China at a Turning Point: Ambassador Stapleton Roy ('56) - April 14, 2010

On April 14, Ambassador Roy spoke about China's future growth.

The Media and China: Roundtable Discussion, April 13, 2010.

A panel discussion with western journalists and U.S. government officials who have lived and worked in China. Issues to be discussed include internet and media freedom in China, the Google controversy, and western journalistic influences on the Chinese local media. Panelists include: Rebecca MacKinnon, Gary J. Bass, and Darragh Paradiso with DirectorTom Christensen moderating.

US-China Relations: DCM & Minister Xie Feng of the Embassy of China, March 24, 2010

Xie Feng, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of China, spoke on U.S.-China relations, which he said must steer towards greater coordination and higher levels of diplomatic engagement to stabilize the states’ relationship.

In his lecture, Minister Xie outlined five steps towards a more substantial and productive U.S.-China bilateral relation. He stated the first goal as the resolution of differences between the U.S. and China on the One China policy, which draws U.S. criticism for China’s territorial claims to states like Taiwan. “We hope the U.S. side can put themselves in our shoes, and appreciate, respect, and support the common restoration of our Chinese people and adhere to the One China policy,” he said. “Then we can remove this major obstacle to the healthy and stable development of U.S.-China relations.”

Minister Xie also stressed the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation by the enhancement of understanding and trust between the two countries. He also pressed for more strategic and economic dialogue. Similarly, his third concern pointed to the proper management of economic and trade bilateral relations. “It is unavoidable to see some frictions and disputes, but my approach is to seek settlement in negotiations,” he said. “When the two sides are in the same boat, they should join hands, and row the boat in the same direction.”

Minister Xie further outlined the dangers of antagonistic measures like protectionism and defensive policies in the current economic climate. “To politicize economic problems is unhelpful especially at this time,” he said.

Drawing attention to a broader palette of issues, Minister Xie also stressed the expansion of cooperation into more areas and the exploration of new growth paths for U.S.-China relations. “China and the United States should also explore opportunities for cooperation together in counterterrorism, law enforcement, and health,” he said. “We should maintain and enhance coordination on the nuclear issue.”

To cap the list of diplomatic opportunities, Minister Xie advocated the exchange of people and ideas in order to expand awareness for U.S.-China relations between the two nations. He cited the popularity of U.S. colleges among Chinese students and supported a new initiative by President Obama to send 100,000 students to the country in the next four years.

“The final aspects of the advancement of U.S.-China relations depends on the popular support of both peoples,” he said. “More than thirty years ago it was achieved by Chinese and American ping-pong table tennis teams that broke the ice in U.S.-China relations.”

In more general terms, however, Minister Xie outlined a few defining features of Chinese foreign policy. “We will always stay on the road to peaceful development,” the Minister remarked. “We hope to promote world peace and development through our own development. It means that China will never seek hegemony or expansion.”

He also mentioned Chinese efforts to opening up strategy for mutual benefits, and continued adherence to the “rules of the game” in economic trade and international organization.

After his lecture, Minister Xie fielded questions from the audience. A community member, citing current tensions between Google and the Chinese government on the development of a free Internet in China, asked what Google’s leaving the country meant for future corporate interests in China.

“I think it is a policy of the Chinese government to manage the Internet in accordance with Chinese law,” he replied. “I will say that Google in the year 2006 signed a written contract with China making very clear its commitments. Now we welcome Google to continue operating in China but if it’s made the decision to quit it is a decision made by itself.” He stressed that the incident was commercial in nature, and should not be politicized.

Another community member asked Minister Xie about the American trade deficit that has arisen from the disparity in valuations between the American dollar and the Chinese renminbi. In his response, Minister Xie urged American exporters to stimulate Chinese demand with more products.

“The best way to adjust a trade deficit between two countries is to encourage more exports from the United States to China rather than restricting China’s exports,” he said. “You know China is willing buy more from the United States – we are now the number one buyer of U.S. soy beans, but there is definitely a limit to China’s demand of soy beans.”