NCUSCR Interviews

By National Committee on U.S.-China Relations

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This series features brief discussions with leading China experts on a range of issues in the U.S.-China relationship, including domestic politics, foreign policy, economics, security, culture, the environment, and areas of global concern. For more interviews, videos, and links to events, visit our website: The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Episode Date
China's Science-Fiction Universe | Aynne Kokas, Jing Tsu, and Yilin Wang

In China, industry and political leaders are capitalizing on sci-fi’s unique ability to inspire the public and project a vision of the future that features China as a global innovation leader. Experts Aynne Kokas, Jing Tsu, and Yilin Wang explore how this genre can both reflect China’s present and shape its future.

May 12, 2021
Deborah Seligsohn on the Geopolitics of Climate

The United States and China have pledged to work together to fight climate change. But is cooperation enough to stop global temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees Celsius? Climate policy expert Deborah Seligsohn (Villanova University) explains how competition between the two countries can be leveraged as a positive force to deliver the best environmental outcomes. For more videos and podcasts, visit us at

Apr 23, 2021
James Millward on Recent Developments in Xinjiang: Implications for the United States

Policies adopted by the People's Republic of China in Xinjiang since 2017 have garnered worldwide attention, as new technology has dramatically intensified methods of control and implicated China’s international trade, which includes a variety of products from Xinjiang and employs the labor of Xinjiang people. The Chinese Communist Party's new ethnic policies thus have growing international repercussions. Dr. James Millward discusses recent developments in Xinjiang, responses of governments around the world, and the implications for individual consumers in an interview conducted on March 31, 2021.

Apr 07, 2021
Confronting Anti-Asian Racism | Russell Jeung

Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Russell Jeung addresses the alarming reports of violence and crimes committed against Asian Americans over the past year. He examines the racist beliefs that often motivate perpetrators, discusses the influence of social media, and offers a hopeful look at how Asian American communities and their allies are standing up to injustice nationwide.

Russell Jeung is a professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. In 2020, Dr. Jeung launched Stop AAPI Hate, a project for tracking Covid-19-related discrimination in order to develop community resources and policy interventions to fight racism. Learn more about anti-Asian racism in the United States, and what you can do to help:

Apr 02, 2021
Anatomy of a Flop: Why Trump's U.S.-China Phase One Trade Deal Fell Short | Chad Bown

Dr. Chad Bown discusses the trade deal and prospects for American trade policies toward China in the new administration in an interview conducted on March 10, 2021.

In a February 8 report for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Dr. Chad Bown argues that the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Deal should be examined by the Biden administration. The centerpiece of the trade deal – China’s pledge to buy $200 billion more of U.S. goods and services split over 2020 and 2021 – has thus far fallen far short of its target. Other elements of the deal, such as China’s commitment to reduce nontariff barriers and open up to foreign investment, merit consideration as the new administration develops its international economic policies. A fresh U.S. policy approach toward China is needed, and should be undertaken jointly with like-minded countries.

Mar 19, 2021
Yun Sun on the Myanmar Coup, China, and the United States

The February events in Myanmar have startled the world. While some countries quickly called the military takeover a coup, and U.S. President Joe Biden imposed sanctions to prevent the generals behind the coup from gaining access to funds in the United States, China has maintained a neutral position. Nonetheless, Myanmar’s unexpected political developments will inevitably introduce challenges and uncertainties into China-Myanmar relations. Geographical proximity, as well as complicated historical, ethnic, political, and economic ties, mean that whoever is in power in Naypyidaw will want to maintain a positive relationship with Beijing.

Yun Sun discusses the February 1 coup, subsequent events, Chinese responses, and the potential impact on Sino-U.S. relations in an interview conducted on March 5, 2021.

Mar 08, 2021
Beyond Borders: China's Arctic Ambitions | U.S.-China HORIZONS

Arctic security and international relations expert Marc Lanteigne explores China's scientific, economic, and political interests in a rapidly changing region.

Dr. Marc Lanteigne is an associate professor of political science at UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, and is the author and editor of several books, including Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security (Routledge 2020).

Feb 19, 2021
China's Distant Water Fleet | U.S.-China HORIZONS

Responding to domestic and international demand for seafood, China’s state-owned and private fishing enterprises have amassed the largest fleet of industrial long-distance ships in the world. Principal Investigator of Fisheries for Ecotrust Canada, Dr. Dyhia Belhabib, breaks down how and where the fleet operates, who it impacts, and what steps must be taken to ensure sustainable and equitable fishing worldwide.


More videos and podcasts from U.S.-China HORIZONS:

Jan 13, 2021
Margaret Lewis on Taiwan's Outlook for 2021

A successful pandemic response helped reshape Taiwan’s image in 2020. Could a new U.S. administration further change the island’s prospects in 2021?


Margaret Lewis explores the new year's possibilities for U.S.-Taiwan relations, as well as the key issues facing the Taiwan government’s domestic and global standing.

Jan 12, 2021
China’s Fintech Explosion: Disruption, Innovation, and Survival | Sara Hsu

Financial technology – aka fintech – is gaining in popularity globally as a way to improve the efficiency and accessibility of financial services. Fintech is taking off in China, catering to markets that state-owned banks and the undersized financial sector do not serve amid a backdrop of growing consumption and a large, tech-savvy millennial generation.

In this interview, NCUSCR Vice President Margot Landman interviews Sara Hsu, co-author of China’s Fintech Explosion , in which Ms. Hsu and Jianjun Li explore the transformative potential of China’s fintech industry, describing the risks and rewards for participants as well as the impact on consumers. They cover many subsectors of the industry: digital payment systems, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, credit card issuance, internet banks, blockchain finance and virtual currencies, and online insurance. Offering analysis of market potential, risks, and competition, the authors describe major companies including Alipay and Tencent, and other leading fintech firms.

Dec 17, 2020
World Fisheries: Sharing a Resource at Risk | U.S.-China HORIZONS

Global fish consumption has risen rapidly since 1960, resulting in a 25 percent increase in overexploited fish stocks in the past 30 years alone. The United States and China are key drivers of the $150 billion wild seafood industry, making them leading stakeholders in ensuring its sustainable management. Tabitha Mallory, founder and CEO of the China Ocean Institute, discusses how China and the United States contribute to both the problems and solutions for conserving this valuable and vulnerable common resource.

Dec 10, 2020
China and the U.S. Film Industry | U.S.-China HORIZONS

China’s booming film market has become an essential consideration for the production of Hollywood movies. In an effort to take advantage of this audience, American entertainment conglomerates are increasingly partnering with Chinese studios, and producing products for the Chinese market. How will America’s entertainment powerhouses and China’s burgeoning film industry collaborate to build their global brand identities?

Dr. Aynne Kokas is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017).

For more videos and podcasts from the U.S.-China HORIZONS series, visit us at

Oct 28, 2020
Electric Vehicles: Tesla and U.S.-China Collaboration | U.S.-China HORIZONS

Tesla has proven that U.S. car companies can succeed in China—when they sell electric. But what will it take for the traditional auto industry to meet the demand for new energy vehicles in China and compete with local startups? Tu Le of Sino Auto Insights analyzes U.S.-China collaboration and interaction as a driving force behind the ascending global electric vehicle market.

Tu Le is the founder and managing director of Sino Auto Insights. He is recognized as an automotive & mobility expert in Asia, having spent time living and working in Detroit, Silicon Valley, and China.

For more videos and podcasts from the U.S.-China HORIZONS series, visit us at

Oct 28, 2020
Electric Vehicles: China's Accelerating Industry | U.S.-China HORIZONS

Jennifer Turner explains the recent evolution of China's dynamic new energy vehicle industry, including how it will influence electric vehicles in the United States and around the world.

Jennifer Turner is the director of the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum and manager of its Global Choke Point Initiative. She is a widely-quoted expert on U.S.-China environmental cooperation as well as climate-related challenges and governance issues facing the world’s most populous country.

