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Program Overview

By some measures China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy and could be on a path to do the same in information technology, artificial intelligence and biotech. How should the U.S. respond?

There is broad agreement to pressure China to make significant changes in its treatment of intellectual property, fairness in regulating foreign investors, access to the service sector, and subsidies to state-owned companies. China’s rejection of democratic norms in its expansive international development programs, China’s increased use of domestic repression, its rapidly increasing military power, and its determination to enlarge its role in the world may pose significant challenges to the established international order. At the same time many of China’s policies and interests facilitate other countries’ development, including America’s, and complement existing institutions. Conflicts and complementarity must be balanced. This program looks at research from across Harvard for the best policies, ideas and advice for how best to respond to the many challenges posed by China's expanding role on the world stage. 

Senior Leadership

Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor
Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

William H. Overholt

William H. Overholt

Senior Research Fellow
Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

Featured Publications

What Really Matters in the Sino-American Competition. Joseph Nye. Project Syndicate, December 6, 2021

Critical Issues Confronting China series featuring Naima Green-Riley. William Overholt. Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, November 10, 2021

The Future of U.S. – China Relations. Joseph Nye. Center for the Study of the Economy and Society at Cornell University, November 3, 2021

China On The Move - Evergrande and Beyond: Debt, Development and Chinese Society. Meg Rithmire. University of Chicago Yuen Campus Hong Kong, November 2, 2021

With China, a ‘Cold War’ Analogy Is Lazy and Dangerous. Joseph Nye. New York Times, November 2, 2021

Greece’s ambivalent romance with China. Philippe Le Corre. Euractiv, October 26, 2021

Weighs in on the acceleration of China’s national space program. Juliette Kayyem. WGBH, October 20, 2021

China’s Influence in Southeastern, Central, and Eastern Europe: Vulnerabilities and Resilience in Four Countries. Philippe Le Corre. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 13, 2021

Foundations for a Low-Carbon Energy System in China. Henry Lee, Matthew Bunn, Daniel Schrag. Cambridge University Press, 2021

The Future for International Businesses and NGOs Under the 'New' Hong Kong. Tony Saich, Dennis Kwok. Harvard Ash Center, October 13, 2021

How the Clean Network Changed the Future of Global Technology Competition. Meg Rithmire. Cold Call Podcast – Harvard Business Review, October 5, 2021

China and the United States: Looking Forward 40 Years. Joseph Nye. Springer, 2021

Critical Issues Confronting China featuring Bonnie Glaser. William Overholt (Moderator). Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, September 29, 2021

Evergrande's Fall Shows How Xi Has Created a China Crisis. Niall Ferguson. Bloomberg, September 26, 2021

China’s new regulation of platforms: a message for American policymakers. Tom Wheeler. Brookings, September 14, 2021

On the persistence of the China shock. Gordon Hanson. Brookings, September 8, 2021

The Rise of China: Challenges and Opportunities. Julie Bishop. Belfer Center, September 2, 2021

China’s response to the Taliban’s takeover. Tony Saich. Harvard Gazette, August 20, 2021

China's yuan likely to become Asia's central currency. Kenneth Rogoff. Nikkei Asia, August 10, 2021

Letter to the Editor. William H. Overholt, The Wire China, August 4, 2021

America's New Great-Power Strategy. Joseph Nye. Project Syndicate, August 3, 2021

Historical perspective essential for understanding the 'China model'. William Kirby. Global Thinkers, August 2, 2021

EU- China What Went Wrong. Philippe Le Corre. EU China Podcast, July 29, 2021

Assessing China’s National Carbon Market. Robert Stavins. Robert Stavins Blog, July 24, 2021

Summers Expresses Concern About Lack of China-U.S. Talks. Lawrence Summers. Wall Street Week, Bloomberg, July 16, 2021

Biden cannot counter China with a team that lacks expertise. William Overholt, The Hill, July 7, 2021

Taxational Resource Curse: Evidence from China. Jie Bai, ieawc2021.org, July 2021

Larry Summers on China. Lawrence Summers. ChinaTalk Podcast, July 1, 2021

International Economic Association – Panel on Asian & Global Policy Issues. Dani Rodrik, Ministry of Finance – Republic of Indonesia, July 1, 2021

The Chinese Communist Party at 100. Elizabeth Perry, Sinica, July 1, 2021

Environmental Protection or Environmental Protectionism? Evidence from Tail Pipe Emission Standards in China. Jie Bai, AEA Papers and Proceedings, May 2021

How China built its infrastructure and then its economic investment. William Kirby. CGTN America, June 24, 2021

225 Staying Power: Tony Saich on 100 Years of the Chinese Communist Party. Tony Saich. Policycast, June 10, 2021

Delisting Chinese Firms: A Cure Likely Worse than the Disease. Jesse Fried. Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, June 9, 2021

From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party. Tony Saich. Harvard Ash Center HKS, May 25, 2021

The Political Economy of Policy Experimentations in China. David Yang. Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions, May 17, 2021

The Emergence of Mafia-like Business Systems in China. Meg Rithmire. HBS Working Papers, 2021

