Road to Kashgar

ISDP with Mr. Lars Ellström

Highly experienced sinologist and author of the book “Vägen till Kashgar” (Road to Kashgar)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 10.00-11.30


During this ISDP Forum, Mr. Lars Ellström, a highly experienced sinologist, will share his experiences from trekking from Beijing to Kashgar in Xinjiang, close to China’s border with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, a journey covering 5000 kilometres in stages, which took a total of 140 days on the road and over 2.5 years to complete.

Mr. Ellström started his journey in March 2009 with the aim of finding out what life was like in the villages and small towns far from the flourishing eastern seaboard. On the road, he talked to local people and observed the society that unfolded before him. Mr. Ellström encountered flashy boomtowns, grinding poverty, suspicious authorities and crackling ethnic tension. His trek took him along the route of the Great Wall of China, where meetings, exchanges, struggles and confrontations between the agricultural Han Chinese and the nomadic peoples to the north have taken place throughout history.

Mr. Ellström’s long experience of China gives him the ability to offer a detailed and informed background to much of what he saw during his long walk. During this ISDP Forum, Mr. Ellström will present his experiences and show photos from his journey. Mr. Ellström will also discuss the process of sinification and how it is affecting the people, as well as dissect government propaganda directed at ordinary people, both Han Chinese and ethnic minorities. Mr. Ellström’s book about his long journey, titled “Vägen till Kashgar” (“Road to Kashgar”) was published in 2014.

Mr. Lars Ellström is a Swedish sinologist who speaks fluent Chinese. Mr. Ellström first came to China as a student during the Cultural Revolution in the early 1970s and has since spent most of his adult life there, working as a diplomat, banker and business consultant. He has extensive knowledge and experience concerning commercial and diplomatic negotiations in China and other Asian countries. While working as a diplomat and Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Sweden to Beijing during 1979-1982, he helped to form Sweden’s China Strategy, acting as the Swedish-Chinese interpreter for meetings between Chinese leaders like Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang and Swedish Top Level officials. Mr. Ellström has also worked as a banker in charge of South and Pacific Asia for two of Sweden’s largest banks; Svenska Handelsbanken and Swedbank. Additionally, he has been responsible for aid-financed projects in China and Vietnam regarding banking and business development on behalf of The World Bank, SIDA and the European Union. He is a senior advisor at Goth & Co IP Law Firm, covering the Greater China Region (China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).

Mr. Ellström is regularly engaged as a speaker on Chinese politics, as well as economic and cultural growth. He has done PhD studies in Sinology and has also studied at Fudan University in Shanghai, one of China’s top universities, and spent one year at Nanyang University in Singapore.

To read an interview with Mr. Ellström (in Swedish), go to KinaNytt, pp 16-17.

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Anna Nielsen at