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CHINA & THE ARCTIC

A VIEW TO 2050

A SYMPOSIUM ORGANISED BY 
THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

& NANJING UNIVERSITY

22-23 APRIL 2021 | HONG KONG & ONLINE

 

China has its eyes on the Arctic. In a region where climate change is occurring twice as quickly as the global average and where natural resources, tourism, and fisheries are fast-developing industries, the Chinese government is becoming an important player. The country opened an Arctic research station in Svalbard in 2003, joined the Arctic Council – the region’s primary international governance organisation – as an observer in 2013, released its first Arctic Policy in 2018, and launched its first domestically-built icebreaker, Xue Long 2, in 2019 (pictured above). Yet as China’s interest in the polar regions has grown, Western skepticism of the country’s intentions has risen.

To reconcile these differences and fostering dialogue between polar scientists from across Greater China, this symposium will leverage Hong Kong’s position as a meeting place between East and West. It will bring together social scientists and Earth scientists specialising in the Arctic and the wider global cryosphere from both Hong Kong and Mainland China to discuss the latest findings and research directions in Chinese polar science, complemented by interpretations from outside Mainland China of Chinese policies and practices in the region.

 

The symposium will also focus on longer-term scientific models and policy aims to understand how scientists from Greater China are predicting the Arctic will appear in 2050, with a special focus on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Third Pole, or the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas, which store the third largest amount of frozen water after the Arctic and Antarctica.

 

Taken together, the symposium will foster interdisciplinary and cross-boundary dialogue to enhance linkages between the Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese polar science communities. The event will also encourage the participation of early career scholars, namely assistant professors in Hong Kong and “Young Scientists” from Mainland, and graduate students. Guest speakers at the symposium will also be invited to contribute to a special issue on China and the polar regions.

 

With all science sessions streamed online, the symposium also welcomes participants from around the world who wish to contribute to discussions on the future of China and the Arctic – two areas that are rapidly evolving economically and environmentally while becoming more deeply intertwined. 

ABOUT

Icefield

SPEAKERS

Researchers and practitioners from Hong Kong, China, and beyond

Mia BENNETT

Co-Organiser

Department of Geography

The University of Hong Kong

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C.W. Jason CHAN

Scott Polar Research Institute
University of Cambridge

History Department, Harvard 

(from Sept. 2021)

Zhuoqi CHEN

School of Geospatial Engineering and Science, Sun Yat-Sen University

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K.C. HO

Department of Geography
The University of Hong Kong

College of Marine Ecology & Environment

Shanghai Ocean University

Linghong KE

College of Hydrology & Water Resources

Hohai University

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Lin LIU

Earth System Science Programme, Faculty of Science

Chinese University of Hong Kong

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Martin KOSSA

Faculty of Social Sciences

Nord University

Jan Jakub SOLSKI

Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea, UiT/Arctic University of Norway

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Pavel TOPOROV

School of Biological Sciences &

Swire Institute of Marine Science

The University of Hong Kong

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Kang YANG

Co-Organiser

School of Geography & Ocean Science

Nanjing University

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Wilson (Wai-Yin) CHEUNG

Polar Research and
Expedition Consultancy

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John DOHERTY

Department of Earth Sciences &
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong

Benjamin IAQUINTO

Department of Geography

The University of Hong Kong

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Xi LIANG

Polar Environmental Research & Forecasting Division, National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center (Beijing)

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Nengye LIU

Centre for Environmental Law, Macquarie University

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Christelle NOT

Department of Earth Sciences
The University of Hong Kong

Chunqiao SONG

Dept. of Remote Sensing & GIS, Nanjing Institute of Geography & Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Qian (Oliver) XU

Department of Earth Sciences &

Swire Institute of Marine Science

The University of Hong Kong

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Jiahua ZHANG

Earth System Science Programme, Faculty of Science

Chinese University of Hong Kong

 

ACTIVITIES: DAY 1

On this 90 minute tour, we will learn how Hong Kong might have looked during the Ice Age and what environmental connections it has to the Arctic. We'll also walk by mammoth ivory and Siberian fur shops.

At the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, a docent will guide us through the exhibits with attention to the Maritime Silk Road. We'll also hear about Hong Kong's role within the North Pacific fur trade, too.

