Dr Kailing Xie

Dr Kailing Xie

International Development Department
Lecturer/Assistant Professor in International Development

Contact details

School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Xie’s interest lies in investigating the underlying social, cultural and political tensions underpinning China’s economic success through the lens of gender. She is particularly interested in the role that gender plays in China’s contemporary governance. Her work is located at the intersection of sociology, political science, gender studies and cultural studies. 

Dr Xie’s earlier work was focused on the lasting impacts of the One Child Policy on Chinese society, politics, and culture through an examining of China’s urban middle-class well-educated women, as China’s socially engineered ‘high quality labour’ to accelerate China’s modernisation. Her first monograph ‘Embodying middle class gender aspirations: perspectives from China’s privileged young women’ was published in 2021. 

Building on her existing research, Dr Xie’s current research covers a range of topics concerning the latest developments in Chinese society (urban and rural), gender, sexuality, nationalism, family, migration, governance, and inequalities. Dr Xie is also interested in feminist activism and social movements within and beyond China’s boarders, including the Chinese diaspora in Europe. Dr Xie is currently accepting PhD students. 

Dr Xie is a co-editor of ‘Gendering Asia Gendering Asian Society, Politics and Development’ book Series with Amsterdam University Press.




Dr Xie worked at the University of Warwick prior to joining Birmingham in September 2021 and completed her PhD training at the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Women’s Studies, at the University of York.  She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy


For the current academic year, 2023/24, Dr Xie is teaching on the following modules: Identity, Inequality & Inclusive Development (Undergraduate) and Research for Public Policy and Management (Postgraduate).

In previous years, Dr Xie has taught on the following Postgraduate modules:

  • Making Policy
  • Gender and Development



Xie, K. 2021. ‘Embodying middle class gender aspirations: Perspectives from China’s privileged young women. Palgrave Macmillan. Reviewed in: Gender & Society; the China Journal; NAN NÜ; Gender, Place and Culture. 

Mcloughlin, C., Ali, S., Xie, K., Cheeseman, N., and Hudson, D. edited (2024) The Politics of Development. Sage.


Xie, K and Huang, Y. Becoming a teacher: A gendered risk aversion strategy among aspirational middle-class women in Contemporary China, Le Mouvement Social. (In Press).

Xie, K and Zhou, Y. 2022. Gendering National Sacrifices: The Making of New Heroines in China’s Counter-Covid-19 TV Series, Communication, Culture & Critique. 15 (3): 372–92. https://doi.org/10.1093/ccc/tcac014. Both authors made equal contribution.

Xie, K. 2021. The affective life of the Nanjing Massacre: Re-activating historical trauma in governing contemporary China. Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 11(3), pp. 1016-1028.

Xie, K. and Zhou, Y. 2021. The cultural politics of national tragedies and personal sacrifices: State narratives of China’s ‘ordinary heroes’ of the covid-19 pandemic. Made in China Journal, 24-29. Available online.

Tu, M. and Xie, K. 2020. Privileged daughters? Gendered mobility among highly educated Chinese female migrants in the UK. Social Inclusion, 8(2),pp.68-76.

Xie, K. 2019. The naturalisation of motherhood within marriage and its implications for Chinese academic women. British Journal of Chinese Studies 9 (1): 59 – 84.

Xie, K. 2018. Premarital abortion—What is the harm? The responsibilisation of women’s pregnancy among China’s “privileged” daughters. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 8(1), 1-31. Winner of the Early Career Researcher Prize 2017, British Association of Chinese Studies.

Book Chapters

Xie, K., E. Njoku, M. Thompson. 2024. How does my identity matter: Intersectionality, power relations and positionality, The Politics of Development, Sage.

Xie, K.  Happily ever after? Changing attitude about divorce among China's young women. Post-Divorce Intimacy in Contemporary Asia’, Rutgers University Press. (In Press

Xie, K. and Liu, C. 2022. The ‘Birth of a Modern Nation. Debates Around Abortion in the Global North: Europe, North America, Russia and Asia. Routledge. Both authors made equal contribution.

