Lauri Paltemaa

Centre for East Asian Studies CEAS

The Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) is the only academic research centre in Finland that focuses on contemporary East Asia from the perspective of social sciences in both research and teaching. CEAS was established in 2006 but the minor programme in East Asian Studies has been offered since 1998.

CEAS has research and teaching expertise especially in politics, sociology and contemporary history of the region with a focus on China, South Korea, North Korea and Japan. CEAS offers three different study programmes (minor, master's and doctoral level) and also coordinates the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies (Asianet).

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News and Events

Nordic-Baltic Korean Studies Days 2024

NBKSD 2024 was held from March 4th to March 8th, 2024 at the University of Copenhagen. 


The principal motivation of the course was to enable students with an interest in Korean Studies to meet and study alongside their peers in order to develop a pan-Nordic-Baltic network and sense of community.

Students gained time with Korean Studies research and teaching faculty from other institutes helping to diversify their regular curriculum and learning opportunities. For teachers, it was similarly a chance to collaborate with their colleagues and students.

The Nordic-Baltic Korean Studies Days is a co-taught course organized between Korean Studies faculty of Nordic (and newly) Baltic institutions including the universities of Helsinki, Turku, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim), Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas), and The University of Latvia. It was generously funded by Nordplus that supports educational cooperation throughout Nordic and Baltic states. This was the fourth Nordic, and first Nordic-Baltic Korean Studies Days!


Learn more about the Nordic-Baltic Korean Studies Days here!

Korean Speech Contest 2023 / 2023년 한국어 말하기 대회

The Centre for East Asian Studies of the University of Turku invites all students of the Korean language to participate in the 2023 Korean Speech Contest in Turku on Friday, 1st December 2023. There will be Korean snacks and drinks for all participants and the audience after the contest, so welcome everyone! All participants receive a prize!

  • Date: Friday, 1 December 2023, 13-15.30 pm
  • Venue: Lecture Hall Edu2, Educarium building, 2nd floor, Assistentinkatu 5, 20500 Turku

More information here.

Kiinan poliittinen järjestelmä -kirja on ehdolla vuoden tietokirjaksi!

Book on China's political system nominated as the Scientific Book of the Year by the Finnish Association for Scholarly Publishing. CEAS' professor Lauri Paltemaa is one of the authors together with Prof. Mikael Mattlin and Prof. Juha A. Vuori. 

Kiinan poliittinen järjestelmä -kirja on ehdolla vuoden tietokirjaksi!

CEASin professori Lauri Paltemaa on yksi Kiinan poliittinen järjestelmä -kirjan kirjoittajista yhdessä tutkimusprofessori Mikael Mattlinin ja professori Juha A. Vuoren kanssa.  

Suomen Tiedekustantajien liitto arvioi kirjaa nimityslausunnossaan näin: "Perusteellinen, loogisesti etenevä kokonaisuus, joka toimii hyvin paitsi oppikirjana myös tieteellisenä yleisteoksena. Kirjassa on tiivistetty erinomaisesti Kiinan historiallinen ja ideologis-poliittinen tausta, joka on luonut maan poliittisen järjestelmän ja muokannut sitä. Teos kuvailee Kiinan hallintorakenteen ja sen kehityksen yksityiskohtaisesti, mutta selkeästi. Järjestelmän nykytilan ja tulevaisuuden haasteiden jäsennelty kuvaus tuo Kiinan lähemmäs suomenkielistä lukijaa." Kirjan on kustantanut Vastapaino. 

Lue lisää:

Kiinan poliittinen järjestelmä -kirjan kansi

The Nordic Asia Podcast - Always well-informed about Asia

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a podcast series co-hosted by Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen and its partners in the Nordic countries, including the Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at the University of Turku. Experts join us in every episode to share their insights about timely topics within Asian Studies.

Check out the latest episodes of the Nordic Asia Podcast here:

CEAS podcast spotify       CEAS_NAPodcast_Apple


2023 Asian Studies Days Conference: At the Crux of New Europe-Asia Relations, 1 Nov 2023

2023 Asian Studies Days Conference (hybrid)

Date: 1 Nov 2023 (Wed)

Venue: EDU 2, University of Turku and Zoom

Recent geopolitical events and macroeconomic earthquakes have underscored the urgency of reevaluating the relationships between European and Asian countries. The rivalry between the US and China has exposed smaller European and Asian states to critical security and economic vulnerabilities over which they have limited control. Meanwhile, China is strategically positioning itself on the global stage to assume a leading normative role.