We'll visit a restaurant featuring the Cantonese version of borscht, introduced by Russian migrants in the 1920s, and the classic American dessert "Baked Alaska," invented in the US to commemorate the country's purchase of the territory from Russia in 1867.

SESSIONS: DAY 2

Opening Remarks

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

China looks to the Arctic

9:30 am - 9:45 am

Mia Bennett and Kang Yang

Session #1

9:45 AM - 11:05 AM

The Arctic Ocean: Past, present & future

9:45 am - 10:05 am
 

10:05 am - 10:25 am
 

10:25 am - 10:45 am

10:45 am - 11:05 

Christelle NOT, Investigating the past to understand the future climate of the Arctic Ocean
 

Xiang XU, Reconstructing sediment transport and its relationship with sea ice condition over the last few hundred of thousand years in the Canadian basin of the Arctic Ocean (via Zoom)
 

John DOHERTY, Effects of the North Atlantic oceanic circulation on Arctic climate

KC HO, Effects of globalisation and climate change on polar regions and Arctic water resources

Session #1

11:30 AM - 12:50 PM

Chinese science & forecasting in Greenland and the Arctic

11:30 am - 11:50 am

11:50 am - 12:10 pm
 

12:10 pm - 12:30 pm

12:30 pm - 12:50 pm 

Kang YANG, Surface meltwater routing on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Zhuoqi CHEN, Fast ice flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Xi LIANG, Toward reliable synoptic-seasonal Arctic sea ice prediction 

Jiahua ZHANG, Utilizing the full potentials of GNSS interferometric reflectometry for quantifying permafrost changes in a warming climate

Session #3

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

From the North Pole to the Third Pole

2:00 pm - 2:20 pm

2:20 pm - 2:40 pm

2:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Lin LIU, Remote sensing observations of permafrost changes in the Arctic and Tibet
 

Chunqiao SONG, Remote sensing of Tibetan hydrology and global changes

Linghong KE, Remotely sensed observations of glacier change over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the early 21st century and its implications

Session #4

3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

China's northern gaze: Geopolitics, economics, & imaginaries

3:10 pm - 3:30 pm

3:30 pm - 3:50 pm

3:50 pm - 4:10 pm

4:10 pm - 4:30 pm

Wilson CHEUNG, Learning from Arctic adventure tourism guides:
Chinese consumers in the Arctic regions

Benjamin IAQUINTO and Mia BENNETT, The geopolitics of China's Arctic tourism resources

Martin KOSSA, Chinese security interests in the Arctic region


 

TBD

Session #3

3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Extending the Polar Silk Road: Future directions for collaboration & publication

4:45 pm - 5:30 pm

Closing discussion

How is our work connected? What are our common interests and shared perspectives on the Arctic?

  • Towards 2050: What human and physical changes may happen in the Arctic in the next 30 years?​

  • What do researchers in Greater China think will be important to study?

  • What role may China seek in the Arctic
     

Brainstorming of grant and publication opportunities

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Walking tour:

The Pearl River Delta's northern connections

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 

Meeting point:

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park

Join this walking tour to learn about Hong Kong's surprising northern connections, from how the landscape looked during the Ice Age to stories of Russian revolutionaries, mammoth ivory traders, Siberian fur sellers, and ice houses. Dr. Pavel TOPOROV will share his insights into the local mammoth trade.

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Guided tour:

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Meeting point:

HK Maritime Museum

At the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, a docent will guide us through the exhibits with attention to the Maritime Silk Road. There will be an opportunity to learn about Hong Kong's role within the North Pacific fur trade, too.

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Group Lunch:

Tai Ping Koon

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Meeting point:

60 Stanley Street, Central

We will visit at an old-fashioned Western restaurant featuring borscht and learn about how some culinary delights with northern connections made their way to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Arctic connections: Discussion panel

4:30 pm - 5:45 pm

Map Library, 10th Floor

Department of Geography

Jockey Club Tower, HKU + Zoom

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Mark AGNEW

Outdoor and extreme sports editor, SCMP
 

Planning to row the Northwest Passage in 2022

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Kee Duen CHU

Sailed from Hong Kong to the Northwest Passage in 2016

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Pavel TOPOROV

Guided two Chinese tourist expeditions to the South Pole and one to the North Pole

Join us for a panel featuring scholars and practitioners in Hong Kong with a wide range of polar experiences, from sailing the Northwest Passage to guiding Chinese tourists to the South Pole.

