SURGE: China-US Symposium: Competition or Containment?

Date & Time April 15-16, 2022 12:00pm

Join SURGE for its 14th annual China-US Symposium. This two-day academic conference is held every spring at Tufts. The goal is to foster academic understanding of China and cultivate cooperation between students and experts from different backgrounds and cultures. SURGE wishes to create a unique crossroads of ideas, experiences, and people that characterize Tufts University to promote an atmosphere of deep analysis and critical awareness.


This year's theme is “Containment and Engagement”. China and the US have clashed on nearly every front: from technology, environmental policies, human rights, security, and media censorship. The Biden administration has made it clear its intention to pursue strategic competition with China. Yet at the same time, opportunities for engagement and cooperation exist. There are many areas where the two superpowers must cooperate for the interests of the global community: the global health crisis and climate change, to name some. We hope that this symposium will provide a platform for all to consider and better understand these issues and the future of Sino-US relations.


The Symposium will kick off on Friday, April 15th at noon in Eaton 206:

12:00 - 13:15: David Rawson Memorial Lecture (Keynote) 

13:15 - 14:30: Break

14:30 - 15:45: Socio-Cultural Panel

15:45 - 16:00: Break

16:00 - 17:15: Economics Panel

The second day (Saturday April 16th) is as follows in JCC 280:

13:00 - 14:15: Security Panel 

14:15 - 14:30: Break 

14:30 - 15:45: Environmental Panel 

15:45 - 16:00: Break 

16:00 - 17:00: Closing Remarks


Culture Panel: 

 As China enters a new globalized era in terms of communication and social media, the question of how the Chinese government will manage and engage in its evolving digital culture is a matter of pressing concern. Its decisions to censor and contain certain types of digital content will not only affect those in China but also the rest of the world. Because China’s cultural influence continues to expand beyond the scope of the Sinosphere, this panel will explore the multi-faceted capacities of Chinese digital media platforms like Weibo and the relevant cultural implications on Chinese society, as well as the American perceptions of that media.


Environmental Panel:

 Despite a period of such unprecedented technological growth, there has also been tremendous, destructive impacts to the environment. As China is the world’s largest carbon emitter, the dissatisfaction from its population has pushed the government into taking steps toward cutting emissions and investing into renewable energy. The decisions made by China toward combating climate change have significant ramifications as it demonstrates an economic powerhouse’s influence on the rest of the world. In this panel, we will explore the environmental policies and China’s overall ability to regulate pollution as well as how that compares to other country’s policies. 


DRM Keynote:

Brian Wong - Founder and Director, Oxford Political Review | Rhodes Scholar (DPhil, Politics) | Kwok Scholar | Nikkei, TIME Contributor | Co-founder, Oxford Policy Advisory Group | Hong Kong Debate and Speech Community Governor


Cultural Panel:

Daria Berg, DPhil in Chinese Studies, University of Oxford, is Chair Professor (Ordinaria) of Chinese Culture and Society at the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland.


Bingchun Meng is a Professor in the Department for Media and Communications at LSE, where she directs the MSc Double-degree Programme in Global Media and Communications (with Fudan University).


Florian Schneider, Ph.D., Sheffield University, is a Senior University Lecturer in the Politics of Modern China at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. 


Environmental Panel:

Dr. Deborah Seligsohn, PhD - UCSD,  is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Villanova University.


Cecilia Han Springer is the Assistant Director, Global China Initiative at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center