Additional Resources
Research and Op-Eds

U.S. & China: At the Brink? Graham Allison. The Heyden Center, November 23, 2021

Xi Jinping has made sure history is now officially on his side. Tony Saich. The Guardian, November 16, 2021

AUKUS, China, Cold War II. Niall Ferguson, John Anderson Podcast, October 12, 2021

Housing market booms in Chinese cities: boon or bane for urban entrepreneurship? Yuhua Wang. Journal of Asian Public Policy, September 2, 2021

Why Civilizations Rise & Fall / Will Decentralized Finance Change the World... Again. Niall Ferguson. American Optimist Podcast, August 18, 2021

When carbon emission trading meets a regulated industry: Evidence from the electricity sector of China. Mun S.Ho, Journal of Public Economics, August 2021

Opposing firm-level responses to the China shock: horizontal competition versus vertical relationships? Marc Melitz, Scholarship at Harvard, July 2021

Countering Chinese Grey Zone Activities. James Kraska. Gateway House, July 15, 2021

When It Comes to China, Africa and Central Asia Have Quite a Bit in Common. Nargis Kassenova. The China Africa Project, July 2, 2021

Environmental performance of foreign firms: Chinese and Japanese firms in Myanmar. Thiri Shwesin Aung. Journal of Cleaner Production. June 2, 2021

More to Fear From Microbes Than From Xi Jinping. Lawrence Summers. Bloomberg Markets and Finance, April 16, 2021

Europe’s China Gambit. Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate, January 11, 2021

How Much Globalization Do We Really Need. Dani Rodrik. Wellesley College on Youtube, March 1, 2021

The Unappreciated Trend Toward Unilateral Trade Liberalization. Robert Lawrence. PIIE, March 2021

Biden’s Asian Triangle. Joseph Nye. Project Syndicate, February 4, 2021

Has China's Housing Production Peaked? Kenneth Rogoff. China & World Economy, January 2021

China and the Rise of Law-Proof Insiders. Jesse Fried. HLS, December 2020

Confront, Constrain, Cooperate Or Combine All Three?: Harvard Prof Tony Saich On U.S. China Report. Anthony Saich, StratNewsGlobal on Youtube, December 2020

China’s economic development history and Xi Jinping’s “China dream:” an overview with personal reflections. Martin Whyte. Chinese Sociological Review, November 2020

Party-State Capitalism in China. Meg Rithmire. HBS Working Papers, 2020

The Biden Administration's economic policies. Robert Z. Lawrence, Center of Financial Innovation, November 2020

Urban household consumption in China: Price, income, and demographic effects. Dale Jorgenson. Review of Development Economics, October 2020

The Future of Developing Countries and Globalization After the Pandemic. Dani Rodrik. New Economic Thinking, August 22, 2020

Peak China Housing. Kenneth Rogoff. NBER, August 2020Minimum Wages and the Rise of Firms’ Robot Adoption in China. Richard Freeman. Harvard Working Papers, 2020

China as Economic Bogeyman. Dani Rodrik. Project Syndicate, July 9, 2020

Lessons from Chinese Companies’ Response to Covid-19. Das Narayandas. Harvard Business Review, June 2020

The U.S.-China Relationship is at a Crossroads. Joseph Nye. Belfer Center HKS, January 15, 2020

Jeffrey Frankel Says More... Jeffrey Frankel, Belfer Center HKS, September 10, 2019

Asia Has Three Possible Futures. Stephen Walt. Foreign Policy, September 5, 2019

China and America: A new game in a new era. William H. Overholt, August 16, 2019

China and Japan: Facing History. Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University Press, July 30, 2019

Yesterday’s Cold War Shows How to Beat China Today. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, July 29, 2019

Is the China model a threat? William H. Overholt, July 7, 2019

5 Very Important Things About the World Nobody Knows. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, April 2, 2019

To Serve the People: Income, Region and Citizen Attitudes towards Governance in China (2003–2016). Jesse Turiel, Edward Cunningham, and Anthony Saich, The China Quarterly: 1-30, April 2019

Eric Rosenbach on China: Challenges for U.S. Commerce. Eric Rosenbach, Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, March 7, 2019

Measuring China’s Economic Reform Progress. Dwight H. Perkins, China Economic Review 53: 342-350, February 2019

China’s Crisis Of Success. William H. Overholt, February 25, 2019

There Is No Sino-American Trade War. Martin Feldstein, Project Syndicate, January 29, 2019

Harvard’s Rogoff explains why China has become a ‘problem place’. Ken Rogoff, Yahoo Finance, January 22, 2019

Sino-American relations: a strategic overview. William H. Overholt, January 2019

Europe’s Future Is as China’s Enemy. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, January 22, 2019

Trump's Trade Game. Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate, January 16, 2019

Is China Beating America to AI Supremacy? Graham Allison. Belfer Center HKS, December 22, 2019

A Divided Europe’s China Challenge. Philippe Le Corre. Belfer Center HKS, November 26, 2019

Measuring China’s Economic Reform Progress. Dwight Perkins. China Economic Review, February 2019

The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. Stephen M. Walt. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 16, 2018

Rising Powers and the Risks of War: A Realist View of Sino-American Relations. Stephen Walt, Will China's Rise Be Peaceful?: The Rise of a Great Power in Theory, History, Politics, and the Future. Ed. Asle Toje. Oxford University Press, 2018

International Cooperation in East Asia to Address Climate Change. Robert N. Stavins and Robert C. Stowe, eds., Belfer Center HKS, 2018.

