Asian American Scholar Forum & Allies Succeed in Preventing the Relaunch of the ‘China Initiative’ through House Appropriations Bill


Media Contact: Melissa Stek,

Washington, DC—In a victory for the Asian American scholar community, AASF and allies have succeeded in preventing the relaunch of the ‘China Initiative.’ The explanatory statement released on March 3 for the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act, 2024, which previously included language that would reinstate the controversial ‘China Initiative,’ was revised with reinstatement language removed. Yesterday, the House passed the House spending bill without this language, after great effort from organizations and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) leaders. The Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF), and partnering organizations previously led nearly 50 organizations in opposing the reinstatement, detailing the “chilling effect” a return of the Initiative would have on Asian Americans scholars. Removing the ‘China Initiative’ reinstatement language demonstrates AASF’s ongoing and actionable commitment to preventing further harm caused by future iterations. 

“It is a win for Asian American scholars, especially, to see the removal of the ‘China Initiative’ language,” said Gisela Perez Kusakawa, AASF Executive Director. “This victory demonstrates the power of collective action and the importance of standing up against discriminatory policies. We are grateful for the efforts of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and commend lawmakers, especially Rep. Chu, Rep. Meng, and Senator Hirono, for being fearless and unwavering in their criticism of ‘China Initiative’ reinstatement language and for listening to our concerns and taking decisive action. We thank all of the community members and nonprofits that worked together in solidarity to make sure this language was removed.” 

“I am pleased to see that the language no longer includes the China Initiative provisions,” said Dr. Gang Chen, an AASF Board Member, and MIT Professor who was unfairly targeted by the ‘China Initiative.’ “This decision recognizes the harm caused by the ‘China Initiative’s’ broad and indiscriminate approach. While our work continues and there is still more to be done, removing this controversial language allows those harmed by the ‘China Initiative’ and their families a chance to recover from the trauma.”

“We are glad that the language of reinstating the harmful China Initiative has been removed.

We witnessed the chilling effects caused by the China Initiative on scientists and researchers in Asian American communities,” said Dr. Kai Li, AASF Founding Vice President. “Our report, Caught in the Crossfire: Fears of Chinese-American Scientists, published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), detailed the fear and concern the scientists of Chinese descent experienced, which contributed to a loss of talent and ultimately hampering US leadership in science and technology and national security.” 

“The removal of the ‘China Initiative’ reinstatement language keeps us moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Yasheng Huang, AASF Founding President. “AASF will continue to ensure Asian American scholars are protected and free to live, work, and contribute without bias and discrimination.” 

“There is no need to go backward,” added Kusakawa. “AASF celebrates this win with the understanding that there is still work to be done, and we remain committed to ensuring no iteration of the ‘China initiative’ is enacted again.”


Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.