US and China: From Co-Evolution to Decoupling

Henry Kissinger secretly visited China in 1971 to restore US ties, and the Chinese have respected him since. With a trade war underway and US concerns about intellectual property theft, the relationship has soured and transformed: from co-evolution, described by Kissinger as pursuit of domestic imperatives and cooperating as possible to decoupling. “The parochial outlook in the United States and the growing nationalism in China is heading toward disengagement,” explains Vincent Ni, journalist and 2018 Yale Greenberg World Fellow. Ni describes this as disruptive and dangerous, forcing countries to choose sides. Ni urges Chinese and US leaders to develop new rules for 21st century trade, economics and technology while finding ways to cooperate and contribute to global public goods while coexisting militarily. As Kissinger suggested in his writings, a good relationship is essential for world peace and progress even as both nations pursue their own paths of exceptionalism. – YaleGlobal

59th Annual Edward H. Hume Memorial Lecture: “China’s Rise and the Security of East Asia”

The Council is pleased to present the 59th Edward H. Hume Memorial Lecture in Chinese Studies. Dr. Thomas J. Christensen (Professor of Public & International Affairs and Director of the China and the World Program, Columbia University) presented “China’s Rise and the Security of East Asia” on Friday, November 9, 2018. Many see a rising China as a security threat to the United States and its friends and allies because it seeks to drive the United States out of East Asia, dominate that region, and challenge the United States globally in a new Cold War. These concerns are overblown. But the good news ends there. The difficult challenges posed by China’s rise are real and take two forms: dissuading China from settling its many maritime disputes with weaker neighbors through coercion and military force and thereby destabilizing a region of growing global importance; and encouraging China to contribute to global stability by using its economic clout to help solve global problems such as nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran.

 

 

US Free Speech vs China’s Censorship

The US-China trade clash centers on intellectual property theft. “An underlying factor is the Chinese government’s rigorous censorship of imported cultural products,” explains Ge Chen, professor of law. The US Constitution protects speech as a check against excessive government power with the First Amendment and describes the purpose of copyrights to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” After early printing technology emerged, China allowed the practice of duplicating copies in the 10th century but only with government permission. “In Sino-US trade talks at the end of the 19th century, the Qing government agreed to copyright protection for books from US publishers on the condition that the government would censor politically sensitive content beforehand,” Chen explains. Versions of the policy have been in place since, with only a few disruptions like the Cultural Revolution. Such policies attract public curiosity to banned works and associated devices, he concludes, and China’s “entrenched system of suffocating the free flow of ideas is bound to buttress the legitimacy of piracy in China and generate conflict with any tangible or intangible products carrying free speech.” He concludes strong copyright protection by China for both domestic and foreign creators would eventually promote freedom of expression. – YaleGlobal

China Fuels Vietnam’s Protest Movement

protests in Vietnam; China's President Xi Jinping meets Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Phu Trong

Vietnam has a long and troubled history with China. After the chill caused by the 1979 Chinese invasion of Vietnam and subsequent tussles over the South China Sea, the two nations normalized relations in 1991 for cross-border trade and diplomacy. Still, the Vietnamese people are not so quick to forget as indicated by unprecedented protests during summer of 2018 over a proposal to designate three special economic zones in sensitive areas with 99-year leases that would likely land with Chinese corporations. “Vietnamese leadership today walks a tightrope of balancing official condemnation of Chinese actions in the South China Sea with a pragmatic approach to trade and investment cooperation,” explains journalist and filmmaker Tom Fawthrop. “June’s mass protests reflected sentiment that Vietnamese people no longer trust their government to achieve the right balance with Chinese investment projects often tainted by corruption, lack of transparency and land-grabbing.” Protests united anti-communist dissidents and former government officials alike, forcing the government to delay the law’s passage until May 2019. Fawthrop concludes that Vietnamese leaders must develop a vision for development and a strategy for protecting the nation’s culture and independence from China’s regional hegemony. – YaleGlobal

 

Basketball team showcases student-athlete experience in China

Cheered on by over 4,000 Chinese fans at Shanghai’s Baoshan Sports Center, Yale triumphed over the University of California, Berkeley 76 – 59 on Saturday.

But besides training for the big win over Cal, the basketball team also toured the Alibaba headquarters, enjoyed a riverbend cruise and ate local cuisine during its one-week trip across China, which included stops in Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Before the trip, basketball players participated in language and culture classes as well as weekly workshops where they learned about Chinese history and practiced basic Chinese phrases. For Director of Athletics Vicky Chun, who was appointed to her position last spring, the team’s trip to China was a realization of her vision to emphasize the dual nature of the student-athlete experience at Yale.

https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2018/11/13/basketball-team-showcases-student-athlete-experience-in-china/

Program offers Chinese youth leaders perspectives on U.S. government

Participants in the sixth annual China-Yale Youth Leaders Dialogue appear with Pericles Lewis at the Greenberg Conference Center

Participants in the sixth annual China-Yale Youth Leaders Dialogue appeared with Pericles Lewis, Yale University’s vice president for global strategy and deputy provost for international affairs (above, at center), during the program’s closing ceremony held recently at the Greenberg Conference Center.

Established in 2013, the Dialogue was created through a partnership between Yale University and the All-China Youth Federation. The visiting delegation, comprised of provincial youth organization leaders, government and party officials, and private sector executives, spent a week at Yale engaging with faculty, students, World Fellows, and local officials to discuss topics ranging from U.S. politics and policies to innovation, education, and governance. The group then traveled to Washington, D.C. for meetings with U.S. government officials and experts on U.S.-China relations to discuss other matters of mutual interest.

https://news.yale.edu/2018/11/05/program-offers-chinese-youth-leaders-perspectives-us-government

 

The MacMillan Report featuring Taisu Zhang – The Laws and Economics of Confucianism

Taisu Zhang is an Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He works on comparative legal history, specifically, economic institutions in modern China and early modern Western Europe. He has published a number of articles and essays in academic journals and popular outlets and is the current president of the International Society for Chinese Law and History. We talk with Professor Zhang about his new book, The Laws and Economics of Confucianism: Kinship and Property in Pre-Industrial China and England, which recently received the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize from the MacMillan Center.

Learn more about Taisu Zhang.

Click in and learn!