In Europe, it becomes imperative to grasp the regional dynamics in Asia and understand Asian countries better to chart a course that safeguards both our values and interests. With a wealth of outstanding scholarship in Asia, Asian Studies Days 2023 aims to delineate the key dynamics shaping current changes and pinpoint the essential areas requiring our attention.

2023 Asian Studies Days Doctoral Seminar, 31 Oct. 2023

Asian Studies Days' Doctoral Seminar

Date: 31 Oct (Tue), University of Turku (onsite, no online participation)

This doctoral seminar provides an outstanding opportunity to meet other young researchers whose doctoral thesis focuses on Asia, and to receive feedback from senior researchers who have a profound knowledge of the region. The seminar is arranged in connection with the annual Asian Studies Days.

Finland-Korea symposium, 12 Oct 2023

At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Finland and the Republic of Korea, CEAS in co-operation with Suomi - Korean Tasavaltayhdistys (Finland-Republic of Korea Association) organises a half-day symposium on 12 Oct 2023 (13-17hrs).

The programme is published here.


Supported by


Otto Malm logo           KF logo 

Visiting Lecture: Democratization and Economic Development of South Korea: benefits and costs of traditional values, 5 Oct.

Democratization and Economic Development of South Korea: benefits and costs of traditional values 

Professor Youngtae Shin

Date: 5 Oct. 2023 (Thu), 12-14hrs

Venue: EDU3 (hybrid:; Meeting ID: 687 7824 7335; Passcode: 547173)

South Korea’s economic and political success received much attention from scholars of various disciplines and their approaches tend to vary depending on their disciplines. For instance, economists usually credit it to the government’s astute economic policy capitalizing Korea's comparative advantage of abundant cheap labor force in its early stage of development while political scientists focus on the successive authoritarian military regimes that enabled it to keep the cost of products lower in the world market. While I recognize the importance of their contributions, I would like to look at other aspects of Korea’s success by exploring Korea’s traditional values and its contributions to Korea’s success. In this talk, I will discuss the bearer of the culture and their role in making Korea politically democratic and economically robust. To this end, I will discuss young female factory workers in Korea’s march toward success of the export-oriented development and the older female agent who sustained the brunt of the political oppression of their families. At the end of my presentation, I will briefly discuss the erosion of the traditional cultures that the older generation of Koreans lament about.    


Youngtae Shin received her PhD in political science at the University of Washington, Seattle WA in 1992. Since then, she taught at the University of Central Oklahoma as professor in Political Science and simultaneously directed Asian Studies minor until her retirement in July 2023. She published three books (one in Korean) and many articles in areas of women and politics (politics broadly defined). Her current scholarly interest is to study the relationship between women’s political success and their role in promoting nationalism. She makes a distinction between internally oriented nationalism and externally directed expansionist one and postulates that there is a close relationship between the nature of nationalism and the degree of women’s success in domestic politics. She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Turku studying Finnish women’s political involvement in national politics. She hopes to explore the relationship between nationalism and women’s political success holds true in the Finnish women’s success in politics.  For this purpose, she intends to immerse herself in Finnish culture and its recent history. In her spare time, she likes to learn international folk dances (very interested in learning Finnish folk dance) and sings in her church choir. She is also writing her memoir for her grandchildren so that they will have some knowledge about their Korean roots from their maternal side even though they do not have Korean last names.   

Visiting Lecture: Taiwan, China, and the Cold War Refugees: Hong Kong, Dachen Islands, and Southeast Asia, 28 Sept.

Taiwan, China, and the Cold War Refugees: Hong Kong, Dachen Islands, and Southeast Asia

Visiting lecture by Professor Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang 楊孟軒, Associate Professor of East Asian History, Department of History, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA

Date: 28 Sept. (Thu), 12:45-13:30hrs

Venue: Pub499

Visiting Lecture: The Uses of Cuteness: Gender, Identity Politics, and Elections in Taiwan, 28 Sept.

