Matt Sheehan on California’s role in U.S.-China relations


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Matt Sheehan, former China correspondent for the Huffington Post and current fellow at the MacroPolo think tank, discusses his new book, The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for Our Future. In this episode, Matt talks through a few select chapters of his book with Jeremy and Kaiser, such as the fracturing linkages between Silicon Valley and the Chinese tech industry, the story of Dalian Wanda entering the United States, and his outlook on the future of the U.S.-China relationship.

What to listen for on this week’s Sinica Podcast:

16:23: Matt describes the thought process within universities courting overseas Chinese students hurt by funding cuts and the recession: “There’s a sense that if we as a society, as an economy, as a government, are not willing to step up to the plate on a national or state level, then local actors are going to do whatever they need to do, or whatever they can to fill those holes…And I think the same thing happened in universities across the board. They knew that they weren’t going to be able to reverse the effects of the financial crisis or the long term defunding of our public education. As they looked around, the most promising source right there, was China.”

42:02: What is the toll being taken on tech ecosystems between the U.S. and China? Matt provides his take: “Right now, with the trade war and all the tensions, I see a lot of this as our attempt to ‘resolve’ the paradox — bring these things into balance, not through further integration, but by tearing apart many of those links at the ground level. Preventing integration in terms of people, sealing off money from going between them, and also looking to basically seal off ideas in one way or another.”


Jeremy: Jeremy’s two favorite Chinese films, both classics by Zhang Yimou: To Live and Keep Cool.

Matt: A call to action for more people to study and research the artificial intelligence relationship between the United States and China.

Kaiser: Europe: A History, by Norman Davies.

This podcast was edited and produced by Kaiser Kuo and Jason MacRonald.