China-Netherlands Collaboration


Starting in 1857, Leiden University has built a deep-rooted relationship with China. Collaboration with China and its many institutions has long been an important goal for the China Region Group at Leiden University. This university-wide program involves at least 20 Chinese universities, and fosters an exchange of knowledge and resources for both the Netherlands and China. These joint projects focus on making an innovative impact on science and creating benefits for society. 


Our Chinese Collaborators

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The collaboration between the Focus on Emotions lab and its partners in China was initiated in 2015 with the NWO-KNAW grant, obtained in partnership with Prof. Li Yi (Peking University, Beijing) to jointly study emotion recognition in autistic children. Prof. Li Yi is an expert in social-cognitive development of children with autism and devoted to developing novel techniques for early detection and intervention of children with autism. During the course of collaboration, we extended the project to include children with hearing loss, in close collaboration with Prof. Yifang Wang (Capital Normal University, Beijing) and the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Hearing and Speech Impairment (CRRCHSI, Beijing). Prof. Yifang Wang specializes in social-emotional development of preschool children with a special interest in children with hearing loss. She has applied her research outcomes and ideas to the management of a university-affiliated kindergarten hosting 400 preschool children, creating a positive, harmonious and progressive environment to foster child development. The CRRCHSI is the leading institute in China in moulding a nurturing environment for children with hearing loss in their most critical development stage. Every year, parents and their child with hearing loss from all over China come to CRRCHSI for receiving treatments, trainings and education.

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Collaboration Landmarks

  • 2021 February, Carolien and Boya joined the China Knowledge Network by Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • 2020 December, Webinar with CRRCHSI on social-emotional development in children with hearing loss.
  • 2019 May, Data collection at CRRCHSI kicked off.
  • 2019 February, Prof. Yifang Wang visited Leiden and presented research on social-emotional development.
  • 2019 January, Carolien and Boya joined the China Region Group at Leiden University, as representative of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.
  • 2018 October, Rector Hester Bijl and her delegation visited Peking University amongst other insitutions.
  • 2018 September, Johan and Yung-Ting visited CRRCHSI to exchange knowledge on rehabilitation.
  • 2018 May, Prof. Li Yi visited Leiden and an expert meeting was held on autism and face/emotion processing. 
  • 2018 April, Carolien and Boya visited CRRCHSI, Capital Normal University, and Peking University and presented recent research developments.
  • 2017 August, Yung-Ting visited Peking University for planning data collection at an autism centre.
  • 2015 December, NWO-KNAW grant started.


Ongoing Projects 

The China-NL Collaboration Project is a large-scale longitudinal research, aiming at understanding the social-emotional developments of children with hearing loss and autism in China and in the Netherlands, using a multi-method approach and exploring the impacts of cultural and societal factors. It consists of four PhD projects conducted by Qi Meng, Shannon Yuen, Zijian Li, Jiayin Zhao. Till 2021, together with the CRRCHSI, Qi, Yung-Ting, and Shannon have collected two-wave data of preschool children with and without hearing loss in China, and we are currently in the process of analyzing the data. The initial findings are expected to be published in 2021. 

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Princial Invesigators: Prof. Dr. Carolien Rieffe & Dr. Boya Li

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Chinese PhDs: Qi Meng, Shannon Yuen, Zijian Li, Jiayin Zhao
Social-Emotional Functioning in Chinese Children with Hearing Loss

Qi Meng is a graduate of the Capital Normal University and Prof. Yifang Wang was her supervisor. She obtained a Chinese Government Scholarship from China Scholarship Council (CSC) in June 2019. She works on the development of social-emotional functioning in children with hearing loss when compared to typically hearing children. These findings are based on the western world, and it’s unclear whether the findings also apply to children with hearing loss from other cultures. This longitudinal research will investigate this aspect in Chinese children with hearing loss from a young age.  

Family Functioning and Social-Emotional development for Preschool Children with Hearing Loss

Shannon Yuen completed her Masters degree at University of Nevada, USA. She focuses on family functioning for children with hearing loss. In particular, the focus is on the relationship between hearing parents and their child with hearing loss from 1-6 years old and the effects it has on children’s social-emotional development when compared to typically hearing children. There is a scarcity of research that examines families with a child with hearing loss in the eastern world and even harder to find any that draws the link between the parent-child relationship and social-emotional development for the population with hearing loss.   

Social Emotions in Chinese children with Hearing Loss

Zijian Li obtained his Master degree in Psychology department of Renmin University of China in 2018 and was awarded the CSC scholarship in 2019. He works on validating the empathy and social emotions questionnaires, as well as examines how children with hearing loss may experience moral emotions differently to typically hearing children. He also looks at longitudinal social developments in children with hearing loss, and is looking forward to studying this topic with multiple perspectives and measures (Questionnaires, Behavioral tasks, Eye-tracking and EEG). 

Social-Emotional Functioning in Dutch & Chinese Preschool Children with Autism

Jiayin Zhao is also a graduate of the Capital Normal University and supervised by Prof. Yifang Wang. Jiayin was awarded the CSC Scholarship in 2020. Her project will focus on the development of social-emotional functioning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The aim of this longitudinal project is two-fold. First, it aims to examine the development of key social and emotional skills in preschool-aged children with ASD. The outcomes will shed light to what extent Dutch and Chinese autistic children differ in their social-emotional development. 


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