The Uses of Cuteness: Gender, Identity Politics, and Elections in Taiwan

Visiting Lecture by Hsin-I Sydney Yueh 岳心怡, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Communication, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA

Date: 28 Sept. (Thu), 12:15-12:45hrs

Venue: Pub499

Visiting lecture (hybrid): Global China on the Ground: A Civil Society Perspective, 6 April 2023

Title: Global China on the Ground: A Civil Society Perspective

Speaker: Dušica Ristivojević, Senior Researcher, University of Helsinki

Time and venue: 6.4.2023, 12:00-14hrs (EEST), Pub150 or

China's Zijin Mining Group is one of the world's largest mining groups and aims to become one of the world's top three mining companies. In recent years, it has made significant investments in Serbia to extract and process gold and raw materials like copper. Under the leadership of strongman Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia's mining sector is expected to grow from its current 2% to 5% of its total GDP over the next decade. Yet, controversies surrounding environmental issues and the lack of transparency of the Serbian government and its Chinese partners are mobilizing local activists. Based on fieldwork data, the speaker will address how China's global advancement looks on the ground and the dynamics of ever-increasing Chinese influence in this region of Europe undergoing a slow accession process to the EU. 


Visiting lecture (Zoom): The impact of Russian invasion of Ukraine on Japan's policy concerning the Arctic and North, 30 March 2023, 10-12 EEST

Juha Saunavaara, Associate Professor at Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center

30 March 2023 (Thu), 10-12 EEST (Zoom), Meeting ID: 630 3014 3883, Passcode: 339975

Russian invasion of Ukraine has had significant spillover effects on the Arctic causing turbulence in international relations and posing challenges to the structures of Arctic governance. Japan as a state is connected with the Arctic governance and cooperation through institutional bonds (such as the observer status at the Arctic Council) and policy commitments. Similarly, various Japanese stakeholders ranging from private companies and NGOs to universities and subnational governments have invested resources, built networks, and committed themselves to the long-term engagement and collaboration with a wide spectrum of Arctic actors. The ongoing crisis forces all of them to reconsider their attitude toward the Arctic cooperation and evaluate their present and future interaction with their Arctic partners. Besides describing the development of Japan’s interaction with the Arctic and North and the more recent changes caused by the war, this presentation elaborates the linkages between Japan’s Arctic and marine and energy policies, for example. In addition, it provides insights concerning the possible structures and issues of future cooperation.

Bio: Juha Saunavaara is an Associate Professor at Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes representing various fields ranging from Arctic and Asian studies to history, geography, international relations, and tourism. His current research focuses on interactions between the Arctic and non-Arctic actors, telecommunication and transport infrastructure in the Arctic, regional development, non-state actors’ international cooperation and sustainable tourism.

CEAS' MOOC "Introduction to East Asia" is Course of the Year 2022

The CEAS' Finnish language MOOC Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan (Introduction to East Asia) was selected course of the year 2022 at the University of Turku!

Congratulations to Silja Keva and her team! The University of Turku (UTU) and the Student Union of the UTU selected the MOOC-course Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan (Introduction to East Asia) as the course of the year 2022. The course is produced by the Centre for East Asian Studies for the national Finnish University Network for Asian Studies.

The selection arguments highlighted the inspiring and versatile study materials of the course, the varied and flexible assignments and their good interplay with the course text book. The course received excellent student feedback.

Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan is a Finnish-language MOOC-course that is free of charge and open to everybody. The course introduced the key issues and challenges of East Asian (China, Japan, South and North Korea) countries in politics, economy, social issues and regional relations. 

See below how to sign up to the course (for Finnish speakers)!


Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan -MOOC-verkkokurssi on Turun yliopiston vuoden 2022 opintojakso!

Turun yliopisto ja Turun yliopiston ylioppilaskunta valitsivat Itä-Aasian tutkimus- ja koulutuskeskuksen ja Yliopistojen Aasia-verkoston -verkkokurssin “Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan” vuoden opintojaksoksi 2022. 

Valintaperusteita kuvattiin näin: ”Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan -MOOC-verkkokurssi oli innostava, kaikille avoin itseopiskelukurssi. Kurssilla oppimista tukivat omassa aikataulussa suoritettavat pienet ja vaihtelevat tehtävät, joiden yhteyteen oli merkitty arvioitu kesto. Erilaiset tehtävät nivoutuivat kurssin oppikirjaan ja monipuoliseen verkkomateriaaliin. Kurssisivuston visuaalinen ilme lisäsi motivaatiota. Opiskelijapalautteet kurssilta olivat kiittäviä.”


Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan on kaikille avoin ja ilmainen massaverkkokurssi. Tällä kurssilla opit ymmärtämään Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntien avainpiirteitä ja keskeisimpiä haasteita, jotka määrittävät alueen maiden (Kiina, Etelä-Korea, Pohjois-Korea ja Japani) nykypolitikkaa, talouksia ja maiden välisiä suhteita.


Kurssi perustuu oppikirjaan nimeltä Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi – johdatus Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntiin. Erilaiset verkossa suoritettavat tehtävät tukevat ja täydentävät oppikirjaa ja auttavat opiskelijaa soveltamaan ja pohtimaan oppimaansa. Kurssi on kokonaan suomenkielinen.


Kurssille kirjautuminen: Syksyn 2022 kurssille voi kirjautua 3.10 -20.11.2022 aikana. Kurssia voi suorittaa ajalla 3.10-18.12.2022.

Kirjaudu kurssille osoitteessa

Tervetuloa mukaan!


EU Horizon Grant: New Research Project 'ReConnect China'

CEAS together with a European consortium secured a four-year, four-million Euro EU Horizon grant to collaborate on ReConnect China, a path-breaking research project to address the lack of China knowledge in Europe and the urgent need to upgrade and promote independent European knowledge on contemporary China. There were more than a dozen applications for funding under this Horizon call, and ReConnect China consortium involving CEAS is one of only two selected. Starting from November 2022, the project aims to clarify in which domains the EU’s cooperation with China is desirable, possible or impossible. Ghent University in Belgium will coordinate the work of 14 universities and knowledge centres in 12 European countries, of which UTU is the only Nordic University.

According to Professor Lauri Paltemaa, in the current geopolitical situation, China is increasingly identified as a rival, so it’s imperative to carve out a fair, balanced, and mutually beneficial European policy vis-à-vis China. This task will be supported by a tailor-made database collecting data from government sources both at national and local levels. Professor Lauri Paltemaa also emphasised the importance of getting a better understanding of what’s going on beyond Beijing, in provincial cities and villages. The project breaks new ground by linking this new digital repository with computational methods of data collection and analysis. Paltemaa ensures that CEAS researchers are well prepared to utilise the collected data to their full, as CEAS has in a pioneering manner initiated training for students and staff members in computational research methods.

CEAS will also co-lead one of the consortium’s work packages aiming to produce Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for European students. University lecturer Outi Luova, who is in charge of the development of the MOOC courses, describes this as an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the development of Chinese studies in European universities. Based on the robust experience of CEAS in four much-praised MOOC courses via the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies, the aim of ReConnect is to provide introductory courses in Chinese politics, society and economy that are easily accessible. Outi Luova points out, that the excellent scalability of the MOOC courses, and their efficient ability to mainstream China-knowledge among university students and the general public, was one of the key aspects that secured the funding.

In addition to creating and disseminating knowledge about China for Europe and its citizens, Senior researcher Hermann Aubié with researchers from CEAS and the ReConnect Consortium will deliver policy briefs, podcasts and workshops to inform the strategic priorities of the European Union and the Commission in key EU-China issue areas such as green and digital technology, human rights, geoeconomics, global health, development financing, foreign aid, and the nexus between China’s domestic politics and international relations. As China researchers are often scattered all over Europe, this project also intends to bring them together, with policy experts, students and other key stakeholders through a new Europe-China Knowledge Forum. To sum up, the five main outputs of the ReConnect China project are:

1. Providing an independent understanding of China and its overall defining social, cultural, political and economic characteristics.

2. Identifying the EU’s current strengths and urgent needs within the new global narratives on China.

3. Developing a database of online open sources enabling day-to-day insights into policies, narratives, and public discourses in China.

4. Mainstreaming knowledge on China within the EU to help offset the stagnating number of European students in Chinese studies while enhancing awareness on China among the general public and youth.

5. Contributing fact-based knowledge in four key policy fields: Science & Technology, Economy & Trade, Domestic Politics, and China in the World.

CEAS is very much looking forward to the official kick-off of this highly interesting new research endeavour in the company of excellent European partners!

ReConnect China Logo

New Book on China's Political System by Lauri Paltemaa, Mikael Mattlin and Juha A. Vuori

This book authored by Mikael Mattlin, Lauri Paltemaa and Juha A. Vuori offers a comprehensive analysis of China's political system (in Finnish).

