About Us

The Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) China is a volunteer-run organisation that provides a forum for the development and expression of interests and expertise related to China and Asia- centric themes for the international community residing here. Through its diverse series of monthly lectures and events, library facility and annual journal publication, it aims to enrich cultural and intellectual life in Asia's most dynamic metropolis.

RAS China is a branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1823 by Sanskrit scholar Henry Colebrooke and a group of likeminded individuals. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV in the same year 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'.

In 1857, a small group of British and Americans seeking intellectual engagement in a city dedicated to commerce established the Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society. Within a year the organisation was granted affiliation with the Royal asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the North China Branch of the RAS was born. The Society's intent was to investigate subjects connected with China and surrounding nations, to publish papers in a journal and to establish a library and a museum. The Society's journal, first published in 1858, had a 90 year print run. It ceased operating in 1952.

RAS China was revived in 2007 by a group of enthusiasts and continues to further its aim of expanding an understanding of Asia, and specifically Mainland China through its diverse range of events.

Our monthly events include:
RAS Lecture
Art Focus Group
History Focus Group
Architecture and Urbanism Talk Series
Stories of Things
Film Club
Fiction Book Club
Non-Fiction Book Club