For more videos and podcasts from the U.S.-China HORIZONS series, visit us at

Oct 28, 2020
Ling Chen on the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Communist Party Congress

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, slowing economic growth, and tensions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and beyond, Beijing will host its Fifth Plenum of the 19th Chinese Community Party from October 26 to October 29, 2020. Among other items on the Plenum agenda, the 14th Five-Year-Plan will be approved by the more than 300 full and alternate members of the Party Central Committee and a new economic strategy called the “2035 vision” will be unveiled.

Dr. Ling Chen, assistant professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, examines the upcoming Plenum in the context of Fifth Plenums past, considers the economic and non-economic items likely to be on the agenda, and reflects on the significance of the Plenum for China, the United States, and other parts of the world.  

Oct 22, 2020
Naima Green-Riley on Burning the Boats: Consulate Closures in Houston and Chengdu FULL INTERVIEW

On July 23, 2020, the United States government ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close. Less than a week later, the American consulate in Chengdu was vacated as reciprocation from Beijing. Harvard University Department of Government Ph.D. candidate and former U.S. diplomat Naima Green-Riley analyzes the motivations behind each government's drastic step and evaluates the possible implications for the regions serviced by each consulate, as well as the U.S.-China relationship as a whole.

Aug 20, 2020
Frank H. Wu | Visa Restrictions and Lawsuits: Chinese Students Under Fire

The Justice Department's China Initiative against economic espionage and intellectual property theft has made Chinese students in the United States a focus of increasing scrutiny, while Congress has initiated legislation aiming to restrict this broad group's ability to work and study in the United States.   

 In light of the Justice Department's more than 3,000 active investigations of China-affiliated researchers and students in the United States, Queens College President Frank Wu discusses the initiative, the resulting increase in scrutiny of Chinese nationals and Chinese-American students, and the potential threat to American competitiveness and economic vitality that these developments present.     

Frank H. Wu is the president of Queens College, former president of the Committee of 100, and a former litigator and professor of law.

Jul 15, 2020
Margaret Lewis on Tsai Ing-wen and the Future of Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected in January, 2020, on a platform similar to that of her first term, yet new cross-Strait developments and changing challenges at home suggest the next four years may not be a continuation of the status quo. Seton Hall University law professor and Taiwan expert Margaret Lewis explores the possibilities for mainland-Taiwan relations as well as the local issues that will define both Tsai's second term and the near future of Taiwan.

Jun 03, 2020
Amb. Robert Zoellick | “Responsible Stakeholder” Fifteen Years Later

This speech is an excerpt from the National Committee 2020 Members Program. To hear NCUSCR Chair Ambassador Carla Hills introduction, as well as the extensive q&a with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, please listen to the episode on our Events channel, "Amb. Robert Zoellick | 2020 Annual Members Program FULL EVENT." 

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations was pleased to host a virtual conversation on May 19, 2020, with Ambassador Robert Zoellick, former U.S. Trade Representative and president of the World Bank, among other positions in and outside of government. Fifteen years have passed since his “responsible stakeholder” speech at the National Committee’s 2005 Gala dinner. Ambassador Zoellick offered reflections on his 2005 speech and the policy implications of his approach for the United States when considering the current Sino-U.S. relationship.

May 27, 2020
Coronavirus Economic Impact: U.S.-China Commercial Relations, Challenges and Opportunities

Principal of Albright Stonebridge Group Amy Celico explains the fundamental challenges currently facing the bilateral commercial relationship between the United States and China. She also discusses why the “phase one” trade deal is a positive development and how COVID-19 is highlighting the role of foreign investors in China’s economic growth trajectory.

Amy Celico is a principal at the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) and leads the firm’s D.C.-based China practice, assisting corporate and non-profit clients develop and expand their business in China.

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series:

May 07, 2020
M. Taylor Fravel on China's Modern Military Strategy in Historical Perspective

In an interview with NCUSCR President Steve Orlins, M. Taylor Fravel discusses his motivations for and key discoveries from writing, "Active Defense: China's Military Strategy Since 1949." He discusses China's activity in the East and South China Sea, as well as the CCP's definition of geopolitical "core interests." Fravel also considers how a historical perspective of China's military strategy has informed his views on whether China is an active military and national security threat to United States.

On October 10, 2019, Dr. Taylor Fravel presented his findings and discussed the implications for China’s current military behavior.

May 01, 2020
Coronavirus Social Impact: Difficult Choices for Chinese International Students

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series:   

Sociologist Yingyi Ma assesses the difficult decision many Chinese international students at American universities currently face: whether to remain on closed campuses or travel back home. She also discusses how students have had to experience anti-Chinese stigma and navigate the mixed messages from their home country, parents, school administrators, and their country of residence.

Dr. Ma is an associate professor of sociology, a senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research, and director of Asian/Asian American studies at Syracuse University. A specialist in education and migration, Dr. Ma's latest book is, "Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese Undergraduates Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education" (Columbia University Press 2019).

Apr 02, 2020
Coronavirus Public Health Impact: "Flatten the Curve" Strategies in China and the U.S.

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series:

As the United States’ confirmed coronavirus cases increase rapidly and China’s continue to decrease, Dr. Elanah Uretsky delivers an overarching analysis of how both countries’ public health responses already have⁠—and will continue⁠—to mitigate the pandemic’s spread. Please note that the following interview reflects information available at the time it was recorded (3/11/20), and that public health circumstances in China and the United States continue to change rapidly.

Dr. Elanah Uretsky is a medical anthropologist who is also broadly trained in global health. She is an assistant professor in international and global studies and anthropology at Brandeis University. A National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Public Intellectuals Program fellow, Dr. Uretsky is also a National Committee member.

Mar 19, 2020
Coronavirus Social Impact: Facing Outbreak Together through Civic Engagement in China

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series:        

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a wave of public action in China, including fundraising, volunteering, citizen journalism, advocacy, and more. Professor Bin Xu examines varying forms of civic engagement in China, its implications for Chinese society and government, and its pitfalls, most notably the Red Cross Society of China scandal. He explores the novel use of social media and online platforms by the public and compares civic engagement today to the response to the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.

Bin Xu is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. His research interests lie at the intersection of politics and culture. He is the author of, "The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China" (Stanford University Press, 2017). Dr. Xu is currently writing a book on the collective memory of China’s “educated youth” (zhiqing) generation—the 17 million Chinese youth sent down to the countryside in the 1960s and 1970s. His research has appeared in leading sociology and China studies journals, including Theory & SocietySociological TheorySocial ProblemsSocial Psychology QuarterlyChina Quarterly, and The China Journal. Dr. Xu is a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Public Intellectuals Program fellow.

Mar 16, 2020
Coronavirus Social Impact: NGOs Operating and Evolving through COVID-19

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series.

Ford Foundation’s China Director, Elizabeth Knup, considers COVID-19’s potential to change the NGO landscape in China moving forward. She also discusses how her organization has adjusted to work during the epidemic and shares some of the ways Ford-funded NGOs are responding to the crisis.

Elizabeth Knup is the regional director in China for the Ford Foundation, overseeing all grant making in the country from Ford's Beijing office. Ms. Knup serves on the board of the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Mar 11, 2020
Coronavirus Economic Impact: Market Outlook in China and the United States

This episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impact Series.

In the wake of the Dow Jones’ dramatic correction at the end of February and continued market instability, Keith Abell examines how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting general market outlook and sentiment among investors in the United States and China.

Mr. Abell is the founder of NextWave Investment Strategies and the co-founder of Sungate Properties. He serves as treasurer on the National Committee’s board of directors.

Mar 06, 2020
Coronavirus Economic Impacts: A Message from NCUSCR Chair Carla A. Hills

The following episode is part of the National Committee's Coronavirus Impacts Series.

National Committee Chair Carla Hills delivers a message on the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, specifically its effect on global trade and the phase one U.S.-China trade deal.

Ambassador Carla Hills is the Chair and CEO of Hills & Company, International Consultants. She served as United States Trade Representative from 1989 to 1993.

Mar 06, 2020
David Zweig on China's "Reverse Migration" Strategies and the U.S. Response

In an interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Dr. David Zweig shares his research on China's "brain drain," Beijing's 1000 Talents Plan, and Washington's response to that program.

