CCIF funding for research on racial profiling, Chinese diasporic musicians

Qiang Zha (Education) and Yao Cui (Music) are latest recipients of support from the Canada-China Initiatives Fund.

Professor Zha received funding for his collaborative project that will explore if there is racial profiling among Canadian university professors of Chinese descent and the possible consequences for the Canadian research community and Canada-China research collaboration. Zha is collaborating with University of Arizona scholars Jenny Lee and Xiaojie Li.

The rivalry between the United States and China has led to the notion of linking research to national security; caught in the Canada-China-US trilateral relations, Canada has followed the US and launched similar strategies—in an attempt to address security concerns and combat possible intellectual espionage from China. The current process could spill over and sanction racial profiling Canadian researchers of Chinese descent as foreign agents, and lead to potential negative and far-reaching consequences in research and innovation communities, e.g., producing a Sinophobia and anti-intellectual climate whereby researchers could self-censor and distance themselves from many cutting-edge fields to avoid jumping through cumbersome bureaucratic hoops. To date, there is no systemic study that has taken up the issues of racial profiling among Canadian university professors of Chinese descent. Therefore, it is now the time to investigate such issues in alignment with the notions of threat to academic freedom and potential impact on Canada’s research and innovation future.

Specifically, this proposed study will investigate evidence with respect to: 1) overall value of Chinese Canadian professors in the universities, their role in supporting collaboration with China, and their level of research engagement with Chinese scholars and students, 2) impact of limiting collaboration with China on Canadian research community, 3) other impact and cost of racial profiling among Canadian university professor of Chinese descent, and 4) if there is any difference between Canada and the United States—given the traditional distinctions between melting pot and mosaic.

The CCIF also provided funding for Yao Cui’s doctoral fieldwork in Ottawa. Her research focuses on how Chinese diasporic musicians negotiate internal musical and cultural spaces within their instrumental ensembles/orchestras, and how they navigate external musical and cultural spaces in the diverse communities in which they perform.

Chinese music ensembles/orchestras have been active in Toronto since 1993, but this

activity has not been documented. As a genre, Chinese orchestra in Toronto is largely unrepresented in musical scholarship. This research will fill this important gap, says Ms Cui, tracing the roots and development of Chinese orchestras in Toronto, in order to offer a deeper understanding of how musicians, audiences and communities in the Toronto-Chinese diaspora construct their identity and shape their social value through performances of Chinese orchestral music, and will examine how these Chinese orchestras both negotiate and contribute to the complex cultural dynamics of Toronto, as ethnocultural ensembles.

The next deadline for applications to the CCIF is Thursday, 21 July 2022. For more information: