U.S.–China tech competition: Has democracy met its match?

China and US flags superimposed over cracked earth

William and Carol Stevenson Conference

U.S.–China tech competition: Has democracy met its match?

Friday, April 21, 2023
9:00AM - 12:30PM (EDT)
Event Details

The Miller Center’s 2023 William and Carol Stevenson Conference examines U.S.–China relations and the role technology plays in this dynamic relationship. Do our technology regulations and security efforts limit our ability to protect our democracy?

Panels feature scholars and practitioners with experience in government, the private sector, journalism, and academia, allowing for wide-ranging dialogue on complex issues. 

The William and Carol Stevenson Conference is a biennial conference that focuses on issues of national and international importance.

The Miller Center is deeply grateful to the Stevenson family for its support of our work.

Audience members are encouraged to participate in these open, seminar-style discussions.


9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. EDT

Apps, platforms, and surveillance 

How might apps and other technology platforms play a role in Chinese government data-gathering efforts? What are potential policy responses to the increasingly complex data flows between the United States and China? This panel addresses the long-term stability of U.S. technology infrastructure and related concerns for U.S. national security. 

Josh Chin, Kara Frederick, Shanthi Kalathil, Aynne Kokas (moderator)


10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m. EDT

China’s global business and financial infrastructure 

What role do China’s global investments and financial technologies play in the U.S.–China technology competition? How is the financial sector shaping U.S–China tech competition? How might policymakers respond to this challenging landscape while also supporting growth?

Anna Ashton, Martin Chorzempa, Sebastian Mallaby, Syaru Shirley Lin (moderator)


11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT

Climate, tech infrastructure, and political influence

As countries around the world pursue decarbonization and other goals to protect the environment, the U.S. and China might be cooperative or competitive players. What effects are new climate technologies having on global political systems?

Angel Hsu, Joanna Lewis, Scott Moore, Michael Lenox (moderator)

Friday, April 21, 2023
9:00AM - 12:30PM (EDT)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA
Anna Ashton headshot

Anna Ashton

Anna Ashton is director, China corporate affairs and U.S.–China, at the Eurasia Group. She examines the business implications of policy developments in China and of U.S. policy toward China, with significant expertise in China-related trade, economic analysis, and advocacy. Ashton previously served as a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute and as vice president of government affairs for the U.S.–China Business Council. Ashton began her career as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense and later worked for her home state of Arkansas, recruiting Asian foreign direct investment. Anna holds a doctor of law degree from Georgetown University, a master's degree in East Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a bachelor's degree in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College. She serves on the Congressional Circle for the U.S.–Asia Institute and is a member of the National Committee on U.S.–China Relations, the Trade Policy Forum, and Women in International Trade.

Josh Chin headshot

Josh Chin

Josh Chin is deputy China bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and co-author of Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control (St. Martin's Press), named a best book of 2022 by New Statesmen, Prospect Magazine, KQED, and others. He previously covered politics and tech as a reporter in China. Chin led an investigative team that won the Gerald Loeb Award for international reporting in 2018 for a series exposing the Chinese government’s pioneering experiments with digital surveillance. He was among the first in a group of foreign reporters to be expelled from China in early 2020 and was named a national fellow at New America the same year. He was a recipient of the Dan Bolles Medal in 2021, awarded to investigative journalists who exhibit courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in religion from Bowdoin College. Chin is currently based in Seoul.

Martin Chorzempa headshot

Martin Chorzempa

Martin Chorzempa is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. His research addresses financial technology, digital currency, and security issues related to technology. He is author of The Cashless Revolution: China's Reinvention of Money (2022), which the Financial Times named one of the best economics books of 2022. He is regularly quoted by media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, MIT Technology Review, and Foreign Affairs. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar in Germany and a Luce Scholar at Peking University’s China Center for Economic Research. He also worked for the China Finance 40 Forum in Beijing, a leading independent think tank. Chorzempa holds a master's degree of public administration in international development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.S. in business, finance, and international business from Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Kara Frederick headshot

Kara Frederick

Kara Frederick is director of the Tech Policy Center at The Heritage Foundation. Her research focuses on “Big Tech” and emerging technology policy. She was previously a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to these roles, Frederick helped create and lead Facebook’s global security counterterrorism analysis program and served as team lead for Facebook headquarters’ regional intelligence team in Menlo Park, California. Before Facebook, she was a senior intelligence analyst for a U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command and spent six years as a counterterrorism analyst at the Department of Defense. She is a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business and has been interviewed and published in a wide variety of outlets. Frederick is currently a fellow with the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. She received her M.A. in war studies from King’s College London and her B.A. in foreign affairs and history from the University of Virginia.

Angel Hsu headshot

Angel Hsu

Angel Hsu is an assistant professor of public policy and the environment, ecology, and energy program at the University of North Carolina. She is also founder and director of the Data-Driven EnviroLab, an interdisciplinary research group. Hsu’s work explores the use of data-driven approaches to understand environmental sustainability, focusing particularly on China and the global South. She has provided expert testimony to the U.S.–China Economic Security and Review Commission and is a member of the National Committee on U.S.–China Relations, where she is a Public Intellectual Program fellow. In addition to publishing in academic journals, Hsu is committed to public outreach. She was a TED 2018 Age of Amazement speaker and was recognized as an inaugural Grist 50 leader. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental policy from Yale University, an M.Phil. in environmental policy from the University of Cambridge, and a B.S. in biology and B.A. in political science from Wake Forest University.