On January 27, 2020, the National Committee hosted a public program with Dr. David Zweig to discuss China’s "reverse migration" efforts, presenting the Thousand Talents Plan as a case study. 

David Zweig is professor emeritus at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Feb 27, 2020
Ambassador Robert Blackwill on Implementing Grand Strategy Toward China

In this podcast, Ambassador Robert Blackwill sits down with NCUSCR President Steve Orlins to discuss his recent report, "Implementing Grand Strategy Toward China: Twenty-Two U.S. Policy Prescriptions," published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in January, 2020. Ambassador Blackwill shares how his report has been received by both critics and proponents of engagement with China, and expands on his analysis of China's increasingly assertive international presence.

On February 13, 2020, Ambassador Blackwill presented his report during a program at the National Committee. The full video can be found at

Ambassador Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at CFR and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Ambassador Blackwill was deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic planning under President George W. Bush; he also served as presidential envoy to Iraq. Dr. Blackwill went to the National Security Council (NSC) after serving as the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003

Feb 26, 2020
Mark Frazier on Writing Comparative History in Shanghai and Mumbai

Mark Frazier, author of The Power of Place: Contentious Politics in Twentieth-Century Shanghai and Bombay, talks to NCUSCR Vice President Jan Berris about his new book and the two cities that form its comparative poles. Mr. Frazier discusses the history of contentious politics in Shanghai and Mumbai, both of which were national economic, cultural, and political hubs of their respective countries throughout the twentieth century. He also reflects on his experiences conducting research, working with the municipal governments, and engaging with residents in both locations.


On October 3, 2019, Mark Frazier presented his book at a National Committee event in New York City. Join us at an upcoming event, or watch videos of past events:

Dec 27, 2019
Jeffrey Wasserstrom on the Ground in Hong Kong

Demonstrations that started peacefully in Hong Kong more than six months ago have grown increasingly confrontational. On December 10, Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine, called in from Hong Kong to deliver his thoughts and observations from the ground to a National Committee teleconference. A long time analyst of protest in pre-1949 China and different parts of the PRC in recent decades, he traveled to Hong Kong in early December, after having last been there in early June when protests began, and shared his perspective on recent events and what he heard and learned from people who have been living through them.


Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he also holds courtesy appointments in Law and in Literary Journalism.

He has just completed work on Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, a short book that will be published in February 2020 by Columbia Global Reports. His past books include China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham), the third edition of which came out from Oxford University Press in 2018, and Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (Stanford, 1991).

A former member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee, he writes regularly for newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals.

Dec 12, 2019
Jude Blanchette on Neo-Maoism and Civil Society in Contemporary China

In this podcast interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Jude D. Blanchette discusses his new book China’s New Red Guards: The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong. Mr. Blanchette shares his inspiration for choosing a topic not focused on in Western literature, and relates his personal experiences conducting research in China.

Mr. Blanchette surveys the potential for a resurgence of Neo-Maoism as an active movement, examines the role previously played by Bo Xilai, former Party-Secretary of Chongqing. Mr. Blanchette then transitions to a broader meditation on President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, of which Bo Xilai was an infamous casualty. While recognizing an increasingly constricted political and ideological environment, Mr. Blanchette emphasizes the continued survival of intellectual debate and diverse political thought within China.

On October 18, 2019, Jude Blanchette presented his book at a National Committee event in New York City. Join us at an upcoming event, or watch videos of past events:

Jude D. Blanchette is the Freeman Chair of China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He is also a senior advisor at Crumpton Group, a geo-political risk advisory in Arlington, VA. He serves as an adjunct fellow of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, and is a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Public Intellectuals Program fellow. Read Full Bio:

Oct 23, 2019
Admiral Philip S. Davidson on the Complexities, Contradictions, and Conundrums of the U.S.-China Relationship

Admiral Philip Davidson provides an assessment of the U.S.-China relationship, highlighting the complexities, comparing the contradictions, and describing the conundrums facing the United States at a time during which it seems clearer than ever that security and economics are inextricably linked as bilateral competition grows. In this interview, conducted by National Committee President Stephen Orlins, Admiral Davidson draws on his experience at the helm of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to delve deeper into the issues currently testing the U.S.-China relationship.


On October 2, 2019, Admiral Davidson presented his views at a National Committee event in New York City. Join us at an upcoming event:


Admiral Philip S. Davidson is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College with a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies, and a bachelor’s degree in physics. He is the 25th commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (formerly the U.S. Pacific Command), America's oldest and largest military combatant command, located in Hawaii. Read Full Bio:

Oct 10, 2019
Winston Lord on Working with Henry Kissinger

In this podcast interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Ambassador Winston Lord discusses his new book Kissinger on Kissinger: Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy, and Leadership. Ambassador Lord talks about what it was like to work with Dr. Kissinger, his memories of Nixon's visit to China, and what lessons from his and Dr. Kissinger's experiences can be applied to today's competitive relationship with China.


Winston Lord has had a long and varied career in and out of government, serving as special assistant to the national security advisor (1970-73) and director of the State Department policy planning staff under President Nixon (1973-77), ambassador to China for Presidents Reagan and the first President Bush (1985-89), and assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under President Clinton (1993-97). Earlier in his career he held many positions in the State Department as a foreign service officer, and served on the policy planning staff of the Defense Department.
Between government postings Ambassador Lord was a board member of many non-partisan, non-government organizations related to global issues. These include his service as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, co-chair of the International Rescue Committee, chair of the National Endowment for Democracy, and chair of the Carnegie Endowment National Commission on America and the New World. He is a member and former director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Ambassador Lord earned a B.A. from Yale (magna cum laude) and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (first in his class). He has received several honorary degrees, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Defense Department’s Outstanding Performance Award. Ambassador Lord has appeared on all major U.S. media networks, and his writings include articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and Foreign Affairs.

Jun 13, 2019
David P. Willard on the Impact of Policymaking on Bilateral Investment

In this interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, founder and CEO of 52 Capital Partners David P. Willard discusses how his work in mergers and acquisitions is affected by macroeconomic policies in the United States and China and gives his perspective on where the economic relationship between the two countries is heading. Mr. Willard spoke at a National Committee event on April 25, 2019. Learn more:

David P. Willard is the founder, chief executive officer & managing partner of 52 Capital Partners, LLC., responsible for all major aspects of the firm’s executive management, strategy, client development, investment process and thought leadership. Throughout his career, Mr. Willard has executed and participated in major M&A transactions and other corporate matters at firms in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, closing 53 transactions totaling over $150 billion in aggregate value.

A recognized expert on China, Mr. Willard speaks regularly on U.S.-China mergers and acquisitions, as well as other investment topics. He received his B.A. in East Asian Studies from Princeton, and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law. Mr. Willard is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Apr 29, 2019
Dr. Weijian Shan on Life in the Gobi Desert During the Cultural Revolution

In this interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Dr. Weijian Shan discusses his new autobiography, Out of the Gobi, about his experience during the Cultural Revolution as a manual laborer in the Gobi Desert. He explains what prompted him to write the book and why learning about the Cultural Revolution is essential to understanding China. 

Dr. Shan gave a talk to the National Committee about his book on January 28. Learn more:


Dr. Weijian Shan is chairman and CEO of PAG, one of the largest private equity firms in Asia. Before joining PAG, he was a partner of TPG, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, and co-managing partner of TPG Asia (formerly known as Newbridge Capital). At TPG, Dr. Shan led a number of landmark transactions including the acquisitions of Korea First Bank and China’s Shenzhen Development Bank, both of which made his investors billions of dollars in profits and were made into case studies of Harvard Business School. Previously, Dr. Shan was a managing director of JP Morgan, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and laborer in Inner Mongolia.

Despite not attending secondary school, Dr. Shan received an M.A. and Ph.D., both in economics, from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the Univer­sity of San Francisco. He studied English at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade (now the Beijing University of International Business and Economics), where he also taught.