How Do China’s New Rich Give Back? Anthony Saich, The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power. Ed. Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi. Harvard University Press, pp.148-154, 2018

China's Rise as Geoeconomic Influencer: Four European Case Studies. Philippe Le Corre, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 104, 2018

Why China won't yield to Trump. Jeffrey Frankel. Nikkei Asia, April 18, 2018

China and the End of the Cold War in Europe. Arne Westad, Cold War History 17.2: 111-113, June 2017

Washington may bluster but cannot stifle the Chinese economy. Lawrence Summers, Financial Times, December 3, 2018. Also here in the Washington Post

Can Anything Hold Back China’s Economy? Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, December 5, 2018

China and America: The Age of Realist Geoeconomics. William H. Overholt, 2018

Exposing China’s Overseas Lending. Carmen Reinhart, Project Syndicate, October 31, 2018

Can the Trading System Survive US–China Trade Friction? Robert Lawrence. China & World Economy, September 13, 2018

Human-Capital Externalities in China. Ed Glaeser. NBER, August 2018

Human-Capital Externalities in China. Edward L. Glaeser  and Ming Lu, NBER, August 2018

The China Questions - Critical Insights into a Rising Power. Harvard University Press, January 18, 2018.
Chapter 1 - Is the Chinese Communist Regime Legitimate? Elizabeth J. Perry;
Chapter 3 - Does Mao Still Matter? In . Roderick MacFarquhar;
Chapter 4 - What Is the Source of Ethnic Tension in China? Mark Elliott;
Chapter 6 - What Does Longevity Mean for Leadership in China? Arunabh Ghosh;
Chapter 8 - Will China Lead Asia? Arne Westad;
Chapter 11 - Is Chinese Exceptionalism Undermining China’s Foreign Policy Interests? Alastair Iain Johnston;
Chapter 13 - Can China and Japan Ever Get Along? Ezra F. Vogel;
Chapter 14 - Can China’s High Growth Continue? Richard N. Cooper;
Chapter 15 - Is the Chinese Economy Headed toward a Hard Landing? Dwight H. Perkins;
Chapter 16 - Will Urbanization Save the Chinese Economy or Destroy It? Meg Rithmire;
Chapter 17 - Is China Keeping Its Promises on Trade? Mark Wu;
Chapter 18 - How Do China’s New Rich Give Back? Tony Saich;
Chapter 20 - Can China Address Air Pollution and Climate Change? Michael B. McElroy;

Chapter 27 - Why Do So Many Chinese Students Come to the United States? William C. Kirby

The great betrayal: How America's elites are failing to confront the challenges of trade politics. William Overholt, The International Economy, 31(1), 33-39, 2017

China and the evolution of the world economy. William H. Overholt, China Economic Review, 40, 267-271, 2016

Can the Trading System Survive US–China Trade Friction? Robert Lawrence, China & World Economy, 26(5), 62-82, 2018

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? Graham Allison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Searching for Mao in Xi Jinping’s China. Roderick MacFarquhar, Boston Review, 9/8/2017

What Does General Secretary Xi Jinping Dream About? Anthony Saich, Ash Center Occasional Papers Series, August 2017

The great betrayal: How America's elites are failing to confront the challenges of trade politics. William Overholt. The International Economy, 2017

China's RMB Internationalization Strategy: Its Rationales, State of Play, Prospects and Implications. Hyo-Sung Park, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper #63, 2016

China and the evolution of the world economy. William Overholt. China Economic Review, 2016

Governance and Politics of China. Tony Saich, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

Land Bargains and Chinese Capitalism: The Politics of Property Rights under Reform. Meg Rithmire, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Asiaphoria Meets Regression to the Mean. Lant Pritchett, Lawrence H. Summers, NBER Working Paper No. 20573, 2014

Overcoming the Great Recession: Lessons from China. Liu He, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper #33, 2014

China Programs at the Ash Center

China Programs at the Kennedy School's Ash Center engages Chinese scholars, policymakers, business and non-profit leaders, and students to analyze key policy challenges both within China and in China’s increasing global engagement. This is accomplished this through three sets of related activities: research; teaching, including tailored executive education; and fellowships. Learn more.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies is a post-graduate research center promoting the study of modern and contemporary China from a social science perspective. The center promotes new research and public understanding of China’s interactions with the rest of the world. Learn more.

Harvard University Asia Center

The Harvard University Asia Center's mission is to generate and share knowledge about Asia from transnational and transregional perspectives. It fosters teaching, collaboration, and innovation across and beyond cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Learn more.