The downturn in U.S.-China relations has strained once robust educational and research ties. China has restricted opportunities for contact between American and Chinese scholars and students, while in the United States, concerns about national security, intellectual property loss, Chinese competitiveness, and “pro-China” views on U.S. campuses have triggered a variety of responses including visa denials, re-evaluation of faculty ties to Chinese institutions, and federal prosecutions. Are the core American values of open research and academic freedom at risk as a result?

On May 21, 2021, the National Commitee hosted a virtual program with Mary Gallagher, Margaret Lewis, and Rory Truex, in conversation with Jacques deLisle, as they discussed these issues and what lies ahead in Sino-American academic relations.

This program was held in partnership with the Penn Project on the Future of US-China Relations, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China.
 
Below are five key takeaways from the presentation:

  • Margaret Lewis: The security pendulum of the Department of Justice China Initiative has swung too far and is creating a chilling effect; it will hinder America’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest minds in the long term.
  • Margaret Lewis: Universities should work with the government to streamline and clarify reporting requirements to distinguish between administrative mistakes and active hiding of funding by researchers, and use criminal law only in the latter cases.
  • Rory Truex: There are three main concerns regarding higher education and research related to China: 1) non-traditional intelligence collectors; 2) research access and exchange in China for foreign scholars; 3) influence of China on the intellectual climate of U.S. campuses. It is crucial to not conflate these issues since they require separate solutions.
  • Mary Gallagher: While the presence of organizations affiliated with or funded by the Chinese government, such as the Confucius Institutes on American campuses, do pose a threat to campus climate, we should not ban these organizations outright but rather promote a model where they are not embedded within the university’s governance structure.
  • Mary Gallagher: The U.S. government must fund higher education instruction in foreign languages and area studies and promote research and study abroad. Isolating China to weaken it, such as by shutting down the Fulbright program in China and Hong Kong, will only result in the United States isolating itself. 

 

Speakers

Mary E. Gallagher, Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor of Democracy, Democratization, and Human Rights at the University of Michigan and director of its International Institute, is an expert on Chinese politics, law and society, and labor politics. She is the author or editor of several books and of many articles in academic and non-academic publications, including the Washington Post, The New York Times, Comparative Political Studies, and World Politics. Dr. Gallagher is a board director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and a Public Intellectuals fellow.
 
Professor Gallagher received her Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University and her B.A. from Smith College. She studied at Nanjing University and taught at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing. She was a Fulbright Research Scholar at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai and a visiting professor at the Koguan School of Law at Shanghai Jiaotong University.

 

Margaret K. Lewis is a professor of law at Seton Hall University. Her research focuses on law in China and Taiwan with an emphasis on criminal justice. Professor Lewis has been a Fulbright senior scholar at National Taiwan University, a visiting professor at Academia Sinica, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Public Intellectuals Program fellow, and a delegate to the US-Japan Foundation’s US-Japan Leadership Program. She is spending the 2020-21 academic year in Taiwan as a visiting scholar at the Judge’s Academy and a visiting professor at Academia Sinica.

Professor Lewis received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the NYU School of Law, and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University, and also studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China.

 

Rory Truex is an assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. His research focuses on Chinese politics and authoritarian systems. His work has been published in top scholarly journals, including the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, and The China Quarterly, and featured in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He is the founder of the Princeton in Asia Summer of Service program, which annually sends Princeton undergraduates to rural China to run an English immersion program for local students. Professor Truex is a fellow of the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program.

Dr. Truex received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s in economics and doctorate in political science from Yale University.

 

Moderator

Jacques deLisle is Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, professor of political science, director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, co-leader of the Penn Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, and director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He writes on China’s engagement with the international order and international law; U.S.-China relations; domestic legal-institutional change in China, Taiwan and cross-Strait relations; and Hong Kong. Professor deLisle is the co-editor of, and contributor to, numerous books including, most recently, After Engagement: Dilemmas in U.S.-China Security Relations (2021), Taiwan in the Era of Tsai Ing-wen (2021), and To Get Rich is Glorious: Challenges Facing China’s Economic Reform and Opening at Forty (2019).

Professor deLisle received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from Harvard University. He is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

 

Friday, May 21, 2021
9:30 AM to 10:45 AM EDT

Speaker(s): 
Mary Gallagher
Margaret Lewis
Rory Truex
Jacques deLisle

Venue: 
Zoom webinar

Topic: 

Event Video

  • Recorded 05/21/2021.
     

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