Rice experts available to comment on US-China summit


Jeff Falk

Rice experts available to comment on US-China summit

HOUSTON – (June 5, 2013) – This weekend will bring the first bilateral summit between President Barack Obama and the newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting comes with new allegations of cyberespionage undertaken by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) against not only U.S. defense firms but also U.S. companies, many of which compete with state-owned enterprises in China.

Christopher Bronk, a fellow in information technology policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a former U.S. State Department diplomat who specializes in cybersecurity issues, and Steven Lewis, the Baker Institute’s C.V. Starr Transnational China Fellow, are available to comment on issues to be addressed at the summit and possible U.S. policy approaches.

Bronk said the U.S. government’s policy response requires nuance in addressing cyberespionage by the PLA and other Chinese groups. “(The U.S.) has tried shaming, and that has not worked,” Bronk said. “Economic sanctions are unlikely, as upsetting the status quo of Chinese exports for U.S. debt is disturbing to both sides. I am more apt to push for what we are already doing in academia, picking apart the mechanisms for state censorship in China and exposing the policing of thought and speech of the regime. While China’s economy is strong and robust, its society, particularly its intelligentsia, is restive regarding the state’s desire to curb political speech. This is the wedge, and the United States should do everything it can to enable the free flow of information in and out of China as long as the PLA continues to purloin the intellectual products of U.S. firms via cyberspace.”

Lewis said that although some have emphasized the importance of cybersecurity and hacking as the primary topic Obama and Xi will need to discuss, there are many other important issues requiring frank and open discussion between American and Chinese top leaders. “Some (issues) are potential flash points that may erupt at any point and cause direct conflict between the U.S. and China: the Korean situation and the East and South China Seas,” Lewis said. “Others are critical coordination issues that have enormous impact on the lives of many Chinese and many Americans: monetary and fiscal policies that affect growth in both Chinese and American economies. Or in other words, there is plenty of important work to be done that does not relate to cybersecurity and hacking.”

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Bronk and/or Lewis. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.


This expert alert can be found online at http://news-network.rice.edu/news.

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Related materials:

Bronk biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/cbronk.

Lewis biography: http://www.bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/slewis.

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.