Published: Jan. 16, 2020

On November 18th, CAS was one of some 80 venues across the country hosting the China Town Hall, a national conversation on US-China relations organized by the National Committee on US-China Relations. This year’s event - attended by over 100 people from the CU Boulder community - included a webcast panel discussion moderated by ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos and featuring NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Melanie Hart of the Center for American Progress, Professor Yasheng Huang of MIT, and Ely Ratner of the Center for a New American Security. The webcast was followed by our own local panel discussion moderated by CAS Director Tim Oakes. The panel focused on the implications of the increasingly strained US-China relationship for how research and scholarship are conducted here at CU Boulder, and featured Professor of Geography and Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences Waleed Abdalati, Director of International Student and Scholar Services Diana Salazar, Director of International Law Jimmy Ilseng, Associate Professor of History Timothy Weston, and Professor of Geography Emily Yeh. The discussion focused on the question of balancing academic freedom and the openness of the research and educational environment on US university campuses with issues of national security and intellectual property. As the US-China relationship has shifted into a more confrontational mode, this question of balancing has created challenges for Chinese students and scholars on campus, as well as obligations for campus leaders to maintain an open and productive educational environment free from discrimination.  Research universities play a unique and extremely important role in the US-China relationship, and this role has not been adequately accounted for in the broader policy and media spheres. Academic institutions still have a major role to play in something resembling ‘constructive engagement’ with China at a time when most other channels for that engagement (i.e. market-oriented or diplomatic) have become highly constrained. The panel discussion offered a forum in which the possibilities for that role might be articulated and discussed. The event was filmed andis now available on the CAS video page.