Feb 01, 2019
Peggy Blumenthal on Chinese Students in the United States
As the attendance of Chinese students at U.S. institutions of higher education comes under greater scrutiny, Peggy Blumenthal of the Institute for International Education explains the history of Chinese students in the United States, their impact on American institutions, why they come, and how new visa policies may affect their enrollment. 
Peggy Blumenthal is senior counselor to the president at the Institute for International Education (IIE), where she has served since 1984 and was chief operating officer from 2005 to 2011. Previously, she was assistant director of Stanford University’s Overseas Studies, and coordinator of Graduate Services/Fellowships for the University of Hawaii’s Center for Asian and Pacific Studies.
Jan 25, 2019
Barbara Finamore on the Evolution of China's Response to Climate Change

Barbara Finamore, author of the new book Will China Save the Planet?, talks to Jan Berris, National Commitee Vice President, about China's path to becoming a responsible stakeholder on environmental issues.

Nov 30, 2018
Rongbin Han on the Internet in China

In this interview, Professor Rongbin Han discusses his new book, Contesting Cyberspace in China, with Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman. He talks about his experiences a university student in China at the dawn of the Internet, the Internet's relation to democracy as well as illiberal discourse, and the role of the "50-Cent Army" on Chinese social media. 

Nov 30, 2018
Benjamin Shobert on How U.S. Domestic Issues Have Influenced China Policy

In this interview, Benjamin Shobert discusses his new book Blaming China: It Might Feel Good but it Won't Fix America's Economy with National Committee President Stephen Orlins. He talks about the changes in the U.S. political atmosphere that inspired him to write the book, and where he sees the bilateral relationship heading. 

Nov 05, 2018
Rory Truex and Benjamin Liebman on the Obstacles China Scholars Face

In this conversation, Professors Benjamin Liebman and Rory Truex, both fellows in the National Committee's Public Intellectuals Program, discuss the findings of Truex's recent study, co-authored with Professor Sheena Greitens, on American China scholars' repressive experiences in China. 

Oct 25, 2018
Pieter Bottelier on the Development of China's Economic Policy

In this interview, Pieter Bottelier discusses his new book Economic Policy Making in China (1949-2016): The Role of Economists with National Committee President Steve Orlins. Bottelier talks about the history behind China's current economic policy and where he thinks it's headed. 

Oct 19, 2018
Ji Li on Chinese Businesses Operating in the U.S.

In this interview, Dr. Ji Li discusses his new book The Clash of Capitalisms? Chinese Companies in the United States with National Committee President Stephen Orlins. Professor Li talks about his research methodologies and findings on Chinese companies' compliance with U.S. regulatory institutions.


Dr. Ji Li is professor of law at Rutgers University and a member of the associate faculty of the division of global affairs. Professor Li received his Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University and J.D. from Yale Law School where he was an Olin Fellow in Law, Economics and Public Policy. Before joining the Rutgers faculty, he practiced corporate and tax law for several years in the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell. Professor Li’s teaching and scholarship explore a broad range of topics including international business transactions, taxation, contracts, comparative law, Chinese law and politics, and empirical legal studies.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Professor Li will be in residence at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study working on his second book, a unified theory of Chinese judicial behavior.

Oct 04, 2018
Stephen Platt on What Led to the Opium War

In this interview, author Stephen R. Platt discusses his new book Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age with Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman, describing his process behind writing the book and the historical context that led to the war.

Jul 16, 2018
Daniel Kurtz-Phelan on George Marshall's Mission as Mediator in the Chinese Civil War

In this interview with National Committee President Stephen OrlinsForeign Affairs Executive Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan discusses his new book, The China Mission: George Marshall's Unfinished War. He talks about George Marshall's efforts to make peace between the Nationalists and Communists in China after World War II, the fascinating figures at the center of the story, and if Marshall's mission was futile to begin with.

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, who became executive editor of Foreign Affairs in October 2017, was previously a fellow with New America’s international security program. Before that, he was a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and a senior advisor to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Kurtz-Phelan advised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a member of her policy planning staff.

Jun 26, 2018
Peggy Blumenthal and David Zweig on the Impact of Chinese Students on American Universities

In this interview with Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman, IIE's Peggy Blumenthal and Professor David Zweig discuss their research into the impact Chinese students have on American universities and their prospects upon returning to China.


Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President, Institute of International Education (IIE). After 20 years of service at the Institute of International Education, Ms. Blumenthal became its chief operating officer in 2005, shifting to the role of senior counselor in 2011.


David Zweig is Chair Professor, Division of Social Science, and Director, Center on China’s Transnational Relations (, at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  He is an adjunct professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan, and Vice-President of the Center on China’s Globalization (Beijing).

Jun 06, 2018
Scott Seligman on the Triple Murder that Changed American Criminal Justice

In this interview with Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman, author Scott Seligman discusses his new book, The Third Degree: The Triple Murder that Shook Washington and Changed American Criminal Justice. 

May 29, 2018
Denise Ho on the Role of Exhibitions During the Cultural Revolution

In this interview with Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman, Denise Ho, author of Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao's China, discusses the "participatory propaganda" of exhibitions during the Cultural Revolution. 

May 10, 2018
Natalie Lichtenstein on Establishing the AIIB

In conversation with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, former AIIB General Counsel Natalie Lichtenstein discusses the process behind drafting the bank's charter. 


Natalie Lichtenstein is a U.S. lawyer who has specialized in legal issues at international financial institutions, and legal development in China, since the 1970s. She was the inaugural general counsel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the principal drafter of the AIIB Charter. Her work for AIIB drew on her 30-year legal career at the World Bank, where she advised on lending operations in China and other countries for 20 years. During her last decade there, she served in senior positions, specializing in institutional governance issues and reforms. As a young lawyer at the U.S. Treasury Department, she worked on international financial institution matters and normalization of U.S.-China relations.

Ms. Lichtenstein has taught Chinese law in the U.S. since the 1980s, and has consulted on Chinese legal development projects. She is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a member of the advisory board of the Duke-Kunshan University. In addition to her book on the AIIB, she is the author of numerous articles in professional journals. She received her AB summa cum laudein East Asian Studies and JD from Harvard University.

May 08, 2018
Gary Liu on Reinventing Hong Kong's Paper of Record

In conversation with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu talks about the opportunity to transform the SCMP into a digital media brand, the challenges of running a newspaper in the current media landscape, and retaining SCMP's unique editorial voice.

May 01, 2018
Diana Fu on Labor Activism in China

In a conversation with fellow University of Toronto professor Sida Liu, Diana Fu discusses her new book, Mobilizing Without the Masses: Contention and Control in China


Dr. Diana Fu is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto and an affiliate of the Munk School of Global Affairs Asian Institute. Her research examines the relationship between popular contention, state power, and civil society in contemporary China.  

Apr 11, 2018
Dr. Szu-chien Hsu on the Threats to Taiwan's Democracy

In this interview with National Committee Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman, Dr. Szu-chien Hsu discusses his work as the president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). He talks about why he believes in the mission of TFD, how democratic values are being threatened worldwide, and his research findings on the political activism of Taiwan's youth.

Dr. Szu-chien Hsu is president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), as well as an associate research fellow at the Institute of Political Science of Academia Sinica in Taipei and director of the Center for Contemporary China at National Tsinghua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

For more information on the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ events, visit us at

Mar 29, 2018
Carl Minzner on the Breakdown of China's Reform Era Norms

In this interview, professor Carl Minzner discusses his new book, End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian Revival is Undermining its Rise with National Committee President Stephen Orlins. He talks about what inspired him to write the book, how norms established in the Reform Era are breaking down, and whether the Chinese government's actions have historical precedent in other countries.

Carl Minzner is an expert in Chinese law and governance. He has written extensively on these topics in both academic journals and the popular press, including The New York TimesWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor. Professor Minzner’s academic works include “China After the Reform Era” (Journal of Democracy, 2015), “The Rise and Fall of Chinese Legal Education” (Fordham International Law Journal, 2013), and “China’s Turn Against Law” (American Journal of Comparative Law, 2011).

For more information on the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ events, visit us at

Mar 16, 2018
Roseann Lake on the "Leftover Women" of China

In this interview, journalist Roseann Lake discusses her new book, Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower with National Committee Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman. She talks about how she originally became interested in the topic, her research process, and the social barriers that created the “leftover women” phenomenon.