Watch the Zoom recording of the session here.

SCIENCE SESSIONS: DAY 2

9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Meng Wah 103, HKU & on Zoom (link will be emailed to registered participants)

China looks to the Arctic

Opening Remarks

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

9:30 am - 9:45 am

Mia Bennett and Kang Yang

Session #1

9:45 AM - 11:05 AM

The Arctic Ocean: Past, present & future

9:45 am - 10:05 am
 

10:05 am - 10:25 am
 

10:25 am - 10:45 am

10:45 am - 11:05 

Christelle NOT, Investigating the past to understand the future climate of the Arctic Ocean
 

Qian (Oliver) XU, Reconstructing sediment transport and its relationship with sea ice condition over the last few hundred of thousand years in the Canadian basin of the Arctic Ocean
 

John DOHERTY, The North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans in a warm world: Perspectives from paleoclimate

KC HO, Effects of globalisation and climate change on polar regions and Arctic water resources

Session #2

11:25 AM - 12:45 PM

Chinese science & forecasting in Greenland and the Arctic

11:25 am - 11:45 am

11:45 am - 12:05 pm
 

12:05 pm - 12:25 pm

12:25 pm - 12:45 pm 

Kang YANG, Surface meltwater routing on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Xi LIANG, Toward reliable synoptic-seasonal Arctic sea ice prediction 

Jiahua ZHANG, Utilizing the full potentials of GNSS interferometric reflectometry for quantifying permafrost changes in a warming climate

Zhuoqi CHEN, Evaluations of the Level-1 product from Ice Pathfinder Satellite

Watch the Zoom recording of Sessions 1-2 here.

Session #3

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Climate change and governance in the Third Pole

2:00 pm - 2:20 pm

2:20 pm - 2:40 pm

2:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Chunqiao SONG, Remote sensing of Tibetan hydrology and global changes
 

Linghong KE, Remotely sensed observations of glacier change over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the early 21st century and its implications

C.W. Jason CHAN, Red Cryosphere: Snow, water, and the case of Soviet glaciology in the 'Third Pole'

Session #4

3:15 PM - 4:35 PM

China's northern gaze: Geopolitics, economics, & imaginaries

3:15 pm - 3:35 pm

3:35 pm - 3:55 pm

3:55 pm - 4:15 pm

4:15 pm - 4:35 pm

Wilson CHEUNG, Learning from Arctic adventure tourism guides:
Chinese consumers in the Arctic regions

Benjamin IAQUINTO and Mia BENNETT, The geopolitics of China's Arctic tourism resources

Martin KOSSA, Chinese security interests in the Arctic region


 

Pavel TOPOROV, Mammoth ivory trade: Pulling and selling rotten teeth

Session #5

4:45 PM - 5:15 PM

Closing plenary

4:45 pm - 5:15 pm

Nengye LIU and Jan Jakub SOLSKI, The Polar Silk Road and the future governance of Northern Sea Route

Session #6

5:15 PM - 5:45 PM

Extending the Polar Silk Road:
Future directions for collaboration & publication

5:15 pm - 5:45 pm

Closing discussion

How is our work connected? What are our common interests and shared perspectives on the Arctic?

  • Towards 2050: What human and physical changes may happen in the Arctic in the next 30 years?​

  • What do researchers in Greater China think will be important to study?

  • What role may China seek in the Arctic
     

Brainstorming of grant and publication opportunities

Watch the Zoom recording of Sessions 3-6 here.

 
 

AGENDA

DAY 1

Thursday 22 April

10:00 am - 11:30 am

Walking tour

Sun Yat Sen Park - Sheung Wan - Central - Piers

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Museum tour

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

1:00 - 2:00 pm

Lunch

Tai Ping Koon

60 Stanley Street, Central

4:30 - 5:45 pm

Panel

HKU Map Library + Zoom

Registration

DAY 2

Friday 23 April

MW 103, HKU and on Zoom

9:15 am - 9:30 am

Registration

9:30 am - 9:45 am

Opening remarks

9:45 am - 11:05 am

Session I

11:25 am - 12:45 pm

Session 2

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch

HKU Senior Common Room

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Session 3

3:15 pm - 4:35 pm 

Session 4

4:45 pm - 5:15 pm

5:15 pm - 5:45 pm

6:00 pm

Potato Head

100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pin

Session 5

Drinks for HK participants

Session 6