Shanthi Kalathil headshot

Shanthi Kalathil

Shanthi Kalathil is founder and principal at MDO Advisors, with expertise on national security, democratic resilience, and strategic competition in the information age. Under President Biden, Kalathil served as deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for democracy and human rights at the National Security Council. She was previously the senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy and held positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A former Hong Kong-based reporter for the Asian Wall Street Journal, Kalathil has authored and edited numerous policy and scholarly publications on the role of information and technology in international affairs. She serves on the boards of Radio Free Asia and the National Democratic Institute and holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Joanna Lewis headshot

Joanna Lewis

Joanna Lewis is the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Energy and Environment and director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She has two decades of experience working on international climate and clean energy policy with a focus on China. Lewis is also a faculty affiliate in the China Energy Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is the author of the award-winning book Green Innovation in China and was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. Lewis has worked for several governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the Asia Society, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She holds a master’s and Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy from Duke University.

Sebastian Mallaby headshot

Sebastian Mallaby

Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mallaby contributes to a variety of publications, including Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times. He is the author of five books, most recently The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future (2022). Mallaby’s interests cover a wide variety of domestic and international issues, including central banks, financial markets, the implications of the rise of newly emerging powers, and the intersection of economics and international relations. Mallaby worked for eight years as a columnist and editorial board member at the Washington Post and spent thirteen years with the Economist. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: once for editorials on Darfur and once for a series on economic inequality. Mallaby was educated at Oxford University, graduating with a first class degree in modern history.

Scott Moore headshot

Scott Moore

Scott Moore, director of China programs and strategic initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, is a political scientist, university administrator, and former policymaker whose career focuses on China, sustainability, and emerging technology. His latest book, China’s Next Act: How Sustainability and Technology are Reshaping China’s Rise and the World’s Future (2022), explores how shared ecological and technological challenges force us to re-envision China’s rise and its role in the world. Moore previously held positions at the World Bank Group and the U.S. Department of State. Before entering public service, Dr. Moore was a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. His research and commentary on environmental and international affairs have appeared in a range of leading scholarly journals and media outlets, including Nature, The China Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, and the New York Times. Moore holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Oxford University and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Bill Antholis headshot

William Antholis (introduction)

William J. Antholis has served as director and CEO of UVA's Miller Center of Public Affairs since January 2015. In that time, the Miller Center has strengthened its position as the leading nonpartisan research institution on the American presidency and worked with scholars across the University of Virginia to deliver vital research to policymakers and the public. Before coming to the Miller Center, Antholis served as managing director at the Brookings Institution from 2004 to 2014, working directly with Brookings's president and vice presidents. Antholis is the author of Inside Out India and China: Local Politics Go Global (2013) and co-author (with Strobe Talbott) of Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming (2010). He has published articles, book chapters, and opinion pieces on U.S. politics, U.S. foreign policy, international organizations, the G8, climate change, and trade.

Aynne Kokas headshot

Aynne Kokas (moderator)

Aynne Kokas is the C. K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center, director of the University of Virginia's East Asia Center, and an associate professor of media studies at UVA. A Fulbright scholar educated at the University of Michigan, with a Ph.D. from UCLA, Kokas is a fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations. She is the author of Hollywood Made in China, a study of the partnerships between Chinese and American producers to produce feature films for global audiences. Her latest book, Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty, examines how weak U.S. data security benefits U.S. firms while expanding the Chinese government's digital control. Her research has been supported by the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, and Social Science Research Council.

Michael Lenox headshot

Michael Lenox (moderator)

Michael Lenox is the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, also serving as its senior associate dean and chief strategy officer since 2016. He helped found and served as the inaugural president of the multiple-university Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability. His primary expertise is in technology strategy and policy, with a long-standing interest in how business strategy and public policy relate to the natural environment. His books include Can Business Save the Earth? (2018) and The Decarbonization Imperative (2021), both from Stanford University Press. He received his Ph.D. in technology management and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. and M.S. in systems engineering from the University of Virginia.

Syaru Shirley Lin headshot

Syaru Shirley Lin (moderator)

Syaru Shirley Lin, research professor at the Miller Center and a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, teaches at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tsinghua University in Beijing, and National Chengchi University in Taipei. Lin is the founder and chair of the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation (CAPRI) and a steering committee member of the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience under the World Economic Forum. Her book, Taiwan’s China Dilemma, analyzes the impact of the evolution of Taiwanese national identity on cross-Strait economic policy. Lin is currently writing a book on the challenges facing high-income societies in Asia Pacific, including inequality, demographic decline, inadequate policy and technological innovation, and threats to public health and environmental sustainability. Her commentaries frequently appear in both English and Chinese media. Previously, she was a partner at Goldman Sachs, where she led the firm’s private equity and venture capital efforts in Asia.