Professor Mobo Chang Fan Gao

 Position Professor of Chinese Studies
 Org Unit School of Social Sciences
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5803
 Location Floor/Room 6 ,  Kenneth Wills ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Mobo Gao was born and brought up in a small Chinese village where there was no electricity until after he left the village. Gao did all kinds of farm work in the village, such as collecting night soil, cleaning pigsty and pushing a wheelbarrow. Gao did not leave the village until he went to Xiamen University to study English. He then went to the UK and had studied at Wales and Westminster universities before he completed his Master and doctorate degrees at Essex. Professor Gao has working experience at various universities in China, UK and Australia and has been visiting fellow at some of the world's leading universities, including Oxford and Harvard. Professor Gao teaches Chinese language as well as Asian studies courses. Professor Gao's charismatic style of lecturing was considered "legendary" at the University of Tasmania where he had worked before he was appointed the Director of the Confucius Institute at Adelaide in 2008. Professor Gao's research interest includes studies of rural China, contemporary Chinese politics & culture, Chinese migration to Australia and the mass media. Professor Gao's publications include four books and numerous articles. His latest book The Battle of China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution is a reassessment of the Mao era and the Cultural Revolution.

  • Publications

    Selected Publications





    Gao Village Revisited: Life of Rural People in Contemporary China, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, in press, 2018.


    Constructing China: Clashing Views of the People’s Republic, London: Pluto, 2018.



    高家村:共和國農村生活素描, translation of the English version of Gao Village: A Portrait of Rural Life in Modern China, translated by 章少泉, 香港中文大学出版社,2013.

    The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution, London: Pluto, 2008.

    Gao Village: Rural Life in Modern China, (London: C. Hurst  & Co. (Publisher) LTD; Hawaii: Hawaii University Press; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; Bathurst: Crawford House Publishers, Australia, 1999, reprinted in paperback by Hawaii University Press in 2007.

    Mandarin Chinese: An Introduction, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2000, reprinted in 2003.

    A Reference of Mandarin Chinese, Brisbane: XACT Publications, 1999.


    Book Chapters





    “Collectivism”, in Christopher Solace, ed., The Afterlives of Chinese Communism, Australian National University Press, in press.


    “Collective agriculture in the Era of Mao”, in Forrest Zhang and Heather Zhang eds., Routledge Handbook of Rural China, 2018 in press.


    “English language Hydra as Trojan horse within PRC” in Pauline Bunce, Robert Phillipson, Vaughan Rapatahana, Morrinsville and Ruani Tupas, eds. Why English? Confronting the Hydra (Multilingual Matters, U.K.) 2016: 242-254.


    “Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung)” in Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope eds., The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp, 154-163.


    “Is Value Diplomacy for Real or a Cover for Realism?” in Chengxin Pan and David Walker eds., Australia and China: Challenges and Ideas in Cross-Cultural Engagement, China Social Sciences Press, 2015, pp 219-235.



    “China as a ‘Problem’ and Australian Politics”, with Greg McCarthy as the first author in Chengxin Pan and David Walker eds., Australia and China: Challenges and Ideas in Cross-Cultural Engagement, China Social Sciences Press 2015, pp 289-307


    “The Cultural Revolution: class, culture and revolution” in Guo Yingjie, ed., Handbook of Class and Class Stratification in China, Cheltenham UK and Northampton MA USA: Edward Elgar, 2015, pp. 44-58.






    “Media Malpractice in China and Grassroots Professionals in Three Dilemmas” (with Xie Baohui as the first author) in Andressen Curt, Mubarak Rahamathulla and Wang Xiaoyi, Sustainable Development in China, Routledge: 2013, pp.93-110.

    “Transitional Rule of the Hu-Wen Leadership in China: a Case Study of Liu Xiaobo,” in Joseph Cheng ed., An Assessment of the Hu-Wen Leadership, City University of Hong Kong Press, 2012, pp. 175-192.

    “What are the implications in learning at Australian Universities if and when the centre of the world has shifted to Asia?” in Kate Cadman and Xianlin Song, eds., Bridging Transcultural Divides: Teaching Asian Languages and Cultures in a Globalising Academy, 2012, pp. 29-47.

    “西方中国研究的价值话语, (value discourse of China studies in the West), in Wang Hui and Wang Zhongzhen, eds., Remapping: An Asian Studies Series, Vol 2. 2012, pp 140-164.

