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A sign encouraging voter turnout is seen at a campaign yard sign distribution site in Madison, Wisconsin, US, 17 October 2020. (Bing Guan/File Photo/Reuters)

Intellectuals and accountability: Should scientists sway public opinion on politics?

Zhang Tiankan chastises renowned journals The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Science and Nature, for veering off their professional domains and making prescriptive statements about which US presidential candidate to vote for. Such behaviour is irresponsible and unbecoming, to say the least. He asks: Shouldn't intellectuals be accountable for their views and positions?
People climb the Great Wall, illuminated to mark the first day of Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese National Day, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Wang Gungwu: The high road to pluralist sinology

Professor Wang Gungwu, eminent historian and university professor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore, was awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology earlier this year. At the 2020 Tang Prize Masters’ Forums — Sinology held last month, Professor Wang traced the evolution of sinology in the West and East, observing that today, a “pluralist sinology” is emerging alongside a rising China. This allows for the term “sinologist” to be applied to a much larger group of scholars, and for the bringing together of various knowledge traditions and academic disciplines in the study of China. While there is much to be cheered by this, Professor Wang also urged his fellow scholars to be ready to “douse the fires that others had fanned”, as knowledge gathered by pluralist sinology could be used as a weapon amid intense rivalry between the US and China. This is the transcript of his speech. 
US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on 22 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

There is no grave crisis in the US; China must not read the US wrongly

Wei Da says to avoid making erroneous judgements in taking certain actions, both the US and China need to calmly evaluate and recalibrate their strategic assessments of each other. If cool heads are kept, events such as the upcoming presidential election are not to be feared but welcomed as a harbinger of change.
An American flag is placed on a fence outside of the US Capitol building on 28 September 2020 in Washington, DC. (Al Drago/AFP)

Anti-intellectualism in US diplomacy: How worried should we be?

Intellectual elites in the US have traditionally played a key role in the way the country conducts international relations, and have guided the US government in shaping is foreign policy. However, the US's words and actions about China-US relations and the coronavirus seem to suggest that it has fallen prey to anti-intellectualism, with rationality and long-term vision thrown away. Japan-based academic Zhang Yun examines the issue and finds out if there is indeed cause for concern.
Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei, China, on 1 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why intellectuals failed to flourish throughout 5000 years of China's history

Chip Tsao laments the dearth of independent thought in China, following a long history of strictures imposed on intellectualism. If the elements of the “scholar”, “intellectual” and “professional” can be combined and inculcated in the country’s elites, a new dynamism can be sparked off that can help China truly modernise.
An incoming freshman checks into his campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on 18 August 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

Trump's sweeping 'espionage' claims against Chinese scholars unfair, baseless and discriminatory

US academic Zhu Zhiqun opines that conditions in the US are becoming increasingly unfavourable for Chinese and Asian Americans. In particular, the current toxic environment and pressure on US institutions to clamp down on Chinese students are undoing decades of goodwill generated from people-to-people exchanges. Will the authorities realise that soon enough and make a U-turn?
This file photo taken on 7 July 2020 shows students arriving at a school to take the gaokao, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. (STR/AFP)

Clamp down on Chinese students and academics? America’s loss is China’s gain

Amid US-China tension, Chinese students and academics in the US are often viewed with suspicion. US academic Han Dongping reminds us that in the past, it was the US who encouraged Chinese students to stay on after their studies and the country had benefited greatly from their contributions in diverse fields. China was at a disadvantage then, in terms of holding on to their top talent, but now with the US closing its doors, it is more than happy to welcome a return to the flock.
Renowned historian Professor Wang Gungwu has been awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology. (Tang Prize website)

Wang Gungwu: Sinology belongs to the world

On receiving the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology, Professor Wang Gungwu said that while the foundation of sinology lies in China’s long history and great tradition, many from around the world have contributed immensely to its study and advancement, and the research in sinology has been greatly enriched by Japanese, Koreans, as well as Western scholars. A broad concept of sinology will help modernise its studies, as well as improve its value and relevance to the interconnected world today.
The entrance of Yuelu Academy.

Yuelu: 40 years of longing for a thousand-year-old Chinese academy

The cultural revolution had just ended when Cheng Pei-kai found himself in the chaotic streets of Changsha, with posters criticising Lin Biao, Confucius and even Deng Xiaoping plastered everywhere. He wanted to visit Yuelu Academy but his request was unfulfilled. More than forty years later, he finally made a visit. This institution that is regarded as one of the four great academies in ancient China ⁠— where exactly lies its charm?