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Pastoral Agriculture: John B. Griffing, Agricultural Missionaries, and Transnational Agricultural Development

August 9, 2023

This report examines the life and career of John B. Griffing to understand the larger transnational project of rural development in the twentieth century. Griffing had an eclectic career that took him to various parts of the United States, China, and Brazil. While Griffing's papers are scattered across multiple institutions and countries, collections from the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) were particularly useful in tracing the evolution of Griffing's ideas about rural development over time. At least two themes emerge when studying his career. The first is his views on religion and rural development. As the son of a small-town dairy farmer and grandson of a Methodist minister, Griffing found a way to blend these two influences by working as an "agricultural missionary" where he promoted agricultural improvement as a tool for spreading Christianity in China. His later work in Brazil focused less on proselytizing but he continued to champion the rural church as an effective center for agricultural change. The second theme is Griffing's emphasis on extension work and the importance of reaching rural youth through programs such as 4-H clubs. For Griffing, club work (which focused mostly on boys) was an effective way to cultivate a form of rugged masculinity, while also spreading new agricultural crops and practices to their parents. 

Planned or by Accident? The Inception of the Chinese Materia Medica Research Program at the Peking Union Medical College

April 17, 2023

This report chronicles the events that led to the inception of the Chinese materia medica (CMM) research program at the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC). Dozens of herbal drugs were investigated during the decade after the program was conceived in 1921, including ma-huang, from which ephedrine, an anti-asthmatic drug of global impact, was isolated in 1924.  The program was primarily born out of a serendipitous intersection of two independent pursuits by Dr. Ralph G. Mills and Mr. Bernard E. Read, two PUMC faculty members, of their interests in CMM, instead of a preconceived grander aim or strategy by the institution or by any visionary. The establishment of the program, however, was the result of pragmatic handling of personnel and administrative issues by the China Medical Board (CMB)'s key decisionmakers, who accepted the seemingly plausible scientific value and various utilitarian promise of CMM and were open to its research at the PUMC.The discovery of ephedrine is the most celebrated scientific achievement from the CMM research program, and one of the few highlights of Chinese science during the entire Republican Era. Reconstructing the origin of the program will hopefully place this highly acclaimed scientific event in an accurate historical context and enable the construction of a non-whiggish historiographical narrative.

The China Medical Board’s Fellowship Programs and Its Shifting Focus to Taiwan during the Postwar Era, 1951–1973

March 6, 2023

In this report, I investigate the institutionalization of the China Medical Board's (CMB) exchange fellowship programs and its shifting focus from Mainland China to a broader East Asia region from 1951 to 1973. In particular, this report looks at the CMB fellowship programs in Taiwan, which facilitated a gigantic wave of young health professionals moving from Taiwan to the United States during the postwar era. I begin by analyzing the major historical events that ultimately shifted CMB's direction from Mainland China to other parts of Asia, and the ways in which Taiwan became a critical focus for CMB after its retreat from Mainland China. The report's second half lies in the anatomy of the CMB fellowship program's operation in the two elite medical schools in Taiwan—the Medical College at the National Taiwan University (NTU) and the National Defense Medical Center (NDMC). I examine the demographical trends from the CMB fellowship allocation files and the key components that emerged from the CMB fellowship program. 

Philanthropy in BRICS countries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

March 1, 2023

Philanthropy in the BRICS countries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals is a review prepared by Russian Donors Forum alongside with the research Philanthropy and social investment in the BRICS countries. The review analyses how philanthropy in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is aligning its activity with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), what progress has already been made and what challenges the sector faces.The review studies the common features of philanthropy of the BRICS countries, as well as the role of Agenda 2030 in the sector of philanthropy and social investment in each of the countries.

Philanthropy and social investment in BRICS countries

March 1, 2023

Philanthropy and social investment in the BRICS countries is a study initiated by the Russian Donors Forum Association and the Ural Federal University Center for Research of Philanthropy and Social Programs. The International partners of the study are the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support Association (WINGS) and the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose Association (CECP Global Exchange). In addition to the research there has been published a review Philanthropy in the BRICS countries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.The aim of the study was to conduct a comparative analysis of the donor communities of the BRICS countries and to assess the COVID-19 impact on the sector of philanthropy and social investment.The study represents a portrait of the donor communities of the BRICS countries, the external conditions of their activities, including the regulatory environment; highlights the urgency of the donor organizations' work. In addition, the authors of the study tried to identify the challenges that arose before the donor community of the BRICS countries in connection with the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as analyze the activities and approaches of the donor community aimed at combating the pandemic and its social consequences.

