Xiaosong Yu’s research interests focus on contemporary society in mainland China, with an emphasis on politics, democracy, and education, as well as on the international politics and economy between China and other major countries. Yu assists Professor Karrie Koesel’s book-length research project on political education in mainland China, scrutinizing and analyzing the politics section of Gaokao, the National College Entrance Examination in mainland China, from the past seventy years. Yu’s current work involves collecting and reading the original text in Chinese of the exam questions, standard answers, and answering guides of Gaokao, noting and marking language and tones that are of potential interest to in-depth analysis, inferring and interpreting China’s national attitude toward domestic as well as international issues over decades, and tracking the mention of politically sensitive topics and events. Currently, Yu’s work focuses on cleaning up and organizing the existing data for Gaokao in preparation for the future stages of the project, which entail extensive, comprehensive, and comparative literary and content analysis, with the ultimate goals of extracting, understanding, and articulating how and to what extent the highly standardized education system in mainland China has been, at various times, and still is influencing the myriad mindsets of the country’s people, in particular the newer generations, toward ideological patriotism and loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.
In addition to research with Professor Koesel, Yu is and has been involved in a number of experiences exploring his research interests in contemporary Chinese society and international relations. Currently, Yu works as a non-residential research intern for the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, with an emphasis on East Asian and Trans-Pacific politics. In the summer of 2019, Yu observed and participated in the elementary-level education in rural China with full immersion through the Dream Corps Summer Volunteer Program. Yu also conducted research with Professor Eileen Hunt Botting on the social aspect of bioengineering, in which Yu investigated how the legal, educational, and political atmospheres in mainland China had influenced the Chinese researcher He Jiankui and shaped his controversial creation of the world’s first genetically modified human lives.