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Yale Center Beijing: Contributing to the Conversation in China

Only months after its opening, the Yale Center Beijing is already making headlines and contributing to the larger conversation on issues facing China.

A February 3 event at the center featuring Ma Jun, director of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs and a 2004 Yale World Fellow, was discussed in a recent New Yorker article on China’s efforts to combat air pollution.  

From the article:

During a lecture at the Yale Center Beijing on Tuesday, the environmental campaigner Ma Jun explained how radical disclosure can pressure governments to be honest about enforcement. In 2006, Ma and his organization, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, used publicly available data to create an interactive water-pollution map that highlights polluting firms around the country. They later launched a similar map for air pollution. Now almost all of China’s provincial governments have created platforms to disclose data online about local factory emissions, though data quality and reporting speeds vary. The government of Shandong province has gone so far as to publish a monthly list of violators. “I was really impressed,” Ma says. He credits China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection for taking the lead on transparency. “We need to give them credit for doing that. It’s not easy.”

The Center opened in October 2014 with a two-day conference featuring top leaders from finance, technology, healthcare, and the arts. Events since have included:

  • A dialog between Chinese law professionals and Melodee Hanes, a former U.S. Department of Justice official, on the protection of minors from domestic violence and sexual abuse.
  • A conversation with Wang Min, dean of the Central Academy of Fine Art.
  • A discussion on the future of China’s Internet with Kaiser Kuo, director of international communications at Baidu.
  • A discussion convened by Dr. Zhao Hongyu, Ira V. Hiscock Professor of Public Health (Biostatistics) and Professor of Genetics and Statistics at the Yale School of Medicine, to develop plans for the Yale University-Shanghai Jiaotong University Joint Center for Biostatistics.
  • A screening of Jian Yi's  documentary film Super, Girls!, which chronicles the experiences of eight participants in China’s version of American Idol as a way of examining youth culture in modern China, and a discussion with the director, a former Yale World Fellow.

Upcoming events include  talks by Dean Edward A. Snyder of the Yale School of Management and Max Baucus, U.S. ambassador to China, and conferences, symposia and trainings presented by the Yale's School of Music, School of Architecture, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and School of Public Health. 

“I’m proud of the work our team has done to convene thought leaders from Yale and beyond for dialog on critical issues,” said Daniel Murphy, director of programs at the center. “Yale Center Beijing is building on Yale’s long history in China and community of committed supporters to put together a diverse and substantive programming schedule.”