Roseann Lake is now The Economist's Cuba correspondent. She was previously based in Beijing, where she spent five years working as a television and print reporter. Her China coverage has appeared in Foreign Policy, Time, The Atlantic, Salon and Vice, among other publications. She divides her time between New York City and Havana.

For more information on the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ events, visit us at

Mar 08, 2018
Amb. Jeffrey Bader: An Overview of Recent Developments in U.S.-China Relations

On Sunday, February 25, 2018, the world learned that the Chinese Constitution would be amended to allow the president and vice president to stay in office beyond two terms (ten years) – the limit established in the 1982 constitutional revision. On Thursday, March 1, President Trump announced that the United States would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Although the tariffs apply to products from all over the world, many assume that they are aimed at China.

The National Committee invited the Honorable Jeffrey A. Bader to discuss the implications of these and other recent developments in China and the United States, in a teleconference moderated by NCUSCR President Steve Orlins on March 6, 2018. In this brief excerpt from the teleconference, Ambassador Bader gives an overview of the impact of these events on the Sino-American relationship.

Jeffrey Bader is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center and the first director of the Center (2005-2009). From 2009 until 2011, Ambassador Bader was special assistant to the president of the United States for national security affairs at the National Security Council. In that capacity, he was the principal advisor to President Obama on Asia.

During his 30-year career with the U.S. government, Amb. Bader focused primarily on U.S.-China relations at the State Department, the National Security Council, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative. In 2001, as assistant U.S. trade representative, he led the United States delegation in completing negotiations on the accession of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization. As a foreign service officer, he served in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Namibia, Zambia, Congo, and the United States Mission to the United Nations. During the 1990s, he was deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia; director of Asian affairs at the National Security Council; and director of the State Department’s Office of Chinese Affairs. He served as U.S. ambassador to Namibia from 1999 to 2001.

Amb. Bader is the author of Obama and China’s Rise: An Insider’s Account of America’s Asia Strategy, published in 2012 by Brookings Institution Press. He is president and sole proprietor of Jeffrey Bader LLC, which provides assistance to companies with interests in Asia, and a member of the National Committee’s board of directors. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in European history from Columbia University.

Mar 07, 2018
David Denoon: China's Foreign Policy in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America

In this podcast interview with National Committee President Stephen OrlinsProfessor David Denoon discusses Chinese and American interests in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America, adding another dimension to the study of the bilateral relationship. 

Much has been written about the dynamics that have traditionally defined U.S.-China relations. But as China adopts a more activist foreign policy and increasingly seeks investment opportunities around the world, new theatres of cooperation and contention are coming into play. In a series of three edited volumes, David Denoon explores the interests and policies of the United States and China in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America respectively. In this trilogy, Professor Denoon examines points of both mutual and competing interests in the U.S. and China’s economic and security relations with each region.

On February 20, 2018, the National Committee held a discussion with Dr. Denoon that touched on all three volumes in the series, with Dr. Denoon comparing and contrasting the ways in which Sino-American strategic competition is unfolding in each region, as well as their implications for the broader U.S.-China relationship. 

David Denoon is a professor of politics and economics at New York University and director of the NYU Center on U.S.-China Relations. He has served in the federal government in three positions: program economist for USAID in Jakarta, vice president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Professor Denoon is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the U.S. Committee on Security Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific (USSCAP), the Asia Society, the Korea Society, the U.S.-Indonesia Society, and is chairman of the New York University Asia Policy Seminar. He is also chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board of Great Decisions.

He is the author and editor of ten books, including Real Reciprocity - Balancing U.S. Economic and Security Policy in the Pacific Basin, and The Economic and Strategic Rise of China and India.

Professor Denoon holds a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.P.A. from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mar 02, 2018
Ann Lee: Will China's Economy Collapse?

Between ballooning debt to GDP ratios, overinvestment in the property market, and industrial overcapacity, the uneven structure of China’s economic growth provides plenty of reasons for concern. Yet so far, China’s unique blend of state-led and laissez-faire capitalism has proved remarkably strong, defying numerous predictions of imminent economic catastrophe. In a new book, Will China’s Economy Collapse? New York University Adjunct Professor Ann Lee addresses key questions that China watchers and economists have been asking about the longevity of China’s unprecedented economic development and its future prospects.

In her book, Professor Lee examines why China’s economy might be more resilient than commonly presumed, and provides a careful analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. She also addresses the implications for other capitalist societies around the world and offers advice to policy makers about what changes must occur to ensure continued global stability and prosperity. Professor Lee discussed her book, China’s economic outlook, and the future of global capitalism in New York on February 7, 2018, with National Committee President Stephen Orlins.

 Ann Lee is an internationally recognized authority on China’s economic relations and the CEO of Coterie, a new technology investment consortium. She is also a former visiting professor at Peking University and currently an adjunct professor at New York University where she teaches macroeconomics and financial derivatives. She consults with policymakers from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S. about U.S.-China relations, international finance and trade, and China’s political economy.

In addition to numerous television and radio appearances, Dr. Lee’s op-eds have appeared in major publications in the United States and Asia.

 A former investment banker in high yield bonds and technology stocks, as well as a partner and credit derivatives trader in two multi-billion dollar hedge fund firms, she is also the author of the book What the U.S. Can Learn from China, an award winning international bestseller. She is an active member of the Authors Guild and the Pen America Society.

Dr. Lee attended U.C. Berkeley, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, and Harvard Business School.

Feb 23, 2018
Bin Xu: Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China

On May 12, 2008, a massive earthquake rocked central Sichuan, killing 87,000 people and leaving five million homeless in the second worst natural disaster in China’s modern history (the first was the Tangshan earthquake of 1976). As news of the event spread, hundreds of thousands of volunteers poured into Sichuan from all over China to help wherever they were needed. Many cooked, cleaned, and cared for survivors, but the sudden explosion of civic engagement also led to more politically oriented activities, as the magnitude of the tragedy forced an emotional confrontation with the deeper causes of the destruction beyond the violence of the quake itself.

In a new book The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China, sociologist and China expert Bin Xu examines the ways in which civic engagement unfolded in the aftermath of the earthquake, and what these developments reveal about China’s evolving civil society.

Drawing on extensive interviews and documentary research, Dr. Xu challenges many of the popular narratives about the national outpouring of compassion, and illustrates the tension between volunteering and activism. Dr. Xu joined the National Committee on January 31, 2018, for a discussion of his book and China’s civil society with NCUSCR Vice President Jan Berris.

 Bin Xu is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. His research interests lie at the intersection of politics and culture. He is currently writing a book on the collective memory of China’s “educated youth” (zhiqing) generation—the 17 million Chinese youth sent down to the countryside in the 1960s and 1970s. His research has appeared in leading sociology and China studies journals, including Theory & Society, Sociological Theory, Social Problems, Social Psychology Quarterly, China Quarterly, and The China Journal.  Dr. Xu is a fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program.

Feb 23, 2018
Jennifer Lin: Shanghai Faithful – A Chinese Christian Family

After the United States and China established diplomatic relations in 1979, those who had left China around 1949 were able to visit family members who had remained in China. Three decades of separation gave rise to many unanswered questions on both sides. One such question inspired young journalist Jennifer Lin: “Do you have any idea what happened to us?” she was asked at a family reunion in Shanghai in 1979. She then embarked on a 30-year quest to uncover her family history. The daughter of a Chinese father and a Catholic, Italian-American mother, Ms. Lin explored her family’s Anglican past in Shanghai, and its experiences as Chinese Christians under communist rule. The resulting book, Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family, is an account of China’s chaotic modern history through the eyes of a single family whose western education, charismatic leadership, and Christian faith made it targets during the Cultural Revolution. Ms. Lin joined the National Committee on January 24, 2018 in New York, for a discussion of her book, her family, and the recent history of Christianity in China with National Committee Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman.

