Rachel Vandenbrink is a program officer for China in the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In this role she develops, coordinates, and implements research and dialogue projects related to China’s impact on peace and conflict dynamics around the world.

Before joining USIP in 2016, Vandenbrink worked as a news editor at Radio Free Asia and interned with International Crisis Group in Beijing and with the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School, with concentrations in security and Asian studies, and a bachelor’s degree in history with honors from the University of Chicago. She is proficient in Chinese and Japanese.

Publications By Rachel

China: The International Community is Failing Xinjiang’s Uyghurs

China: The International Community is Failing Xinjiang’s Uyghurs

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

By: Lauren Baillie; Rachel Vandenbrink

Documented evidence of large-scale human rights abuses in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region has painted a clear picture that Beijing is perpetrating mass atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim ethnic groups. But even in the face of transparent evidence, the strategies the international community and the United States typically deploy to prevent atrocities have failed to stop the problem. The United States and like-minded countries have an obligation to act to end the ongoing atrocities and to protect the Uyghur people. While many important steps have been taken, none have had a noticeable impact on Beijing. It’s time for the international community to take stock of the atrocity prevention toolkit, to consider why it has failed the Uyghurs, and to discuss how these failures can inform updates or adaptations to respond to the Xinjiang crisis.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights; Global Policy

Beijing Builds Global Support for Draconian Hong Kong Law

Beijing Builds Global Support for Draconian Hong Kong Law

Thursday, July 16, 2020

By: Jennifer Staats ; Rachel Vandenbrink

China’s new national security legislation went into effect in Hong Kong late on June 30, giving Beijing new tools to control public discourse in the city, eliminating freedom of speech, mandating digital surveillance, and granting China extraterritorial powers to enforce the new law. In response, the United States has revoked Hong Kong’ special economic status and joined other democracies in condemning the law. Yet, a number of other countries have voiced their support for the legislation. By building a coalition of support for the new national security law, Beijing is not only tightening its grip on Hong Kong, but also trying to delegitimize critiques of China’s own domestic policies or system of government and strengthen global opposition to democratic values and the notion of universal human rights.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Democracy & Governance

Beijing Legislation Reignites Hong Kong Protests

Beijing Legislation Reignites Hong Kong Protests

Thursday, May 28, 2020

By: Patricia M. Kim; Rachel Vandenbrink

In Hong Kong, protesters have once again taken to the streets to push back against China’s efforts to assert further control over the territory. After a year of intense demonstrations calling for greater autonomy from the mainland, Hong Kong is now facing proposed legislation from Beijing that would broadly curtail citizens’ rights and freedoms. USIP’s Patricia Kim and Rachel Vandenbrink examine the proposed legislation, how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the situation, and what the U.S. can do in response.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Coronavirus Crisis: U.S.-China Media War Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time

Coronavirus Crisis: U.S.-China Media War Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

By: Rachel Vandenbrink

China’s move to expel U.S. journalists from the country last week comes at a time of great need for accurate information about COVID-19. The move is part of a broader Chinese effort to control the global narrative about the pandemic and is especially dangerous right now—as cracking down on foreign media further undermines trust in China’s ability to respond to the pandemic with transparency.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Health; Global Policy

How the Coronavirus Impacts China and its Foreign Policy

How the Coronavirus Impacts China and its Foreign Policy

Thursday, February 13, 2020

By: Jacob Stokes ; Rachel Vandenbrink; Paul Kyumin Lee

China hit a grim landmark earlier this week when the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed 1,000 with over 40,000 recorded cases of infection—and those numbers are rising every day. The outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has rattled global markets and catalyzed concern over a widespread epidemic beyond China’s borders. The suffering has been immense, and people in China and those with family or friends there are frightened about what’s next. Meanwhile, there are shortages of masks and supplies and hospitals are overrun, with rising anxiety due to travel restrictions and quarantine policies.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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