Sinica Podcast
The View from China: Leading IR scholar Da Wei of Tsinghua's CISS

The View from China: Leading IR scholar Da Wei of Tsinghua's CISS

This week on Sinica, I'm delighted to welcome Dá Wēi (达巍), one of China’s foremost scholars of China’s foreign relations and especially relations with the U.S. Da Wei is the director of the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and is a professor in the department of International Relations at the School of Social Science at Tsinghua. Before September 2017, Professor Da served as the Director of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a leading think tank in Beijing. He was at CICIR for more than two decades and directed the Institute of American Studies from 2013 to 2017.

We discuss the state of Chinese understanding of the United States: how China’s strategic class assesses the state of the relationship, what brought it to this point, and what the future might hold.

2:52 – American attitudes toward the U.S.-China relationship

5:32 – The focus of academic think tanks and strategic communities in the U.S. versus China 

11:13 – The Chinese strategic community’s understanding of American domestic politics with respect to the upcoming U.S. presidential election  

15:08 – The Chinese strategic community’s understanding of why and how the current state of relations developed, and why China changed its trajectory  

23:12 – The Chinese strategic community’s perspectives on American policy: Do they see a difference between the parties?

27:02 – Da Wei’s concept of “Sullivanism” 

33:41 – The question of mutual misunderstanding 

38:37 – The role and influence of China’s think tanks in the policymaking process

43:29 – The idea of cognitive empathy — aka strageic empathy, or intellectual empathy — and how it could aid mutual understanding and the policymaking process

52:30 – The Chinese perspective on Russia and the war in Ukraine 

57:37 – The Chinese perspective on China’s other international relations and the global context of the U.S.-China relationship 

1:04:19 – The issue of Taiwan and the question of the “status quo” 

1:13:52 – The importance of building people-to-people ties 

1:16:51 – Da Wei's personal anecdote about an experience that influenced his understanding the U.S.-China relationship


Da Wei:  Lust for Life by Irving Stone — a biography of Vincent van Gogh; Pablo Casals’s recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites; the films Cinema Paradiso (1988) and Forrest Gump (1994).  

Kaiser: The Sopranos (1999-2007) TV series and The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco, written by Allen Rucker with recipes by Michele Scicolone. 

Sinica Podcast
A weekly discussion of current affairs in China that looks at books, ideas, new research, intellectual currents, and cultural trends that help us better understand what’s happening in China’s politics, foreign relations, economics, and society. Join each week for in-depth conversations that shed more light and bring less heat to the way we think and talk about China.