    “Netizenship and Its Implication on Democratization in China”, in Joseph Cheng, Democratization in China since the June the Fourth 1989, Hong Kong: city University Press, 2011, pp 151-176.

    “中国启蒙下的民主意识形态以及当前电子媒体上关于中国历史的争论” (the ideology of democracy under the shadow of Enlightenment and the debate on Modern Chinese history in the e-media), in Zhong Xueping and Liu Kebin, the Hangzhou Conference Proceedings, Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press, forthcoming.

     “启程:一个农村孩子关于七十年代的记忆” ,七十年代,北岛, 李陀主编,北京:三联出版社,2009, 92-103页(“Start on a journey: memories of a child from rural China, in Bei Dao and Li Tuo, (eds.) the Seventies,  Beijing: Sanlian chubanshe, 2009, pp. 92-103.

    “Mao: the Unknown Story: An Intellectual Scandal,” in Gregory Benton and Lin Chun, eds., Was Mao Really a Monster?, Routledge Contemporary Chinese Series,  Routledge, 2009, pp. 119-134.

    “《毛澤東:鮮為人知的故事》— 知識界的一大醜聞” (Mao: the Untold Story: An Intellectual Scandal), in Gregory Benton and Lin Chun, eds., 傳記還是杜撰?— 海外學者評《毛澤東:鮮為人知的故事》(Biography or FabricationOverseas Scholars on Mao the Untold Story), Hong Kong: Dafeng chubanshe, 2009, pp.188-213.

    “启程:一个农村孩子关于七十年代的记忆” ,七十年代,北岛, 李陀主编,香港:牛津大学出版社,2008, 81-92页(“Start on a journey: memories of a child from rural China, in Bei Dao Li Tuo, (eds.) The Seventies,  Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 81-92.

    Chinese What Chinese: The Politics of Authenticity and Ethnic Identity,  in Lee guan Kin, ed., 跨越疆界与文化调适 (National Boundaries and Cultural Configurations), 国家疆界与文化图像系列 南洋人文丛书, Singapore: Centre for Chinese Language and Culture and Global Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd, Nanyang University of Technology, 2008, pp. 257-287.

    “China and Capitalism: If Market Capitalism Is Good for the West, Why Is Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics Bad?” Critical Perspectives on China's Economic Transformation, Introduction by Hari P. Sharma, Delhi: Daanish Books, 2008, pp. 81-86.

    “The Question of Land: An Alternative Model to Modernity?” in Joseph Cheng, ed., Challenges and Policy Programmes of Chinese Next Leadership, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2007, pp. 413-434.

    關于「文化大革命」的記憶、思考和爭論:解讀「浩劫」話語 (Memories of the Cultural Revolution: Deconstructing the Holocaust Discourse), in Song Geng ed.,s Globalization and Chineseness: Postcolonial Readings of Contemporary Culture

    (全球化與「中國性」:當代文化的後殖民解讀), Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006, pp. 247-260.

    “Introduction”, in Eric Shaoquan Zhang, The Impact of ELT on Ideology in China (1980-2000), Shanghai, Central China Normal University Press, 2006, pp. 1-10.

     “Chinese Media Coverage of 9/11”, with Ming Liang, in Tomasz Pludowski, ed., How the World's News Media Reacted to 9/11. Essays from Around the Globe, Spokane, WA: Marquette Books, 2007, pp 186-205.

    “书写历史和高家村”, (Writing History and Gao Village), in Luo Gang, 2004 年思想文集  (Collected Writings on Ideas in 2004), 桂林:广西师大出版社 2004, pp. 266-273.

     “The Rise of Neo-Nationalism and the New Left: A Post-Colonial and Postmodernism Perspective” in Leong Liew and Shaoguang Wang, eds., Nationalism, Democracy and National Integration in China, London: Routledge/Curzon, 2004, pp. 44-62.

    “The Great Wall that Divides Two Chinas and the Rural/Urban Disparity Challenge,” in Joseph Cheng, ed., China's Challenges in the Twenty-First Century, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2003, pp. 533-557.

    “运用第一语言来学习第二语言, (Learn the Second language by Using the First Language), in Zhang Dexing and Li Xiaoqi, eds., 队以英语为母语的汉语教学研究 (Teaching Chinese to Students Whose Mother Tongue is English), 北京:人民教育出版社, 2002, pp. 296-308.

