More than forty years after the normalization of relations between the United States and China, the relationship faces new and fundamental challenges with global implications. There is no ready template for a relationship between two great powers that are deeply interdependent, yet increasingly see one another as rivals and possibly adversaries. The need for original thinking, and new voices, is urgent.

At this critical juncture, the Penn Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations has convened a diverse group of twenty leading, mostly “next generation” China scholars and analysts (“Project Fellows”), advised by several eminent senior academics and practitioners (“Senior Advisors”), to offer assessments and develop actionable recommendations on U.S. policies toward China. The Project focuses on six key issue areas: National Security; Trade and Competitiveness; Technology; Human Rights, Law, and Democracy; Climate and Environment; and Research, Education, and Academic Freedom.

The Project launched with a series of virtual talks in May 2020 by senior advisers, followed by an opening plenary conference in June 2020, where Project Fellows presented initial drafts of their policy papers. These policy papers were first posted on the Project website in Fall 2020; updated versions were posted in Spring 2021. Project Fellows also have presented their recommendations in summary form and on Project webinars. In June 2022, a dozen Project Fellows spoke at a “China Bootcamp” for congressional staff, co-organized with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and held at the Penn-Biden Center in Washington, DC. The Project held its second plenary conference on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in January 2023.

This Project is organized by Penn’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and is supported by generous grants from the Penn’s China Research and Engagement Fund and the Henry Luce Foundation.