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Meet the team

Who we are and what we do

The China Studies Centre team is here to help you with your studies and research.

Luigi Tomba


Professor Luigi Tomba

Born and educated in Italy, Luigi is a political scientist with three decades of China experience, having visited China for the first time in 1988. From 2001 to 2017, Luigi was teaching and researching Chinese society and politics at the Australian National University, and in 2017 he assumed the directorship of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His work covers many aspects of China’s political and social change, with a particular interest in the consequences of China’s urbanisation on its society and governance. Luigi was also the editor of The China Journal (2005-2015) one of the most prestigious international research journals on post-1949 China.

His latest book on urban neighbourhood life and politics, The Government Next Door: Neighbourhood Politics in Urban China (2014) was honoured by the American Association of Asian Studies as the best book on post-1900 China with the 2016 Joseph Levenson prize.

Over the last decade, three ARC Discovery Project Grants and two German Research Foundation grants have funded his work on China’s urbanisation. In recent years, Luigi’s research interests have led him to the Pearl River Delta (Guangdong), where he is studying the different ways in which urbanization and land expropriation are affecting the governance and sustainability of village collectives and the emergence of new vulnerabilities and resilience.

Luigi’s work has always focused on how governmental discourses become practices of government at the grassroots and in how practices of government affect the legitimacy of the Chinese communist regime.

Oliver Krischer

Deputy Director

Dr Olivier Krischer

Olivier is an art historian whose research regards the role of art theory and practice in modern and contemporary China-Japan relations, and more recently networks of artistic activism from Hong Kong and across East Asia.

Prior to joining the Centre, Olivier was a visiting fellow in the Institute for Modern History, at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University (ANU). He completed his PhD at the University of Tsukuba on a Japanese Government monbukagakusho scholarship, studying China-Japan relations through art in the early twentieth century.

In Japan, Olivier was assistant professor in art history at the University of Tsukuba, and in Australia has lectured and supervised at the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and ANU. 

Olivier is co-editor of the journal special issue ‘Asian Art Research in Australia and New Zealand: Past, Present and Future’, Australia & New Zealand Journal of Art (Taylor & Francis, 2016), and the book Asia through Art and Anthropology (Bloomsbury, 2013). Between 2011-2012 he was based in Hong Kong, as managing editor ofArtAsiaPacific, the leading magazine of its kind on contemporary Asian art.

In addition to his research and writing, at the Australian National University Olivier was the manager and curator of the CIW Gallery. Exhibitions he curated include “China and ANU: Scholars, Diplomats and Adventures” and “Zhang Peili: from Painting to Video” (co-curated with Kim Machan, Media Art Asia Pacific), supported by an Australia-China Council grant. He also established and co-programmed the Centre’s “Asia & Pacific Screens” film series (2013–2016), and was a board member and co-curator of the 2016 Canberra International Film Festival.

Senior Administration Officer

Li Ozinga

Li joined the China Studies Centre in May 2012 after almost 10 years in student administration at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Li looks after the day-to-day running of the Centre and supports the Director, Board of Management, Panel of Advisors, Executive Committee, and sub-committees, as well as the centre’s members.

Prior to coming to Australia, Li spent almost five years working as a Project Officer in the provincial government in Kunming, Yunnan. She also lived in Canberra for two years working as a Program Coordinator for the Grains Research and Development Corporation before settling in Sydney.

Li holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of International Relations, Beijing and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Sydney.

Director, Business Development & Government Relations

Susan Saretzki

Susan is primarily responsible for the liaison with government staff and officials of all levels of Australian and Chinese government along with senior business people in both countries to raise the profile of the China Studies Centre and the University of Sydney.

Prior to her appointment to the Centre, Susan established and managed the China Desk at the NSW State Government, responsible for attracting direct business investment from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in a range of industry sectors. 

She has also developed and managed programs, in conjunction with industry associations, focused on assisting Australian companies in developing new markets domestically and internationally. 

Before arriving in Australia, Susan worked in the corporate sector in mainland China and Hong Kong, responsible for business development in the Asian and European markets.

Events and Communications Officer

Yanping Zhang

Ping joined China Studies Centre in 2011 and now working as events and communications officer. She works closely with colleagues from university and other organisations outside university to deliver events. She also works on centre’s publicity, media inquiries and online contents for the centre.  Prior to joining the centre, ping worked as freelance translator and gallery assistant at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art after complication of Master in Art Curatorship degree from the University of Sydney. Ping holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications and Sociology) from Goldsmiths College-University of London. Have been studying, working and living in London, Shanghai and Sydney for the last 10 years, Ping is passionate about cross-cultural communications and collaborations. Ping speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

Special Projects Officer

Wen Chen

Wen works on special projects undertaken by the China Studies Centre and provides operational support to the centre team, building relationships and managing effective communications with key project stakeholders.

Before joining the centre in 2016, Wen enjoyed various roles in the higher education industry which included project management, public relations, marketing and student recruitment. Wen has extensive stakeholder communication and events management experience resulting from her involvement in a wide range of international forums and events such as the Beijing Olympic Games, Shanghai World Expo, Boao Forum for Asia and Sydney China Business Forum.

Wen’s professional background is closely integrated with her passion for international communication and culture studies. Wen holds a Master’s degree in Media Practice from the University of Sydney.