    “Influence of Native Culture and Language on Intercultural Communication: the Case of PRC Student Immigrants in Australia,” in Jens Allwood and Beatriz Dorriots, eds., The Diversity of Intercultural Communication, Papers in Anthropological Linguistics 28, Boteborg: Boteborg University, 2002, pp. 33-53.

    “从一个极端到另一个极端:是否该偏正一点儿?” (From One Extreme to Another: Is It Time to Adjust the Swing of the Pendulum?), in Yang Jianli, ed., 红色革命和黑色造反(Red Revolution and Black Rebellion)Boston: Twenty-First Century Book Series Foundation for China in the 21st Century, 1997, pp. 17-34.

    “Welfare Problems and Needs for Migrant Workers in South China,” Chapter 6, in Wing Lo and Joseph Cheng, eds., Social Welfare Development in China, Constraints and Challenges, (Chicago: Imprint Publications), 1997, pp. 101-120.

    “Self-Reference Materials: A Grammar Hand Book,” in Mary Farquhar and Penny McKay eds., China Connections: Australia Business Needs and University Language Education (Canberra: National Language and Literacy Institute of Australia), 1996, pp. 246-257.

    “Migrant Workers from Rural China: Their Conditions and Some Social Implications for Economic Development in South China,” in David Schak ed., Entrepreneurship Economic Growth and Social Change: The Transformation of Southern China, (Queensland: Centre for the Studies of Australian and Asian Relations), 1994, pp. 21-38.


    “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics and the Hegemony of Neoliberal Discourse in China”, Eszmélet – Consciousness Hungarian Quarterly Journal of Culture and Social Critique, forthcoming


    “The Tree May Prefer Calm but the Wind Will Not Subside”, The China Quarterly

    March 2018, Volume 233 p 230-242.


     Whither Rural China? A Case Study of Gao Village”, The China Quarterly, 2017: pp. 23-43.


    “Sojourners or Settlers: A Critique of the Cultural Perspective on 19th Century Chinese Migrants to the British Colonies”, Asian Studies Review, Vol 41, No 3., 2017: 389-404.


    “Vital Factors for Chinese Rural Development: The Reach of the Sate and Lineage Identity in Villages Local Governance”, Journal of Asia Pacific Economy, 2017, No 4, pp 547-559. DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2017.1307022,


    “Is a Non-Capitalist World Possible?. The China Quarterly, 223, 2015, pp 807-813.

     “wenge, wenge lishi, wenhua geming wenhua huadong”(The Cultural Revolution, History of the Cultural Revolution, Cultural Revolution and Cultural Activities, “ ,pipan yu zai zao (Critique and Transformation) , no 16, September 8th 2012,

    "从对《施琅》电视剧的争论看中国文化民族主义的困境” (the Dilemma of Cultural Nationalism in China as Seen from the Debate on the TV Drama Shi Lang), Portal, Vol 4, No 1 (2007), Special Issue: The Revival of Chinese Cultural Nationalism,

    ‘Decoding Historical Scripts in Chinese: the Tasmania Chung’s from Xinhui’, with Wu Qianlong as the first author, Journal of Chinese Australia, no. 2 (October ) 2006, issue02/14WuGao.html.

    “Media Ownership: One Case Studies and Two Perspectives,” The International Journal of Humanities, Vo. 2, No. 3, 2004-2006: pp. 2103-2112.

    “Chinese biographical and Memoir Writings about Mao, the Cultural Revolution and the Emerging Counter Acts in the E-Media,’ China Study Group, HTTP://WWW.CHINASTUDYGROUP.ORG/INDEX.PHP?ACTION=FRONT2&TYPE=VIEW&ID=174,  2006.

    “China and Capitalism: If Market Capitalism Is Good for the West, Why Is Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics Bad?”, China and Socialism Roundtable, (invited contributor) Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 3 (September 2005), pp. 469-472.

    “控制, 自由, 倾向于正义” (Control, Freedom, Tendency and Justice), 读书 (Readings), Vol, 12, 2003, pp 99-107.

    “National Sovereignty versus Moral Sovereignty: the Case of Australian Press Reporting of Taiwan,” with Stephanie Donald and Eric Zhang, Asia Media Vol. 30, No. 1, (2003): 22-30.

    “Debating the Cultural Revolution: Do We Only Know What We Believe?” Critical Asian Studies, 34:4 (2002), pp. 419-434.

