The Chicago Council on Global Affairs will honor Peking University Professor Zhang Weiying, a leading Chinese economist and advocate of free market reform in China, as its 2014 Dr. Scholl Foundation Visiting Fellow on U.S.-China Relations. Zhang worked closely with Deng Xiaoping in the early days of China’s economic reform, and his contributions have been instrumental to China’s rapid economic growth over the past 30 years.
Zhang, the Sinar Mas Chair Professor of Economics at Peking University’s National School of Development, will spend four weeks in Chicago. He will deliver the Council’s annual Scholl Foundation Lecture on the evening of January 27, and will meet with Chicago area business, government and academic leaders while visiting.
“Much of the conflict between China and U.S. is from a misunderstanding of each other,” said Zhang. “The Scholl Fellowship will provide me a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas about maintaining a better U.S.-China relation with American scholars, politicians and businesspeople.”
Chicago is already well connected to China, with 75,000 Chinese-Americans residents, 40 mainland Chinese-owned companies, nearly 7,000 businesses run by ethnic Chinese and 150 Chicago-area companies with locations in mainland China. During his time in Chicago, Zhang will engage with area business leaders and officials, while also spending time with college and high school students. “Zhang’s visit will do much to encourage increased dialogue between Chicago, the Midwest region and China,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Zhang’s career in economics spans three decades. In 1984, he graduated with a master’s degree from Northwest University (China), and in 1994 he received his PhD in economics from the University of Oxford. After cofounding Peking University’s China Center for Economic Research, Zhang worked at the school’s Guanghua School of Management as the executive associate dean from February 1999 to August 2006.
Throughout his academic career, Zhang has been acknowledged several times for his achievements. In 2000, he was awarded the “National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars” by the Natural Science Foundation of China, and two years later, “the 10 persons of the year in Chinese economy” by CCTV. In 2008, Zhang was selected as one of “the 30 persons of the 30-year economic reform of China” by the China Economic Reform Association, and in 2011, he was recognized for his contributions to the creation of the dual-track price system with the China Economic Theory Innovation Award.
Zhang is a frequent media commentator, and has appeared in a variety of notable newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The New York Times. In addition to writing for various academic journals, Zhang has authored, co-authored and edited 18 books, and his revised and translated version of The Logic of the Market is scheduled for release in the U.S. in January 2015.
The Dr. Scholl Foundation funded establishment of this fellowship in November 2012 to help build Chicago-China institutional ties, advance dialogue between Chicagoans and Chinese experts and enhance Chicago’s relevance and visibility with Chinese leaders. Last year, Yu Yongding, a distinguished Chinese economist who is consulted regularly on world capital markets and China’s Central Bank decisions, visited Chicago as the Council’s first Dr. Scholl Foundation Visiting Fellow on U.S.-China Relations.