Valerie Pavilonis

University President Peter Salovey and experts on United States-China relations discussed the future of China, as well as its impact on the global economy and international education, at a panel conversation on Friday.

Jamil Anderlini, Asia editor for the Financial Times, moderated the panelists’ discussion, titled “China 2049 — New Era or New Threat.” The panel, co-sponsored by the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism and the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics and hosted by the School of Management, also featured professor of political science and Director of International Security Studies Nuno Monteiro, professor of East Asian languages and literatures Jing Tsu, economics professor Aleh Tsyvinski and Stephen Roach, senior fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and former chair of Morgan Stanley Asia.

In an interview with the News after the event, Salovey emphasized the importance of cultural knowledge beyond just America. He added that Yale has implemented partnerships with Chinese schools such as Peking University.

“I’m not very interested in building a campus where students would just hang out with other Yale students, but it happens to be in China,” Salovey said. “[I’m] much more interested in actual immersion in the culture.”

Tsu began the panel, arguing that America is cautious of China because the country wants to rid itself of American influence. In essence, Tsu said China aims to remove itself from the “Century of Humiliation,” the period from 1839 to 1949 where China was heavily influenced by Western imperialism.

According to Roach, the Chinese government has allowed a certain degree of economic freedom and growth in recent decades. As a result of social turmoil in the 20th century, the economy was “in tatters,” he said, adding that, in response, the government under Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping opened up investment and export opportunities, which provided “spectacular improvement in an economy that was on the brink.”

Still, Roach added that current policy aims to reduce China’s dependence on other countries and encourage “indigenous innovation.”

Nuno, the professor who studies international security, commented on barriers to China’s success, arguing that China’s potential to evolve will depend on its ability to develop a “brand” to market China to both its own citizens and outsiders. Nuno noted that successful branding has been “the core of U.S success.”

The panelists then discussed freedom of speech and self-censorship at American universities in reference to how Yale community members would react to a controversial member of Chinese society speaking on campus. Anderlini asked Salovey if, hypothetically, Yale would ever invite the Dalai Lama to speak. Salovey answered that while Yale’s policies of free speech would prevent them from barring a speaker, the administration would still recognize the action as being offensive to the Chinese communist party and would have to manage protests to prevent any voices from being smothered.

“I think our biggest challenge is with respect to self-censorship today,” Salovey said. “Older generations may have had other issues, [but] that wasn’t it. You can argue, you can debate, then you can go out for a beer or coffee afterwards, and you can be friends …18-year-olds have a different view, they find that a more challenging situation.”

Yale also offers study abroad programs in Hong Kong and Fenghuang.

Valerie Pavilonis | .