    “Moral Conflicts Reflected in the Love Stories of Jingju,” (with Jingrui Guo as the first author), Asian Studies Review, Vol. 25, No. 4 (December) 2001, pp. 499-522.

    “The Trojan Horse of English Language Teaching: The Contribution of ELT to the De-Radicalization of Political Discourse in China,” (with Eric Zhang as the first author) China Information, Vol. XV, No. 2 (2001), pp 114-130.

    “书写历史与高家村” (Writing History and Gao village), in 读书 (Readings), No. 1 (January) 2001, pp. 9-16.

    “人权:如何叙说?” (Human rights: what is the narrative?) Dushu (Readings), No. 7, (July) 2001, pp. 71-76.

    “Depoliticisation in the Field of English Teaching in China: A Comparative Study of Two English Course Books,” (with Eric Zhang as the first author), Pacific Asian Education, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2000, pp. 60-74.

    “文化大革命纪史论方法:评回忆录” (The Chinese Cultural Revolution and Historiography: On Memoirs), The Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, No. 16, Spring, 2000, pp. 151-166.

    "Sino-US Love and Hate Relations." Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol.30: 4 (Oct.) 2000, pp. 547-561.

     “Influence of Native Culture and Language on Intercultural Communication: the Case of PRC Student Immigrants in Australia,” Intercultural Communication, No. 4, (November) 2000, <>, pp. 1-12.

    “China in Transition: Issues and Debates,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (USA), Vol. 32, No. 3, (July-September) 2000, pp. 53-57.

    “Manufacturing of Truth and Culture of the Elite,” Journal of Contemporary Asia (Manila), vol. 29: No. 3 (mid-August) 1999, pp. 309-327.

     “Factional Politics in the CCP: A Case Study of the Rise and Fall of Li Qinglin,” China Report (New Delhi), Vol. 35, No. 1, 1999, pp. 41-59.

    “Chinese Reality and Writings by Chinese Expatriates,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 30, No. 3 (July-September) 1998, pp. 61-68.

    “Rural Situation in Post-Mao China and the Conditions of Migrant Workers: the Case of Gao Village,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 30, No. 4, (October - December, 1998), pp. 70-76.

    “From Student to Citizen: A Survey of Students from the People’s Republic of China” (PRC) in Australia,” (with Liu Xian), International Migration Quarterly Review (Oxford and Malden), Vol. 36, No. 1, 1998, pp. 27-48.

    “A Report on Education in Shenzhen in the Early 1990s,” (with Colin Mackerras), Pacific - Asian Education (Canberra), Vol. 9, No. 2, 1997, pp. 7-20.

    “Hai wai hua ren xue zhe wen ge tuan tao zhi wo jian” (Commentary on the Studies of the Cultural Revolution by Overseas Chinese Scholars), Ming Pao Monthly (Hong Kong), Vol. 31. No. 12, 1996, pp. 97-99.

    “The Plight of Migrant Workers in South China,” China Rights Forum (New York), (Summer) 1996, pp. 42-45.

    “The Ghost that still Prowls the Land: The Legacy of Mao and Chinese attitudes,” The Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, No. 7, (Spring) 1996, pp. 140-158.

    “Asian languages in Australia,” The Babel (Adelaide), Vol. 31, No. 1, (April-June), 1996, pp. 14-17.

    “The Circular Rural Development and the Possibility of a Breakthrough: A Case Study of Gao Village,” The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies (Copenhagen), No. 10, 1995, pp. 40-68.

    “Memoirs and the History of the Cultural Revolution,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 27, No. 1, (1995) pp. 49-57.

    “Maoist Discourse and A Critique of the Present Assessment of the Cultural Revolution,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 26, No. 3, (1994) pp. 3-21.

     “The Sharp End of China's Economic Boom,” China Rights Forum (New York), (Spring) 1994, pp. 12-27.

     "On Their Own: The Plight of Migrant Workers," China Rights Forum (New York), (Fall) 1994, pp.  4-28.

    "Dou as a Wide Scope Quantifier," Australian Journal of Linguistics (Canberra), Vol. 14, No. 1, 1994, pp. 39 - 62.

    “QR at S-Structure and the Function of Dou at Its Process,” Proceedings of Leiden  Conference for Junior Linguists, (The Netherlands: University of Leiden), 1990, pp. 1-18.

    “Democracy, What Democracy? China's Road to Modernization,” China Report, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan.-March) 1992, pp. 13-26.


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