternoon sessions are used for developing ideas on how modern China can be integrated into the standard 6-12 grade classes. With the help of experienced facilitators, teachers will brainstorm on how resources and materials from this workshop and past workshops can be used in the classroom; and begin the process for developing modern China specific lesson plans.


Attending teachers are paid the stipend after they have completed all the attendance requirements. These include attending all formal sessions of the workshop (reception or special after session activities not required); completing both the day 1 and day 2 feedback forms; and submitting a Follow-up Action Plan on how to integrate the teaching of some aspect of modern China, covered in any of our workshops since 2013, into their normal curriculum.

How Stipend Is Determined

San Francisco Bay Area Teachers $200 Teachers living within 65 miles from SMCOE
Other California Teachers $300 Teachers of California schools living outside of Bay Area
Out-of-State $400* Teachers teaching in other states*

* Verification of full-time employment from school required



Workshop attendees can opt to receive 1.6 Continuing Education Units (CEU), in lieu of all or part of their stipend, from San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning.  The fee for receiving these units is $200.  If you select to receive the CEU credit, the 1990 Institute will pay this fee to SFSU directly for you out of your stipend, after you have completing all the Workshop requirements (same as for receiving the stipend).   Information on how to register for the CEU credit will be available several weeks before the Workshop.



Based on the topics to be covered in this workshop and speaker recommendations, participants will be provided with books and/or list of references to read 1-2 months before the workshop.

Additional resources may also be given out before and/or at the Workshop.



Please contact for any questions.