"These historians offered me many inspiring ideas for my project and useful advice for my career [and] expanded my network of scholarship."

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Travel Report: Rui Zhang

Rui Zhang, a PhD student in the Department of History, received a Graduate International Research Travel Award (GIRTA) to further his research in Hong Kong.

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August 27, 2019

Thanks to the GIRTA, I was able to fund my research trip to Universities Service Centre (USC) for China Studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Special Collection & Archives at HKBU (Hong Kong Baptist University) in this summer. In these places, I was able to access a great amount of “internal sources” fo the CCP, including Internal Reference (1949-1963) edited by Xinhua News Agency, inner-party bulletins issued by provincial party committees, and news clips produced by the Union Center for China Studies from the 1950s to 1970s. 

My project attempts to examine how a series of technological, sanitary, hygienic, and medical measures to safeguard workers from harmful working conditions were introduced, developed, and deployed in Chinese workplaces and how these measures were perceived among Chinese labourers from the 1930s to the 1980s. 

Thus, my project is unavoidably concerned with many “sensitive” topics such as accident, death, and accountability, many of which are still restricted in mainland China now. So this is the key reason why I choose Hong Kong as the first stop to conduct my research. The sources mentioned above are exclusively collected in those agencies in Hong Kong. Staying in Hong Kong, one of the most bustling cities in this planet, costs a lot. Again, thanks to GIRTA, which prevent me from being distracted by worrying about food and drink from my work.

I also met some well-known historians specializing in Maoist China while I was conducting my research in Hong Kong. These historians offered me many inspiring ideas for my project and useful advice for my career. These productive meetings expanded my network of scholarship.