Wu Guo

Associate Professor of History and Coordinator of the Chinese Studies Programme, Allegheny College

WU Guo is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Chinese Studies programme at Allegheny College, US. He holds a PhD in history from the State University of New York at Albany in the US and has been a visiting research fellow at institutions such as the Center for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University, the Academia Sinica (Taipei), and Southwest University in Chongqing, China. He is the author of two English-language monographs, over twenty English-language research articles and book reviews, and over thirty Chinese-language articles, book reviews, and essays.

This photo taken on 15 November 2021 shows a staff member spraying disinfectant at the Zhangye Danxia Geopark in Zhangye, Gansu province, China. (AFP)

US academic: US-centric worldview and hostile policies hindering US-China exchanges

Before rushing to conclude that China is turning inward and isolating itself from the world with its harsh zero-Covid policy, says US academic Wu Guo, the American media should do some soul-searching themselves on how US policies and negative American attitudes towards China have led to dwindling people-to-people contact.
People wearing traditional Chinese costumes walk outside the Forbidden City during China's national day in Beijing, China, on 1 October 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

US academic: Learning Chinese is another political battleground for China and the US

Harvard University recently announced that it would be relocating its Chinese language summer programme from Beijing to Taiwan. Wu Guo notes the irony that while mainland China has been accused of using Confucius Institutes as propaganda vehicles, Taiwan doesn’t come under similar suspicion as it moves in to fill the gap for Chinese language teaching. Under the current tense milieu, can learning the Chinese language ever be simply just that?
People walk past a Chinese flag near the Forbidden City during National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 5 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

China will be the US's most difficult opponent

While there may have been some minor tweaks from the US side to smoothen relations with China, the overall suppression and containment of China remains unchanged from the Trump to Biden eras as fundamental differences exist between the two countries, says Wu Guo.
A commuter rides his bicycle through an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Every individual counts: China should go for ‘common development’ rather than ‘common prosperity’

Rather than wealth redistribution per se, the deeper issue lies in achieving social justice and equal opportunities for all. Going by the US example, it might not be wise or even feasible to curtail the riches of the wealthy or to straitjacket their business environment. Instead, they and other members of the community can be encouraged to help bring about equitable access to education and a better life.
A man wearing a mask walks past a model of the Statue of Liberty at a tourist store in New York City, US, 18 July 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

How Americans have braved the Covid-19 pandemic

Looking back at a year and a half of the Covid war, US academic Wu Guo notes that its impact is no less lethal than the two world wars. He shares his experience living through measures in the US, which have been a mixed bag balancing individual freedoms with societal needs and economic realities. Each country has its own model and only history can tell what worked best.
A girl holding a national flag watches as her family chats, outside the Forbidden City during the Labour Day holiday in Beijing, China on 1 May 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Not just a tech war: What China can do to better compete with the US and create a better world

An admirer of Chinese culture and of China’s warm and people-centred way of life, US academic Wu Guo says that China need not seek to win over the US in every field, not least in the high-tech domain. It actually has a powerful advantage that has been underutilised — a rich culture that goes back thousands of years and a way of life that nurtures bonds of community, kindness and civility. If those outside China see this softer side of China, surely they will be less hasty to cast the first stone?
People walk on the historic Doyers Street in Chinatown that has been painted over by Chilean-born street artist Dasic Fernandez, 24 June 2021 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Price of the American dream: Do immigrants have to forget their past?

Wu Guo, a US academic and first-generation immigrant finds that second- and third-generation immigrants, whether Asian Americans or otherwise, are more keen to trace their roots the more their parents and grandparents try to shield them from certain memories. Maybe more oral history projects and open discussion of the past will build stronger American identities?
People walk along a shopping district during the Labour Day holidays, in Beijing, China, on 3 May 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

New breed of American China experts see China with a colder eye

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.
People walk along Qianmen street in Beijing on 19 May 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Americans should not oversimplify China into a few sensitive issues

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.