Academia

People walk through Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 12 December 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

China-US R&D decoupling detrimental for both countries

Given the US’s firm stance on safeguarding national security, in particular against China, the research and development sector is among the few that have been deeply impacted. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Hai Kexian speaks with academics to find out the severity of this decoupling in research collaboration.
Pedestrians in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, US, on 26 December 2023. (Eilon Paz/Bloomberg)

US academic: Chinese Americans and racial discrimination in the US

Academic Wu Guo notes that ethnic politics is fundamentally a narrative and institutional tool dominated by the ethnic majority. He looks at how white elites in the US shaped the politics of demographic categorisation and identity labels in the country and at their attempts to stir up identity politics in other countries. He asks: are the very people classified as "people of colour" aware of these issues or are they just as guilty of racism and having a tendency towards "social Darwinism"?
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger listens to a question at the China Development Forum, in Beijing, China, on 21 March 2015. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Assessing Kissinger: It's not just about China-US relations

Academic Wu Guo notes that if Chinese academics in the West are unable to get out of their narrow-minded “box stuffed with Chinese-ness” worldview and stop evaluating individuals based on the sole criterion of improving China-US relations, it may be difficult to have a truly insightful global dialogue.
An AI (artificial intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, on 6 July 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's ambiguous attitude towards generative AI

China put forth a draft Degree Law recently that includes harsh consequences for degree holders who use artificial intelligence tools to ghostwrite their dissertations. These aggressive measures reflect a conundrum that the country’s academia and wider community finds themselves in: how can China balance between the desire for technological progress and the fear of losing its identity and autonomy?
Former Olympic gold medalist Ding Ning in action with a student from National Chengchi University in Taiwan, on 17 July 2023. (CNS)

The cautious restarting of cross-strait academic exchanges

Cultural and academic exchanges between Taiwan and mainland China have restarted since being suspended due to the three-year-long pandemic. While official coordination of these exchanges are proving to be difficult to resume, it remains a priority, in particular for the mainland side. On the Taiwan side, wary of interference ahead of the Taiwan election, relevant authorities are tightening the scrutiny of mainlanders visiting Taiwan. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Miao Zong-Han tells us more.
People take pictures of the Forbidden City after an overnight snowfall in Beijing, China, 22 January 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Fewer Chinese academics in the US will worsen US-China disconnect

With rising US-China tensions and American society’s dissatisfaction with China, as well as a shrinking higher education market, Chinese academics teaching China-related humanities subjects in the US and their already-marginalised departments and courses have been affected. US academic Wu Guo believes that the future generation’s understanding of the Chinese language and of China's culture and history will deteriorate as a result and worsen the disconnect between the US and China.
Jonathan Spence (1936-2021), master storyteller of Chinese history. (WeChat/玉茗堂前)

Jonathan Spence: A Western historian's search for modern China

Professor Jonathan Spence (1936-2021) was a prolific historian who deepened Western readers’ understanding of China’s history and culture through his artful mastery of narrative history grounded in rigorous research. From the inner world of Emperor Kangxi to Jesuit missionaries' voyage to China, to the plight of Chinese intellectuals and literati and the arduous mission of reform and opening up, Spence’s unique writing style brought to life the complex historical figures and events of China. Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai, one of his earliest students, and translation academic Jackie Yan pay tribute to Spence and his contribution to the study of Chinese history through this preface to a collection of Spence's translated works published by the Guangxi Normal University Press.
People walk through wet streets after a morning snow storm in Manhattan on 7 January 2022 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Why the Americans know China better than the Chinese know the US

The belief that the Chinese know far more about America than Americans know about China is a misconception. In the age of globalisation and the internet, a knowledge asymmetry actually exists between the Chinese and the Americans — middle class Americans seem to have an understanding of Chinese culture, history and system based on rigorous academic research and analysis, but the Chinese lack the same level of understanding of the Americans. US academic Wu Guo shares his views on why the “knowledge deficit” exists in China.
People walk through the snow in Manhattan on 7 January 2022 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

US academic: Polarisation causing Americans to lose faith in the US system

Americans are losing confidence in their own country while the Chinese are gaining confidence in China. This change is profoundly significant, says US academic Han Dongping. The crux of America’s decline is the deep polarisation in a country which is no longer the land of opportunity and optimism for many who live in the cycle of poverty and crime. Is it a surprise that many college students are supporting socialism and looking for new models that might work?