This chapter highlights Chinese historical memories of Central Asia and their implications for the Chinese understanding of Central Asia today. Two key historical memories, the Silk Road and political banishment, have made lasting impressions on the Chinese imageries of Central Asia. The long-term negative undertones and the proximity to the memories of banishment add a cultural dynamic to the unpopular and disreputable reality of academic Central Asian studies in China. As the formal hierarchy in Chinese foreign policy–making diminished, Chinese academics who have personal access to advise foreign-policy decision-makers in China have had their voices heard and views taken seriously. Over time, the forum has been successful in building strong relationships with Central Asian and Russian diplomats. China's policy in Central Asia has been built on an extremely thin intellectual foundation, by a handful of Chinese scholars who are at the top of the field.