Renowned scholar on China, Ezra Vogel, dies at 90

  • China
  • Monday, 21 Dec 2020

Ezra Vogel was a major supporter of the effort to inject greater sanity and balance into US thinking about China. - ST FILE

WASHINGTON (Xinhua): Professor Emeritus Ezra Vogel of Harvard University, a renowned scholar on China, died at the age of 90 on Sunday (Dec 20), according to the Fairbank Centre for Chinese Studies at Harvard.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our former director Ezra Vogel (1930-2020)," said the centre on Twitter.

"He was a true champion of our centre, an erudite scholar, and a wonderful friend. He will be truly missed."

The passing of Prof Vogel is "a huge blow to the field, especially at this critical time, because Ezra was a major supporter of the effort to inject greater sanity and balance into US thinking about China", tweeted Dr Michael Swaine, director of the East Asia Programme at Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

In an online event this October, Prof Vogel suggested that the United States have high-level talks, intellectual exchanges and economic cooperation with China.

"Competitors can talk as competitors, but it doesn't have to be (as) enemies. It can be competitors; it can be suspicious. But, it can be under some kind of control," he noted.

Prof Vogel once lived in southern China's Guangdong province for one year, and has visited China every year since the late 1980s.

He spent 10 years studying China's former leader Deng Xiaoping and wrote a book titled Deng Xiaoping And The Transformation Of China. Published in 2011, the over 900-page tome has provided a window for Westerners to gain a better understanding of modern China.

In an interview with China's official Xinhua news agency in November 2019, Prof Vogel acknowledged that the Sino-US relations were tense, but added that he believes both Chinese and US officials should work together to pursue their common interests.

"There is a real danger of serious frictions", and it is very important for all who care about good relations with China to do what they can to improve them, he said, stressing that a stable, constructive relationship is vital to the world's two largest economies and the rest of the world.

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