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Policymakers 2003 Seminar and Trip to China


Between May and August 2003, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation successfully conducted its fifth Policymakers Seminar and Trip to China. The program seeks to provide a select number of congressional staff with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese society and the forces shaping Sino-American relations.

Every year, the bi-partisan group of staffers representing both the House and the Senate participates in a lecture series on various subjects presented by leading government officials and China scholars. The 2003 series included lectures by Carol Hamrin, Chinese Affairs Specialists, formerly of the U.S. Department of State; Paul Heer, Central Intelligence Agency; Ambassador Stapleton Roy, the former ambassador from the United States to the People's Republic of China; Bates Gill, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings Institution; David Lampton, Professor, SAIS; and Bill Johnson, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University. Presentations and discussion topics included China's political system, security and military affairs, foreign affairs, civil society and the future of bilateral relations.

After the conclusion of the seminar, eight of the 12 staffers participated in a week- long trip to China that included stops in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. During their visit, participants met with Chinese government officials, businessmen, lawyers, academics, and corporate executives. They also visited many historic sites in each city to experience Chinese culture and society firsthand. In Beijing for example, meetings were held with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, American Chamber of Commerce, and Ministry of Commerce. During each official meeting, the staffers were given a short briefing followed by question and answer time. The topics discussed included the Chinese economy, U.S.-China trade relations, intellectual property rights, and environmental degradation. In addition to their meetings with officials, the group also toured Beijing's numerous famous attractions, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Lamma Temple, and the Pearl Market.

The group then continued on to Xian, where it visited Xia He village to learn about its democratic elections. The delegation met with both the village party secretary and the elected leaders of the Village Committee. In their discussions, the staffers asked questions about the village election process, as well as the more general social changes that have been occurring over the past 20 years. Of course, the staffers also traveled to see the famed Terracotta Army of the first emperor of China. The delegation's final stop in Shanghai included visits to the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, the Shanghai Stock Exchange as well as faculty and students at Fudan University.

Participants of the program have responded very positively to their experiences. While most of them previously had little knowledge about China, they now have a greater understanding of the intricacies involved in U.S.-China relations and will make better-informed foreign policy decisions. The USCPF would like to thank all of the people who worked so hard to make this year's program a resounding success. The U.S.-China Policy Foundation also would like to express its deep appreciation to the Freeman Foundation for its continued support of this beneficial program.

 
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