The former Trump administration launched the China Initiative in 2018, ostensibly to protect US national security interests. However, a recent open letter by US academics calling for an end to the initiative seems to suggest that the programme is not what it set out to be. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the China Initiative and what it has achieved — or not.
China's top infectious diseases expert Dr Zhang Wenhong was recently embroiled in an alleged academic fraud case but investigations have cleared his name later on. The investigation came after he put forward the view of "living with the virus", which is at odds with the official stance for achieving zero-Covid. Who protected Dr Zhang from punishment? Was it public opinion, the city of Shanghai or Dr Zhang's impeccable moral standards? Will this deter professionals from speaking the truth in the future?
Renowned historian and sinologist Yu Ying-shih passed away earlier this month. Chinese culture and history enthusiasts may be familiar with his life’s work on Chinese history and observations of contemporary China, but few may know that he has a connection to Singapore’s history. During the 1980s, the education ministry explored the prospect of teaching Confucian ethics in schools. In the process, they tapped the expertise of eminent scholars such as Prof Yu. Did the experiment bear fruit in the end?
Renowned American historian and sinologist Yu Ying-shih passed away on 1 August 2021 aged 91. ThinkChina reproduces this essay which cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai wrote last year to commemorate Professor Yu's 90th birthday. As Cheng's teacher of over 40 years, one of the greatest lessons Professor Yu had taught Cheng was to be a historian with a heart and a sense of sympathy. One must learn to listen to the wind, rain, laughter and crying in human history.
US-based academic Zhou Nongjian reminds Chinese policymakers that Chinese talents who have studied abroad and made their way home have much to offer the nation. Alas, their talents are sometimes wasted due to pressures unrelated to their profession. More can be done to alleviate their situation and help them make even greater contributions.
Chinese academics have long admired the old guard of American sinologists who had a soft spot for China. But they must now discard any left-over sentimentality for these old heroes, says Wu Guo, and welcome the new generation of China hands that they will have to deal with. The post-70s and post-80s generation of China specialists dominate US President Biden’s China policy team, and will be the ones to watch in the analysis of US-China relations.
US academic Wu Guo says that not only is the American media's reporting biased against China, college students often only have access to resources that present only one version of China. He feels it is important for Americans to realise that their understanding of China is often limited to a few sensitive issues. He suggests that with their feet anchored in two worlds, overseas Chinese or Asian academics can play a part in presenting a more balanced view of China.
Associate Professor Wu Guo analyses reactions from the Chinese American community to the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crime. He sees a clear distinction between those who see these acts as racially motivated, and those who feel that they should be taken as crimes against public safety and leave it to the police. Interestingly, the debates show that the Chinese themselves may hold certain prejudices against other ethnic groups in the US. Amid the increasing complexity of ethnic relations in the US, what steps can the Asian community take to protect their rights?
Wu Guo asserts that the current piecemeal way of learning English, focusing on exam questions and answers, will not help the Chinese get very far in mastering the English language. Will they be willing to take the longer but likely more rewarding path of appreciating the language in its entirety?