Newswise — Kyle A. Jaros is an associate professor of global affairs in the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and a faculty fellow at the Keough School’s Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. Jaros researches Chinese politics and political economy, urban and regional governance and U.S.-China relations. 

Jaros said the following in response to the recent trend among states that are pursuing and supporting bills to prevent Chinese citizens and companies from purchasing land:

“The intense politicization of state- and local-level ties with China during the past few years marks a major departure from past trends. State and local relations have moved from the background of U.S.-China relations to the foreground, becoming a driver of broader U.S.-China dynamics in their own right. Whereas a few years ago both sides regarded state- and city-level interactions as a stabilizing element in the larger relationship, this domain has now become a lightning rod.”

In pursuing restrictions against economic, educational and scientific engagement with China, American states and cities face a difficult balancing act, Jaros continued. On the one hand, Chinese official actors make use of state and local engagement channels to advance their political and security goals. Five years ago, many U.S. states and cities were not sufficiently aware of risks such as economic espionage, technology transfer, large-scale land purchases and targeted harassment of overseas Chinese citizens. 

“However, in today's heated political atmosphere, many states and communities risk overreacting to what they perceive as an omnipresent menace of CCP influence. While targeted measures to address known security risks are sensible, adopting blanket restrictions on commercial, educational, and/or scientific interaction with Chinese businesses and citizens will come with huge collateral costs: further inflaming anti-Chinese and anti-Asian xenophobia, harming the economic development of states and localities, undermining the vitality of the U.S. higher education sector and accelerating the dangerous downward spiral in national-level relations.”