Can Democracies Cooperate with China on AI Research? Rebalancing AI Research Networks

January 9, 2023

China looms large in the global landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) research, development, and policymaking. Its talent, growing technological skill and innovation, and national investment in science and technology have made it a leader in AI.This working paper considers whether and to what extent international collaboration with China on AI can endure. In Part I, it presents the history of China's AI development and extraordinarily successful engagement with international research and development (R&D) and explains how this history has helped China become a global leader in the field. Part II shows how China has become embedded in international AI R&D networks, with China and the United States becoming each other's largest collaborator and China also a major collaborator with each of the other six countries participating in FCAI. Part III then provides an overview of the economic, ethical, and strategic issues that call into question whether such levels of collaboration on AI can continue, as well as the challenges and disadvantages of disconnecting the channels of collaboration. The analysis then looks at how engagement with China on AI R&D might evolve.

Egg producer and egg buyer disconnect: Exploring barriers and levers to increase cage-free egg production in China

December 11, 2022

About 40% of the world's chicken eggs come from China. Although there is interest in cage-free eggs production in China, the transition has been slow. This report focuses on a key reason: A fundamental disconnect between egg producers and buyers (retailers and end consumers). First, this report gives an OVERVIEW of China's egg industry and commitments to cage-free production.Three BARRIERS causing the disconnect are explained: 1. Understanding — Global cage-free egg campaigns have focused on the singular issue of animal welfare. But the concept of animal welfare is not well understood in China and there is confusion about "cage-free" in China's egg marketplace. 2. Cost — Transitioning to cage-free is expensive and comes with considerable financial risk for Chinese producers. And domestic egg buyers are generally unwilling to pay the resulting price increase. 3. Confidence — Egg producers are not confident that food businesses will keep their commitments. In turn, egg buyers can't always trust claims of traceability and verifiability of their eggs. Five LEVERS to align egg producers and buyers are suggested: 1. Support and fund initiatives for producers and buyers that are firmly China led and driven. 2. Improve transparency and accountability of cage-free commitments specifically in China. 3. Ensure the term "cage-free" is associated with trusted, premium products addressing multiple ethical and social concerns. 4. Increase market demand by targeting receptive demographics (those more concerned with animal welfare, safe, healthy food, and a willingness to pay a price premium for products addressing these concerns). 5. Focus engagement with multinational grocery retailers operating in China yet to make cage-free commitments.

The politics of milk: Examining claims about dairy in China

November 30, 2022

This report focuses on three key claims driving the huge growth in recent decades in the production and consumption of dairy products in China – a country that historically had low level of interest in these products.These claims are problematic because they "change the subject" and deflect criticism. They steer attention away from the fact that most of the benefits from increased production and consumption of industrialized dairy products in China flow to a tiny minority. They close off encouragements to develop food systems that are more diverse, more regionally self-sufficient, and less highly processed.These claims are made frequently by dairy industry executives, government officials, investors, and even civil society organizations. They are also widely repeated in mainstream and alternative media sources.Claim 1: Dairy is cheap. Implications: Food calories need to be affordable; one should promote calorie-dense foods and reduce their prices. Problem: Hidden costs (government subsidies, negative social and ecological impacts) are left out and not included in retail prices.Claim 2: Dairy is nutritious. Implications: Specific nutrients, particularly protein, are needed for human health and should be promoted. Problem: The claim leaves out negative health impacts of increased consumption of dairy products particularly in ultraprocessed form, and the fact that deficiency of protein is relatively uncommon in China.Claim 3: Rising consumer incomes are increasing demand for dairy. Implications: Domestic production and imports should be increased to meet this demand. Problem: The claim leaves out the substantial role of marketing efforts for shaping and reshaping purchasing behaviors to benefit the largest firms and their investors.

“American Patrick Manson” Goes to China: Ernest Faust’s Career Path to Peking Union Medical College

November 21, 2022

Based on primary sources from the Rockefeller Archive Center, this research report examines the leading American tropical medicine specialist Ernest Carroll Faust's initial career choice to go to Rockefeller-sponsored Peking Union Medical College in the early 20th century. It argues that Faust accepted the position and introduced a medical-zoological-based tropical medicine to China mainly because of his own career ambitions and his mentor Henry Ward's ardent promotion of this new field, within the Rockefeller Foundation's expanding global network. With this case study, my report also challenges the current dominant model which treats tropical medicine as colonial medicine.

