Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Chinese Middle East studies have gone through three stages: beginnings (1949–1978), growth (1979–1999), and accelerated development (2000–2010). Research institutes evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, including universities, research institutes, military institutions, government offices, overseas embassies, and mass media. In parallel, publications evolved from providing an introduction to and overview of the Middle East states to in-depth studies of Middle East politics, economy, energy, religion, culture, society, and security. The Middle East-related research programs—funded by provincial, ministerial, and national authorities—have increased and the quality of research has greatly improved. And finally, China has established, as well as joined, various academic NGOs, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA), the Asian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA, including China, Japan, and South Korea), and the Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA). However, Chinese Middle East Studies remain backward, both in comparison with China's American, European, and Japanese studies at home, and with the Middle East studies in the West. The establishment of Chinese research and teaching centers entails the combination of social sciences and humanities, of general theoretical studies and the study of specific issues, of purely academic studies and policy-oriented studies.

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