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

Why the New U.S.-U.K.-Australia Partnership Is So Significant

Why the New U.S.-U.K.-Australia Partnership Is So Significant

Friday, September 17, 2021

By:Brian Harding;Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;Mirna Galic;Henry Tugendhat;Rachel Vandenbrink

The United States and the United Kingdom have made the rare decision to share nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia in a move seen aimed at China. In a joint statement on September 15, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the formation of a trilateral partnership — AUKUS — that, among other things, seeks to “strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defense interests.” USIP’s Brian Harding, Carla Freeman, Mirna Galic, Henry Tugendhat and Rachel Vandenbrink discuss the significance of the decision and what to expect next.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Tribunal Gives Voice to China’s Uyghurs Amid International Gridlock

Tribunal Gives Voice to China’s Uyghurs Amid International Gridlock

Thursday, June 10, 2021

By:Lauren Baillie;Rachel Vandenbrink

Over the past week, members of China’s ethnic Uyghur minority have provided moving testimony about their persecution to the Uyghur Tribunal, an unofficial, civil society-led investigation into possible genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Beijing. Although the “people’s tribunal” is not backed by any government and its findings will not be binding on any country, the hearings play an important role in providing recognition to victims’ suffering and in strengthening the legal argument for a U.N. Commission of Inquiry or other international accountability mechanisms. As such, the tribunal serves as an important tool for civil society to move atrocity prevention efforts forward when U.N. or international court action is blocked.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights

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, Ph.D.;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

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