Part of China's rise to world prominence relies on improving the quality and availability of higher education. Questions is, will governmental policy and responsiveness get in the way of China's push to offer better higher education to its citizens? China relies on Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan as destinations for some of its students and relies on international partners in other programs.
Greater intervention and control in Hong Kong by Chinese governmental authorities has been noticed by university scholars. Scholars who have been outspoken critics of China's security law are leaving for academic posts elsewhere. Those who are staying are learning to negotiate the ever-changing landscape of Chinese governmental policy and some have adopted more subtle ways of criticizing China. The concern is that academic and personal freedom are being compromised either directly by threat or reality of Chinese official intervention or by the self-imposed regulation that academics observe in order to stay out of trouble. Symbolic acts such as the University of Hong Kong's removal of the Tianamen Square memorial visibly reinforce increased political intervention.
Harvard University's study abroad program is moving from Beijing to Taiwan. The Director of the Harvard Beijing Academy, Jennifer Liu, attributed the move to difficulty in accessing classrooms and dorms while other Harvard officials said that the move would simply provide a different opportunity to its students. Logistical problems can usually be overcome if cooperating institutions are committed to partnership. The move to Taiwan not only exacerbates China's concern about Taiwan's independence but takes away a prestigious academic pairing. Taiwan's creation of alternatives to China's Confucius Institutes for Mandarin language development is likely to rile mainland China even further but it will also increase Taiwan's prominence as an educational player in Asia.
Concern over tracking of contact between scholars trained in, and some working (and naturalized U.S.A. citizens) for, U.S.A. institutions and academics in China may be undermining important international partnerships that have previously benefitted both China and the U.S.A. Whether of Chinese background or not, and as one non-Asian professor commented, "The atmosphere in the U.S. [is] making collaboration with China complex and somewhat risky, so many U.S.-based researchers now avoid it to avoid the hassle."