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August 20, 2004

2004 Policymakers Seminar Series and Trip Concludes

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation’s annual seminar series (May 7 – July 23) and accompanying trip to China (August 9-17) for U.S. Congressional staff members came to a successful conclusion at the end of August. The program is designed to give a select number of congressional staff, with limited knowledge of China, an opportunity to enhance their understanding of the country and the complexity of U.S.-China relations.

Nine of the 12 seminar participants continued on the educational trip to China arranged and hosted by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA). A series of discussions were held in Beijing, Urumqi, and Shanghai with China’s government officials, lawmakers, academics, U.S. government officials and ex-patriot corporate executives. In Beijing, meetings were held with representatives of The United States Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Health, CPIFA, and The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In Urumqi, the delegation met the governor of Xinjiang Province in a televised discussion. In Shanghai, the group met with representatives of the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

During each visit, our hosts briefed our delegation on the main function and components of their institution. This introduction was followed by an exchange of views, initiated by questions posed by members of the group. Staffers most frequently inquired about US-China relations and Taiwan, implementation of “rule of law”, intellectual property rights, environmental and health issues and the development gap between urban and rural China.

The response from both seminar and trip participants has been particularly positive this year. Most complemented the informative and interesting presentations made during the seminars that gave them a strong foundation for understanding China. Trip participants, most of who had never been to Asia, left with a greater appreciation of China’s peoples, traditions and culture.

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