Based on the latest research, the book provides its readers with a key terminology to understand Chinese politics. It deals with relations between the state and society, the role of the state in the economy and China's foreign policy. The book also presents the key political institutions of the People's Republic of China, their historical backgrounds and functional features.

Kiinasta on muodostumassa globaali poliittinen mahtitekijä, jonka vaikutus näkyy myös Suomessa.

Kiina on vaurastunut ja voimistunut, mutta Kiinan autoritaarinen poliittinen järjestys ei muistuta länsimaiden toimintatapoja. Siksi on oleellista ymmärtää Kiinan poliittisen järjestelmän perusteet ja sen toimintaperiaatteet.

Kiinan poliittinen järjestelmä on ainutlaatuinen yhdistelmä keisarillista menneisyyttä, leninististä (jälki)totalitarismia ja nykyaikaisia julkisjohtamisen oppeja. Sen toiminnassa korostuvat sekä muodolliset puoluevaltion instituutiot että epämuodolliset poliittisen kulttuurin piirteet.

Kirja tarjoaa lukijalleen uusimpaan tutkimukseen perustuvan keskeisen käsitteistön Kiinan politiikan ymmärtämiseksi. Siinä käsitellään valtion ja yhteiskunnan välisiä suhteita, valtion roolia taloudessa sekä Kiinan ulkopolitiikkaa. Kirjassa esitellään myös Kiinan kansantasavallan keskeiset poliittiset instituutiot, niiden historialliset taustat ja toiminnalliset piirteet sekä tutkimuksessa käytetyt keskeiset käsitteet.

Kirjoittajat ovat Kiinan tutkimuksen asiantuntijoita: Mikael Mattlin on Turun yliopiston valtio-opin professori. Lauri Paltemaa on Turun yliopiston Itä-Aasian oman aikamme historian ja politiikan professori sekä Itä-Aasian tutkimus- ja koulutuskeskuksen johtaja. Juha A. Vuori on Tampereen yliopiston kansainvälisen politiikan professori.

Saatavilla myös e-kirjana.

Second revised edition of "Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi" at UTU Shop

The second revised edition of "Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi - - Johdatus Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntiin", the Finnish texbook for studying contemporary East Asia, is now out!

You can purchase the electronic and printed version of the book from Utu-shop.


LOHIKÄÄRME, TIIKERI JA KRYSANTEEMI – Johdatus Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntiin

Kirjoittajat: Silja Keva (toim.), Annamari Konttinen, Kristian Kurki, Lauri Paltemaa ja Sungju Park-Kang

Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi tarjoaa johdatuksen Kiinan, Etelä-Korean, Pohjois-Korean ja Japanin historiaan ja näiden tämän hetken polttavimpiin yhteiskunnallisiin ja taloudellisiin haasteisiin. Kirjassa käsitellään mm. nopeasti ikääntyvän väestön vaikutuksia Japaniin, Kiinan politiikan ja hallinnon erityispiirteitä, ja Koreoiden tilannetta. Lisäksi kirjassa valotetaan tämän yhden maailman dynaamisimman alueen keskinäisen yhteistyön ongelmakohtia, joita historialliset jännitteet edelleen vaikeuttavat.

Kirja sopii kaikille kansainvälisistä aiheista ja Itä-Aasiasta kiinnostuneille ja Itä-Aasian opintoja aloittaville opiskelijoille.

Kirjoittajat toimivat tutkijoina ja opettajina Turun yliopiston Itä-Aasian tutkimus- ja koulutuskeskuksessa, joka on Suomen ainoa Itä-Aasian nyky-yhteiskuntia yhteiskuntatieteellisestä näkökulmasta tutkiva akateeminen yksikkö.

Kirja on jo myynnissä e-kirjana Turun yliopiston UTUShopissa 10€ hintaan.

UTUShopissa on myös myynnissä painettu teos 15€ hintaan.

Academy of Finland Research Project "Security in China"

We are delighted about the Academy of Finland's decision to fund the Security in China research consortium led by CEAS Professor Lauri Paltemaa and Professor Juha A. Vuori form the University of Tampere. More information on the project webpages:
Security in China (in English)
Turvallisuus Kiinassa (in Finnish)