University ranks influential China scholars from the US

Updated: 2015-01-15 18:05

By Zhang Zhouxiang(

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In China's diplomatic practice, "seeking the points in common without hiding the differences" has been a guiding principle for decades. That applies to Sino-US relationship, but with increasingly frequent interactions between them, the two sides are finding as many differences as common points, said Wang Fan, professor and vice dean at China Foreign Affairs University.

University ranks influential China scholars from the US

Wang Fan, professor at China Foreign Affairs University [photo/]

It was at the release of the report US Scholars on Contemporary China: an Evaluation,that he voiced these comments. For a whole year, Wang and his team have been working on the report, which aims to answer the questions: who are US' leading experts on China and what are their opinions? What influences will their ideas have on Sino-US relations?

To find the most influential China experts from the United States, the team first selected candidates from the US government, the military, universities and other independent think tanks. According to a team member who participated in the selection, that move is based on the distribution of the US' China experts in its different institutions.

A quantified system is also designed, which grades a scholar on various aspects and combines them together for a final ranking. The criteria include influences on policy, or whether an expert's research results help shape policies and academic influences, like how many essays an expert publishes annually and how many times they are quoted. Also considered were social influences, for example how well-known an expert is to the public.

Some other indexes are included, like the conformity of an expert's opinions to US government policies, which raised questions among scholars attending the release event.

A political stand is carefully avoided in the process. "We follow the principle of neutrality and select both those being ‘friendly' and ‘unfriendly' to China," said Wang. "But from the result we can comprehensively judge the general attitudes of US scholars to China – that's what we are going to do in the next phase of the job."