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01 July 2021

Lau China Institute & Young China Watchers 2021 Essay Competition Open

The Lau China Institute in partnership with Young China Watchers is delighted to announce our 2021 essay competition

Natural Landscape in China

Young China Watchers & Lau China Institute Essay Competition 2021

‘China, the Environment & Climate Change’

The Lau China Institute in partnership with Young China Watchers is pleased to invite submissions for our 2021 essay competition, themed on ‘China, the Environment and Climate Change’.

The competition aims to discover and showcase the newest young writing on China in the UK, to help foster the next generation of expertise on China and provide a platform for new voices. We invite all young China scholars under the age of 35 to apply, including students, members of academia, the media, government, the private sector or any other interested applicants. 


‘China, the Environment & Climate Change’

Essay topics may include (but are not limited to) any of the following issues:

  • China’s domestic environmental & climate change policies
  • The impacts of climate change on China’s environment and communities
  • The role of industry in decarbonising China’s economy to reach its 2060 carbon neutral pledge
  • China’s role in global cooperation on climate action
  • The physical and mental health impacts of climate change on communities in China
  • The role of civil society in China for protecting the environment
  • Balancing China’s economic development with environmental sustainability
  • The Green Belt and Road and China’s role in supporting developing nations to improve environmental sustainability

Submissions will be accepted on additional topics not listed above, so long as they related directly to the theme of ‘China, the Environment & Climate Change’.


  • The essay competition opens on 1st July 2021
  • All submissions must be sent to the submissions mailbox by 11:59pm BST on Tuesday 31st August 2021. Submissions must be sent to:
  • Winners will be announced during the Lau China Institute’s China Week from 25th-29th October 2021


  • First prize: the winning essay writer will receive £500; publication in the YCW blog; invitation to speak at the YCW annual conference plus consideration for additional publication in a prestigious China-relevant publication
  • Runners-up (two places): the two runners up will receive £250 each and their entries will be featured on YCW blog


  • Word limit: 1,000 – 1,500 (essays longer than 1500 word will not be accepted)
  • Acceptable formats: non-fiction, academic or journalistic essays or policy papers with policy recommendations.
  • Essays written for other purposes (e.g. for university assignments) will be accepted but only if they have not already been published.
  • Referencing: essays should cite their sources using footnotes.
  • Eligibility: 35 years or younger on the day before the deadline + demonstrable link to UK (birth, institutional affiliation or residency). Evidence will be required.
  • Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Submissions must be written by the author listed as the submitter.


  • The judging panel will include senior representatives from the global board of Young China Watchers along with academic experts at King’s College London.
  • Essays will be marked according to evidence of thorough research, strong writing style, original analysis and insights as well as compliance with competition terms listed in this document.


In this story

Kerry  Brown

Director, Lau China Institute

Astrid Nordin

Lau Chair of Chinese International Relations

Zeno Leoni

Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department

Alice  Politi

PhD student