This paper describes the current criticisms of academic research collaboration between the US and China and proposes a university-led initiative to address those concerns. The article begins with the assertion that bilateral research collaboration has historically benefitted both countries, citing cooperation in virology as an example. The paper continues with a discussion of the criticisms leveled by several US government agencies against the Chinese government, especially with regard to the Thousand Talents Program (TTP). A close examination of publicly available appointment letters under the TTP suggests that Chinese universities are given wide discretion when it comes to defining the specific terms of scholarly collaboration. Along with additional supporting arguments, the paper concludes that the most significant violations of commonly accepted research norms are owing to the behavior of individual Chinese institutions and are not directed by the TTP or the Chinese national government. The paper then suggests several steps for addressing these issues at the university level, beginning with a convening of campus leaders from both countries.
September 22, 2021
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)