Xie, K. 2020. Chasing happiness: The role of marriage in the aspiration of success among China’s middle-class women. Romantic relationships in a time of “cold intimacies” edited by J. Carter & L. Arocha. Palgrave Macmillan, US. 181-206.


Xie, K and Huang, Y. 2023.  Changing Norms and Ideas about Reproduction Among Women in China. Australian Outlook, Australian Institute of International Affairs. 16 March 2023 

Xie, K and Huang, Y. 2022. Protecting women’s rights in China. East Asia Forum. 4 August 2022.

Xie, K. 2018. A balanced life? Young mothers under the Two-Child policy. Invited Contributor to Women and Gender in China WAGIC Blog, April 2018

Xie, K. 2017. “Her China dream”: The aspiration of China’s privileged daughters, Discover Society, DS48, September, 2017.

Xie, K. 2017. A Gendered Perspective on the Impact of Core Socialist Value on Chinese Women. ‘ジェンダーの視点からみる社会主義核心価値観による中国女性への影響’, Asia-Japan Womens Resource Centre ‘女たちの21世紀’, No.92, December 2017, 38-39.

Book Review

Xie, K. 2021. Gender Theory in Troubled Times. By Kathleen Lennon and Rachel Alsop. Cambridge: Polity, 2020, 304 pp. Gender & Society, 2021. 

Xie, K., 2023. Dreadful Desires: The Uses of Love in Neoliberal China, written by Charlie Yi Zhang. NAN NÜ, 25(2), pp.357-360.

View all publications in research portal

Media experience

Beyond academia, Dr Xie is a frequent commentator on gender and social issues on China for various media outlets. She has served as a speaker and consultant for a range of interested parties including think tanks (such as Chatham House) and media organizations (including as an advisor to the BBC, The Economic Times, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg UK). Drawing upon her research on Chinese families and diaspora, she led the curation of an exhibition funded by the City of Culture 2021 Coventry: ‘Making Alien-land Home-land ’且认他乡作故乡’: A Visual documentation of Chinese communities in Coventry’. Using self-documenting methods to scrutinize participants’ daily consumption, it aimed to re-establish the ‘missing’ and ‘invisible’ connections between people, places and meanings, Dr Xie produced a documentary entitled ‘Rubbish diary’ in 2018 funded by Modern Studies Project Grant, York, in order to challenge urban citizens’ settled way of viewing/knowing.

Selected press coverage

2023 Quoted in article on Desperate Chinese parents are joining dating apps to marry off their adult children. Rest of World. August 2023. 

2023 Quoted in articles on The Economic Times, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg UK about China’s latest attempt at increasing its flagging birth rate. March 2023. 

2023 Featured on The Weirdo Podcast | 不合时宜for an episode on ‘The gendered structural dilemma behind 'Tokophobia' and ‘Gamophobia' /“为什么恐婚恐育?婚育背后的结构性困境”, which attracted 10,000+ listeners (in Chinese). February 2023. 

2022 Interviewed by South China Morning Post in ‘What TV hit Sisters Who Make Waves says about women’s equality in China’ in 19 September 2022. 

2022 Featured on the podcast |见树又见林|discussion on ‘Separation of marriage and childbirth, a solution to women’s dilemma? (In Chinese). 9 September 2022.

2022 Featured on The in-betweenness podcast |时差 for an episode on ‘The personal is political: childcare, gender, social policy’. (In Chinese). 6 July 2022. 

2022 Interviewed for her book ‘Embodying Middle Class Gender Aspirations: Perspectives from China’s Privileged Young Women’ by MS MUSES on WeChat (in Chinese). 27 April 2022. 

2022 Interviewed by Beijing Youth Daily on ‘Chinese public responses to the revision of Women's rights protection law’ (in Chinese). 7 February 2022. 

2021 Interviewed by Foreign Policy on ‘Chinese Women Have Already Voted Against Beijing’s Natalist Hopes’. 4th June 2021.

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