The National Committee on US China Relations (NCUSCR) held its 6th CHINA Town Hall, a national day of programming on China, with 60 venues across the United States on Monday, Oct. 29. Ambassador Gary Locke talked to each venue via a live webcast from Beijing, China.
I attended the venue at DePaul University in Chicago, co-hosted by the Chinese Studies Program at DePaul. The featured local speaker was Amy Celico, Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group. Celico is former Director for China Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and was scheduled to give a talk on the challenges and opportunities in America’s economic relationship with China. Hurricane Sandy prevented her from flying out of Washington D.C., and Phillip Stalley, Assistant Professor of the Political Science Department at DePaul University and a member of NCUSCR, gave a talk on China’s environmental challenges instead. Stalley did a wonderful job in recognizing China’s efforts and investments in green energy and pointing out the challenges China faces, due to its “size,” “speed of development,” and “scarcity of resources.”
Steve Orlins, President of NCUSCR, monitored the webcast. He reiterated that “the U.S.-China relations is the defining relationship of the 21st century,” a statement he emphasized at last year’s CHINA Town Hall.
Ambassador Locke addressed a wide range of issues related to the U.S.-China relations, pointing out the differences and opportunities of cooperation between the two countries.
“We have a shared interest in working together not only for the good of our own people, but the people of the entire Pacific Region, and indeed all the people in the world,” Locke said.
He also emphasized that “the conflicts between an arising power and an establishing power were not inevitable and the U.S. and China must forge our relations based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.”
When addressing the job situation in the U.S., Locke stated that exports from the U.S. to China had increased six folds from 2000, supporting 750,000 jobs in the U.S., while imports from China increased four folds during the same period.
“I found Ambassador Locke’s talk very informative,” Cynthia Martin, a Chicagoan working in public relations, commented.
Stalley said: “Ambassador Locke covered many important issues tonight. He talked about areas where the U.S. and China can cooperate that many people may not know, such as military cooperation, cooperation on climate changes, and joint testing on bio fuels.”
Stalley commented that controversial issues between the U.S. and China usually got a lot of headlines, but in reality, there were many areas of cooperation between the two countries.
The Chicago venue was well attended, and the webcast was open to the public. Other venues included Yale University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. The content of last year’s CHINA Town Hall is available at http://www.ncuscr.org/cth, including the entire webcast with Dr. Zbingiew Brzezinski and the content of talks given by “China hands” at all the venues (about 50). I believe this year’s CHINA Town Hall will be posted on its website as well.
CHINA Town Hall, organized by NCUSCR, was established to offer “an opportunity to learn about and reflect on critical areas in the U.S.-China relationship with the assistance of leading China experts.”
“Tonight’s event is wonderful,” said Li Jin, Assistant Professor and Director of Chinese Studies Program at DePaul University. “There is a trend of increased interest in China among our students. We’d love to bring the event back next year,” she continued.
Indeed, we need more venues like this to forge understanding and cooperation between the two countries. Nice job.
Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit www.mulberrychildmovie.com for more information.