The United States-China Policy Foundation (USCPF) recently hosted three successful events.
In January the USCPF and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations cohosted a farewell reception for China’s ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Li Daoyu.
Arthur Hummel, a member of the Foundation’s Executive Board and former U.S. ambassador to China, introduced Ambassador Li. After delivering his remarks, Ambassador Li spent the balance of the evening greeting his guests and receiving their best wishes for his future.
In the month of April the Foundation held two roundtable lectures on timely topics in U.S.-China relations. Congressional staff, federal agency personnel and China scholars gathered on April 7th to hear a discussion of "The National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Aftermath," led by Foundation Cochair Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Dr. Lyman Miller, and Dr. Thomas Robinson.
Freeman began by briefing the group on new initiatives issued at the NPC designed to stimulate the economy. These include mortgage lending, housing construction and reform of the insurance market.
Miller discussed the significance of changes in leadership positions and the consolidation of ministries and bureaus from more than 40 to 29. He noted that the recent financial crisis has lent a sense of urgency to these reforms.
Robinson analyzed U.S.-China relations in a short-term, medium-term, and long-term framework. Presenting a more cautious view, he stated that China’s greater sensitivity to changes in its own foreign policy might hamper some of the goals set by the new leadership at the NPC.
On April 23rd, the Foundation held a discussion of the "Role of Dissidents in U.S.-China Relations."
Kerry Dumbaugh of the Congressional Research Service and two independent writers and scholars, Kyna Rubin and Dr. Anne Thurston, gave excellent analyses of the issue.
Dumbaugh addressed the role of Congress, concluding that for the remainder of the year the issue would not play a major role in U.S.-China relations. This change is a result of recent improvements in bilateral relations.
Rubin then presented the findings of her research on the Chinese democracy movement in the U.S. and the attitudes of Chinese dissidents. Many of the well-known dissidents that she interviewed have expressed strong criticism of themselves for failing to provide leadership and being too focused on gaining control of the movement. These comments gave the audience a new outlook on the democracy movement.
Thurston ended the session by talking about public opinion in China today. She gave first-hand reports of conversations with Chinese people, the majority of whom continue to ask her why Americans spend so much time on a group of non-representative dissidents when China has so many other problems. Such sentiments were useful because they are not often heard in the U.S.
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