Use of Predictive Analytic Tools to Assess Technological Emergences and Acquisition Targets

June 2, 2022

The United States has been the international leader in science and technology of importance to national security for three-quarters of a century. However, the development by other nations of their own science and technology capabilities, in concert with and fueled by increasing globalization and connectivity of economic and technological development, has increased competition for technological leadership. The authors use patent filings to analyze the current relative positions of the United States and other countries in selected technology areas of interest to the Department of the Air Force: additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, ceramics, quantum, sensors, and space.Areas of technological emergence were identified by detecting rapid growth in cumulative patent applications in specific technology areas and whether this occurred in the United States or China. The authors also describe and analyze the patent portfolios of U.S. companies that were early filers in these areas, focusing on small or medium-size companies that were not already owned or controlled by foreign entities; this, in turn, enabled identification of companies that had specific leading technological capabilities that could make them attractive for possible foreign acquisition. The authors propose a method to simultaneously identify connected areas of technological emergence and the companies with leading capabilities in these areas.

Winning the Web: How Beijing Exploits Search Results to Shape Views of Xinjiang and COVID-19

May 27, 2022

As the war in Ukraine unfolds, Russian propaganda about the conflict has gotten a boost from a friendly source: government officials and state media out of Beijing. In multiple languages and regions around the world, China's "wolf warrior" diplomats and state media routinely amplify Kremlin conspiracy theories rationalizing President Vladimir Putin's invasion, and undermining the credibility and appeal of the United States, NATO, and independent media — even as China declines to endorse the Kremlin's adventurism wholesale. This spring, for example, China's messengers promoted the baseless Russian claim that the United States has been supporting a biological weapons program in Ukraine -- at times, more aggressively than Russia itself.Because Russian state media have been deamplified or banned by multiple Western social media platforms, Beijing's messaging could play an outsized role in channeling Kremlin talking points to audiences around the world. These narratives do not just spread on social media. Beijing's state-funded publishers have considerable success in a domain that has received comparatively little attention: search results.For months, our team has been tracking how China has exploited search engine results on Xinjiang and COVID-19, two subjects that are geopolitically salient to Beijing — Xinjiang, because the Chinese government seeks to push back on condemnation of its rights record; COVID-19, because it seeks to deflect criticism for its early mishandling of the pandemic. In both cases, Beijing is quite focused on positioning itself as a responsible global leader and softening perceptions to the contrary. To evaluate these concerns, we compiled daily data over a 120-day period on 12 terms related to Xinjiang and COVID-19 from five different sources: (1) Google Search; (2) Google News; (3) Bing Search; (4) Bing News; and (5) YouTube.

China’s Role in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

May 14, 2022

On the 24th of February 2022, the Russian Federation began the military invasion of Ukraine after recognizing and assuring the security of the people republics of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of Ukraine. The following images of Russian troops invading the country combined with Putin's political rhetoric on removing the 'neo-Nazis' in Kyiv and the acute need to bring order and de-nazify the country have been a shock to Europe and the international system. The ongoing conflict is the latest manifestation of Russia's increasingly revisionist ambitions towards the current American-led international order, an order that academic scholars increasingly argue is under threat by both revisionist and emerging powers. One of which is the People's Republic of China, a state that not only historically has enjoyed strong political ties with Russia, but also possesses territorial ambitions that parallel the current situation in Ukraine. An observation that is increasingly made by western media and academics has been drawing the parallel towards China's calculated nature as a selectively revisionist state but its ongoing territorial disputes in the region of the South China Sea has been the subject of increasing attention. Specifically, the People's Republic of China's tenuous relationship with Taiwan is perceived to be the next area of confrontation and revisionist efforts toward the rules-based international order. This observation has only been strengthened as the Beijing has failed to take a clear position towards the conflict, intentionally leaving its position ambiguous: the absence of recognizing the conflict in Ukraine as an aggressive war led by Russia in combination with recently abstaining on a vote condemning the conflict in the United Nations has only served to fuel fears and heighten tensions.To that extent, this report seeks to determine and understand the plan and potential policy direction that Beijing may pursue while examining the restrictions and considerations that may dictate its future decisions. China's position and role as one of the largest economies in the global market and in proximity to vital economic routes and sea lanes of communication ensure that any conflict in the region would have wide-ranging and damaging implications and consequences. Concretely, the objective of this article is to examine and determine the manner and impact in which the Russo-Ukrainian war will have on Chinese foreign policy and what limitations and opportunities do the regime face in either constructively engaging in advocating for a de-escalation of the violence or utilizing the conflict as a road map for its ambitions. The report systematically examines the economic and political incentives and relations China possesses with both the Ukraine and Russia before examining parallels between Taiwan and Ukraine and determining if China possesses the capabilities and political motivation to become a mediator to bring about an end to the conflict.