On July 14, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order to
cancel the Fulbright exchange programme with China and Hong Kong. This decision appears to stem from the Trump administration’s desire to appear tough on China in the midst of a presidential campaign. Whatever the motivation, the order causes damage to a flagship programme that underpins America’s soft power in the world.
The Fulbright Programme was created in the wake of the second world war, when president Harry Truman signed a bill introduced into Congress by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas.
The action that Trump has taken is particularly ironic, given that in 1945 Fulbright cited the Boxer indemnity scholarships as an illustration of how valuable it could be to offer support for students to study in the US. Indeed, the first Fulbright agreement with any nation was signed in Nanking on November 10, 1947.
Read the full piece in the South China Post.