Jennifer Lin is an award-winning journalist and former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer; she served as the paper’s New York financial correspondent, Washington foreign affairs reporter, and Asia bureau chief in Beijing.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Feb 01, 2018
Scott Tong: A Village With My Name

China’s rapid economic growth that has accompanied its “Reform and Opening” over the last four decades is the subject of millions of pages of discussion and analysis. Yet it is rarely contextualized within the long arc of China’s quest for modernity stretching back at least to the mid-19th century. Long before Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, enterprising Chinese engaged the outside world through trade, education, and other mediums, laying the foundation for China’s modernization. From this perspective, the Mao era appears as an interlude rather than a new beginning. In his book, A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World, journalist Scott Tong explores continuities in China’s development through an investigation of his own family history.

Beginning at the end of his stay in Shanghai for the radio program “Marketplace,” and over the next few years, Mr. Tong travelled around China to uncover his family’s past and reconnect with family members who stayed behind when some of his grandparents and his parents fled the mainland. The result is a long form journalistic account of his family’s story, China’s tumultuous modern history, and the roots of the country’s present ascendancy. Mr. Tong joined the National Committee on December 18, 2017 in New York for a discussion of his book as well as his three and a half year journey to discover China’s past along with his own. The conversation was moderated by Professor James Carter, Director of Asian Studies at Saint Joseph’s University. 

Scott Tong has reported from more than a dozen countries as a correspondent for Marketplace, from refugee camps in east Africa to shoe factories in eastern China. Currently he serves on Marketplace’s sustainability desk, focusing on energy, the environment, natural resources and the global economy. Mr. Tong joined Marketplace in 2004, and opened its first bureau in Shanghai, as bureau chief, in 2006. Before joining Marketplace, he worked as a producer and off-air reporter for the PBS NewsHour, where he produced a series of mini-documentaries from Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Feb 01, 2018
Mary Gallagher: Authoritarian Legality in China

Over the last three and a half decades, China’s rise has largely been underpinned by two great transitions: from socialism to capitalism, and from agriculture to industry. The workplace and the institutions that govern it have served as the critical link that enabled these transitions to take place. As these processes continue, the interests of the central government and Chinese workers have converged upon improved working conditions and formalization of employment. Workers have naturally sought greater security in their new urban homes, and China’s leaders have seen the long-term strategic utility of better labor laws as the country moves away from reliance on low cost, low-tech manufacturing. Even so, there remains a wide gap between what is promised by the central authorities, and what is delivered on the factory floor.

How the Chinese government confronts this complex policy landscape is the central question of political science professor and China expert Mary Gallagher’s new book: Authoritarian Legality in China: Law, Workers, and the State. In her book, Dr. Gallagher elucidates the aims and trajectory of Chinese labor law, as well as what the implications are for China’s workers. She joined the National Committee on December 12, 2017, for a discussion of her book and new developments in China’s labor laws and workplace relations. The conversation was moderated by Qin Gao, professor of social policy at the Columbia School of Social Work

Mary Gallagher is a professor of political science at the University of Michigan where she is also the director of the Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. She is the author and editor of several books, including Contagious Capitalism:  Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China (Princeton 2005); Chinese Justice: Civil Dispute Resolution in Contemporary China (Cambridge 2011); From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization:  Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China (Cornell 2011); and Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (Cambridge 2010). 

Qin Gao, PhD, is professor of social policy and social work at Columbia University School of Social Work and founding director of China Center for Social Policy. She is a faculty affiliate of the Columbia Population Research Center and Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She is also an academic board member of the China Institute for Income Distribution at Beijing Normal University, and a Public Intellectual Fellow of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Feb 01, 2018
Michael Meyer: The Road to the Sleeping Dragon

In his third book on China, acclaimed reporter and travel writer Michael Meyer provides an account of his 22 years of engagement with the country. Beginning with his arrival as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Sichuan in 1995, The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up recounts how he came to understand the country that looms so large on today’s global stage. By sharing his deeply personal journey over two decades, the book offers a unique perspective on China’s culture and society. Mr. Meyer joined National Committee Vice President Jan Berris for a conversation about his new book and experiences living in and writing about China, on November 16, 2017 in New York.

Mr. Meyer is associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program.
The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations ( is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Dec 14, 2017
Pan Guang: China and the Middle East

In recent years, China has taken an increasingly active role in global affairs. From the managers of state owned enterprises to political and military leaders, Chinese have looked abroad, including to the resource rich Middle East. What does Chinese engagement mean for the region? What opportunities and challenges does the Belt and Road Initiative bring?

Dr. Pan Guang, professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Vice President of Chinese Association for Middle East Studies and director of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Belt and Road Studies Center, joined the National Committee in New York on October 20, 2017 for a conversation with National Committee Vice President Jan Berris that addresses these critical questions.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations ( is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Dec 08, 2017
Robert Gottlieb & Simon Ng: U.S.-China Urban Environmental Change

Over the past four decades, global cities have emerged in both the United States and China, including Hong Kong. In the process, they have absorbed their local environments and expanded their commercial networks around the world. As the urban landscapes and global reach of Chinese and American cities have grown, so have their environmental footprints. Challenging issues of air and water quality, water supply, transportation, land use, and food have accompanied rapid urban growth. In many cases, municipal leaders have developed innovative solutions that restructure patterns of resource consumption. In a new book, Robert Gottlieb, an urban and environmental policy expert, and sustainability expert Simon Ng assess the policy responses of different cities in the United States and China to rapid urbanization and its environmental impact.

In The Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China, Mr. Gottlieb and Mr. Ng identify and analyze how urban environmental issues have been addressed in these localities and the reasons behind the policies. They also examine what lessons can be learned from those experiences to inform policy debates, as well as the role of social movements in influencing policy-making. On October 19, 2017, Mr. Gottlieb and Mr. Ng joined the National Committee for a discussion of their book, recent developments in municipal sustainability efforts, and opportunities for further policy innovation in city government.

Robert Gottlieb is emeritus professor of urban and environmental policy and the founder and former director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College.

Simon Ng is an independent consultant working on air quality, urban transportation, and sustainability issues. Trained as a geographer, Simon is known for his ground-breaking work on ship emissions inventory and control policy in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta, as well as his research on walkability.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations ( is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Dec 08, 2017
Maria Repnikova on Media Politics in China

Popular images of Chinese media generally cast it as an agent of state propaganda. This is hardly surprising given the history of Chinese official media, and the swift suppression of those who openly criticize the regime. Yet the dichotomy between media and the party, with the former perpetually dominated by the latter, is complicated by the emergence of what Maria Repnikova, in her new book, terms “critical journalism.”

In Media Politics in China: Improvising Power under Authoritarianism, Dr. Repnikova reveals a web of complex negotiations taking place between investigative journalists who have probed sensitive issues such as food safety and corruption, and party officials. Chinese critical journalists do not protest overtly, but their dynamic relationship with the party-state, characterized by what Dr. Repnikova calls “guarded improvisation,” leaves room for an important creative and political agency as they cautiously cover complicated, and sometimes controversial, topics. On November 2, 2017, Dr. Repnikova joined National Committee Senior Director for Education Margot Landman in New York for a discussion of her book, the role of Chinese media, and what it means to be a Chinese journalist in the Xi era.

Nov 09, 2017
Ian Johnson on the Religious Revival Underway in China

In this podcast interview, Ian Johnson discusses his recent book, the religious revival underway in China, and what this means for the world’s newest superpower, with National Committee Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman.

The Communist Party of China has long had an uneasy relationship with religion. Its antipathy reached a crescendo during the Cultural Revolution when religion was attacked as part of the “Four Olds” campaign; public worship and ceremony were banned, members of the clergy were imprisoned or sent to forced labor, and religious buildings and texts were destroyed. Since the death of Mao, and especially in recent years, religion has seen a resurgence, as people search for meaning in a rapidly changing political and social landscape. Many questions have emerged over questions of identity and how to lead an ethical life.

In his recent book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Johnson recounts a six-year odyssey travelling and observing contemporary Chinese religion. From underground Christian churches to rural Daoist priests, Mr. Johnson outlines various manifestations of the greatest spiritual revival of our time, and probes the myriad questions and doubts that motivate millions of Chinese to seek religious support. On October 26, 2017, Mr. Johnson joined the National Committee for a discussion on his book and China’s epic religious renaissance.

Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer focusing on society, religion, and history. He works out of Beijing, where he also teaches undergraduate classes.

Mr. Johnson has spent over half of the past thirty years in the Greater China region, first as a student in Beijing from 1984 to 1985, and then in Taipei from 1986 to 1988. He later worked as a newspaper correspondent in China, from 1994 to 1996 with Baltimore's The Sun, and from 1997 to 2001 with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered macro-economics, China's WTO accession and social issues. In 2009, Johnson returned to China, where he writes features and essays for the New York TimesThe New York Review of Books, as well as other publications, such as The New Yorker and National Geographic. He teaches undergraduates at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, where he also runs a fellowship program. In addition, he formally advises a variety of academic journals and think tanks on China, such as the Journal of Asian Studies, the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies, and New York University's Center for Religion and Media.

Nov 08, 2017
Scott Kennedy: China’s Innovation Drive

In recent years, China has devoted massive resources to advancing its capacity for technological innovation. The resulting deluge of R&D activities has brought Chinese companies significant commercial success. However, the massive resources China has mobilized are not yet efficiently translating into successful outputs, resulting in a “low metabolism” of inputs into technology innovation.

Scott Kennedy, deputy director of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has published a comparative analysis of China’s innovation push that uses quantitative measures to evaluate its effectiveness. On October 6, 2017, he discussed his findings with National Committee President Stephen Orlins in New York City.

Oct 11, 2017
Lenora Chu and Gish Gen: East-West Creativity Gap – Myth or Fact?

In a globalized world where millions of people travel between east and west each year and formerly separate cultural zones now overlap, it has never been more important to understand the values and perspectives that inform cross-cultural relations. Two new works of cultural observation and commentary put the differences in education, identity, and politics in the United States and China in perspective:

Lenora Chu’s Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve, examines the benefits and drawbacks of China’s famously rigorous education system through the lens of her son’s experience attending an elite public school in Shanghai. The book then expands to consider what Americans can learn from Chinese pedagogy, and, more broadly, what the purpose of education is.

Gish Jen’s The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, is a wide-ranging investigation of how differing conceptions of the self in Asia and the western world can explain the incongruous expectations and assumptions that can produce awkward or confusing cross-cultural encounters. Gish Jen explores how emphasis on the individual or on context in western and eastern cultures respectively anchor very different understandings of the same events and behavior, which is ultimately reflected in distinctive educational, business, and governing institutions.  

On September 18, 2017, both authors joined the National Committee for a conversation about their books, contemporary east-west exchange, and how people on both sides of the cultural divide can better understand and learn from one another, in a conversation moderated by NCUSCR Senior Director for Educational Programs Margot Landman.

A former TV correspondent with Thomson Reuters and a contributing writer with, Lenora Chu is an award-winning journalist. Her freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, APM’s Marketplace and PRI’s The World. She has lived in Shanghai since 2010. Ms. Chu holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and she speaks Mandarin.

The author of six previous books, both fiction and non-fiction, renowned writer Gish Jen has published short pieces in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals and anthologies. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four times, including The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. 

Ms. Jen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards. An American Academy of Arts and Letters jury granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award. Ms. Jen delivered the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University in 2012.  She is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers Workshop.


Oct 03, 2017
Cheng Li on the Rising Influence of Think Tanks in China

A call to action by President Xi Jinping has led to significant resources being devoted to the development and expansion of China’s think tanks. While some critics have derided them as “tanks without thinkers,” China’s think tanks play a growing part in the crafting of domestic and foreign policies. In addition, their connections to party leadership make them an invaluable window through which foreign scholars and officials can observe both the Chinese intellectual discourse and policymaking process. 


In a pioneering new study, The Power of Ideas: The Rising Influence of Thinkers and Think Tanks in China, Dr. Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution examines the complicated relationship between the Chinese government and think tanks and the prospects for China’s efforts to promote new types of think tanks. On September 6, 2017, Dr. Li joined the National Committee for a discussion of his book with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins.

Cheng Li is director and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center. Dr. Li is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a member of the Academic Advisory Team of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Committee of 100. He is the author/editor of numerous books, including Rediscovering China: Dynamics and Dilemmas of Reform (1997), China’s Leaders: The New Generation (2001), Bridging Minds Across the Pacific: The Sino-US Educational Exchange (2005), China’s Changing Political Landscape: Prospects for Democracy (2008), China’s Emerging Middle Class: Beyond Economic Transformation (2010), The Road to Zhongnanhai: High-Level Leadership Groups on the Eve of the 18th Party Congress (2012, in Chinese), China’s Political Development: Chinese and American Perspectives (2014), Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership (2016) and The Power of Ideas: The Rising Influence of Thinkers and Think Tanks in China (2017). He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series published by the Brookings Institution Press. 

Dr. Li has advised a wide range of U.S. government, education, research, business and not-for-profit organizations on work in China, and is frequently called upon to share his perspectives and insights as an expert on China. He recently appeared on BBC, CCTV, CNN, C-SPAN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, NPR Diane Rehm Show, and the PBS Charlie Rose Show. Dr. Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In 1985, he came to the United States where he later received an M.A. in Asian studies from the University of California and a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University.

Oct 03, 2017
Michelle Vosper on Women in the Arts from Greater China

Creating Across Cultures is a collection of stories about visionary women in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who defied cultural and social expectations to become leaders in the arts. Working in the literary, visual and performing arts, these women journeyed outside their cultures, engaging with the international artistic community. Their personal histories open windows onto the larger, historical trajectory of China over three generations, while their artwork delves into social realities and challenges of the day. The stories, based on personal interviews and professional archives, were written by a team of arts specialists, journalists, and academics who have made these accounts available in English for the first time. In bringing these 16 women’s stories together in one book, editor Michelle Vosper illuminates the value of the exchange of arts and ideas across borders and cultures, while offering inspiring role models for women aspiring to careers in the arts. Ms. Vosper joined the National Committee on June 26, 2017, to discuss her book, the women whose stories it details, and her own experience fostering cross-cultural artistic exchanges, in a conversation moderated by National Committee Vice President Jan Berris.

For more information about Creating Across Cultures and profiles of the artists:

Michelle Vosper served as the first director of the Asian Cultural Council’s (ACC) program in Hong Kong for twenty-five years (1986-2012), supporting and organizing exchanges of artists from the United States and Asia. Ms. Vosper’s career began in 1978 when she became the first assistant director of the Center for US-China Arts Exchange established at Columbia University. During the early period that followed normalization of diplomatic relations, she worked with prominent artists on programs such as Isaac Stern’s film From Mao to Mozart and Arthur Miller’s Chinese-language production of Death of a Salesman in Beijing. She also travelled frequently in China as interpreter and coordinator for cultural figures including Susan Sontag, Howard Gardner, Alwin Nikolais and Jacques d’Amboise. In 1980 Michelle co-translated Cao Yu’s play Peking Man for its New York premiere.

Jul 25, 2017
Gerard Postiglione on China’s Universities and the Belt and Road

As China has become a global power, it has sought to build an exportable educational model that will influence international education, while at the same time supporting the interests of the Communist Party.  China has simultaneously in some ways strengthened its commitment to the Western university model and embraced its emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences as a way to drive innovation and economic progress. Chinese universities serve multiple constituencies: Chinese who will work in China upon graduation; Chinese who will seek employment outside of China, particularly in Belt and Road countries; non-Chinese who may hope to stay in China to work; and non-Chinese who will leave China upon graduation.  How will the universities address these competing demands?  They will draw on indigenous ideas in ways that are attractive both domestically and beyond its borders. Professor Gerard Postiglione of the University of Hong Kong has been observing this effort play out in the context of China’s push to become an international leader in the Belt and Road era. On June 19, Dr. Postiglione joined the National Committee for a conversation with National Committee Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman about higher education in Hong Kong and on the mainland, as well as the implications of China’s campaign to become a global leader in higher education.

