University Engagement with China: An MIT Approach

November 16, 2022

To the members of the MIT community,

Earlier this fall, Associate Provost Richard Lester and Chair of the Faculty Lily Tsai released a draft report of the MIT China Strategy Group and invited your feedback. The comments they received informed the final report we share today.

For nearly 150 years – since the first Chinese student set foot on our campus – MIT has benefited from an intellectual exchange of students, scholars and ideas with China. Our institution, and our nation, are stronger for it. But increasing tensions between the United States and China require a careful, thoughtful approach to future relations. Meaningful interaction with China has never been more vital; it has also never been more complex. We must reaffirm MIT’s commitment to interaction, but with an awareness of the inherent risks.

Over the last year, Richard and Lily have led a group of experts with the charge of advising MIT’s leadership on this critical issue. It was important that MIT develop a strategy that is balanced, that upholds our core values and that benefits from dialogue with our community. With immense gratitude to Richard, Lily and the entire working group, we share their report, which fulfills that charge and, we believe, positions MIT to serve as a model for university engagement with China.

Richard and Professor Yasheng Huang will lead a team tasked with identifying resources, communicating new policies and taking other steps to implement the group’s recommendations. You can reach the China Report Implementation Team by writing to


L. Rafael Reif, President

Cynthia Barnhart, Provost