Gerard A. Postiglione is Chair Professor in Higher Education in the University of Hong Kong, where he was associate dean for research and director of the Wah Ching Center of Research on Chinese Education. He received the Humanities and Social Science Prestigious Fellowship Award from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Research Grants Council in 2014. He received a Lifetime Contribution Award for studies in higher education by the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) in 2015. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association in 2016. His autobiography was published in Leaders in the Sociology of Education in 2016. He received a second Best Book Award from the CIES in 2017. Routledge press will publish a collection of his research works in July 2017. His other book in press is entitled The Changing Academic Profession in Hong Kong.

Jun 23, 2017
Julian Gewirtz on Chinese Reformers and Western Economists

For nearly three decades Mao’s China closed itself to the influence of non-Marxist thought as it established a rigid command economy. When Mao died in 1976, China’s leaders embarked on a large-scale process of learning from abroad. The intellectual breadth of Chinese reformers in those early years was remarkably broad as they sought input from Nobel Prize winning economists, World Bank officials, free market fundamentalists, and an unlikely array of other partners. Many who participated in these exchanges recall it as a “golden age” of intellectual openness.

Even as China’s economic policy makers hastened to import ideas and expertise that could help them “cross the river by feeling for the stones,” the new openness did not go unchallenged. The Maoist legacy of suspicion towards the west remains powerful to this day, and the communist government is still reluctant to acknowledge fully its engagement with foreign ideas. In his new book, Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China, historian Julian Gewirtz uncovers the real story of China’s reform project and sheds light on the partnerships that helped build the world’s second largest economy. On June 12, 2017, Mr. Gewirtz joined the National Committee for a discussion of his book, in a conversation with National Committee President Stephen Orlins.

Julian Baird Gewirtz is the author of Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China (Harvard University Press, 2017), which The Economist called “a gripping read, highlighting what was little short of a revolution in China’s economic thought.” A Rhodes Scholar, he is currently completing his doctorate in modern Chinese history at Oxford University. He most recently worked as special advisor for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy and previously worked for Alibaba, Facebook, and Caijing magazine. Mr. Gewirtz has written on China for The Washington Post, the Financial Times, and Foreign Affairs. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 2013 and received a master’s degree in history from Oxford University in 2014. 

Jun 23, 2017
James Stent: China's Banking: The Untold Story

China watchers have long predicted the imminent collapse of China’s banking system. Between increased reliance on unstable funding sources, and an expanding credit to GDP gap, experts’ concerns are not unwarranted. Yet the collapse has not happened. In China’s Banking Transformation: The Untold Story, former banking director James Stent looks at what the experts have been missing, and why their predictions have not materialized. On June 5, 2017, Mr. Stent joined National Committee President Stephen Orlins for a discussion of his book, his views on the Chinese banking sector, and what they mean for our understanding of China’s political economy overall.

Challenging the mainstream consensus on China’s banking system, Mr. Stent argues Chinese banks are hybrid organizations, which simultaneously respond to shareholder interests and the demands of party-defined economic goals. Understanding how Chinese banking has transformed since the early 1990s requires looking at China’s banks in the context of how the country’s political economy works, and at the continuing influence of China’s traditional culture on its contemporary institutions.

Drawing on his experience working inside two of China’s top banks, Mr. Stent examines some of the key strengths of China’s banking system, and explains the unique political and cultural factors that must be considered in assessing the success of Chinese banks.


James Stent has pursued a career in financial services in Thailand and China. Beginning in 2006, he served for six years as an independent director and chairman of the audit committee of the China Everbright Bank, followed by four years as a member of the bank’s Board of Supervisors. From 2003 to 2006 he was an independent director on the board of the China Minsheng Bank in Beijing. He is presently an independent director and chairman of the audit committee of the XacBank of Mongolia.

Mr. Stent worked for 18 years in Bangkok at Bank of Asia, a Thai bank, serving as deputy president of the bank until his retirement in 2002, continuing thereafter as a director of the bank until 2004. Jim began his banking career with Citibank, working in New York, Manila, and Hong Kong. He then joined Crocker National Bank, working in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Bangkok, before moving to the Bank of Asia.

In addition to his banking career, Mr. Stent also has experience in cultural heritage protection and tourism development. He is chairman of the steering committee of the Siamese Heritage Trust, and previously served as director of the Raks Thai Foundation and as a council member and honorary treasurer of the Siam Society. He also served for three years as the CEO of WildChina, a Chinese travel firm specializing in cultural and ecological tourism.

Mr. Stent grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received a bachelor’s degree in history at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s of public affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he focused on development economics. He speaks and reads Chinese and Thai.

Jun 15, 2017
David Zweig: Hong Kong & Beijing: A Complicated Relationship

In 2014, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement grabbed international headlines, shut down the city’s largest commercial districts, and generated concern about Hong Kong’s political future. Images of city streets awash in yellow, and protesters clashing with police quickly spread around the world, and many observers believed the movement heralded significant changes to Hong Kong’s political structure. Three years after calm was restored, questions remain: what is the political mood on Hong Kong campuses? Are freedoms being gradually eroded? What is the future of One Country-Two Systems under the newly elected Chief Executive Carrie Lam?

 David Zweig, a long time Hong Kong resident, and a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has been watching the situation closely, and on May 15, 2017 he shared his insights with the National Committee in a conversation moderated by NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins. Dr. Zweig addressed a variety of issues including political resistance, academic freedom, reverse brain drain, and the current contradictions between the former British colony and Beijing. 

 David Zweig is chair professor for the Division of Social Science and director at the Center on China’s Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is also an adjunct professor at the National University of Defense Technology’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Changsha (Hunan), as well as vice-president of the Center on China’s Globalization in Beijing.

Jun 15, 2017
Qin Gao on China’s Social Assistance

Even as the China’s economic reforms in the 1980s and 90s laid the foundation for it to become an economic powerhouse, increasingly wide gaps opened up between rich and poor, leaving behind those ill equipped to compete in a market economy. The massive changes taking place were also reflected in the uneven distribution of social welfare benefits, which tended to accrue to those best positioned to succeed under the new system. In 1993, Shanghai implemented a minimum livelihood guarantee or dibao, an anti-poverty safety net. Since then, the program has expanded throughout China and is centrally regulated. Today, it serves as the country’s primary social insurance program. Even though it is the largest welfare program in the world, there has been little English-language research evaluating the effectiveness of the dibao system. In her new book, Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China, Columbia University professor and expert on low-income families in China Qin Gao attempts to rectify this deficiency by answering key questions about the program’s efficacy.

Dr. Gao examines how successful the dibao system has been at alleviating poverty, as well as patterns of behavior and the sense of well-being among dibao recipients. Her work not only deepens our understanding of entitlements in China, but also adds the Chinese case as a comparative example to the growing body of literature looking at welfare systems around the world. On May 10, 2017, Dr. Gao joined the National Committee in New York City for a discussion of her book, the development and expansion of the dibao system, as well as its policy implications for China and other countries. The conversation is moderated by Professor Mark Frazier, director of the India China Institute at The New School. 

Qin Gao is professor of social policy and social work at the Columbia University School of Social Work and director of the newly established China Center for Social Policy at the school. She is a faculty affiliate of the Columbia Population Research Center and Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She is also an academic board member of the China Institute for Income Distribution at Beijing Normal University, and is a Public Intellectuals Program fellow of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Mark W. Frazier is professor of politics at the New School for Social Research, and academic director of the India China Institute at The New School.

May 31, 2017
Howard French: How the Past Shapes China’s Push for Power

Author Howard French discusses his new book Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Shapes China's Push for Global Power. Until the mid-19th century, China occupied the premier place in East Asia’s political order. Exercising cultural and political hegemony through a set of tributary relationships with its neighbors, China’s imperial bureaucrats developed a conception of rule different from the Westphalian idea of individual nation states. After more than a century of political turmoil, China is once again asserting itself on the global stage, and many observers have interpreted China’s present ambitions as an attempt to restore its former glory. Combining journalistic and historical research methods, Howard French delves into the link between contemporary China and its imperial past in his new book.

Howard French is a former New York Times reporter, and an expert on China. In Everything Under the Heavens, he examines how China’s leaders understand their own history, and analyzes the ideological, philosophical, and legal implications of this intellectual heritage. He also explains what this means for U.S.-China relations going forward. Mr. French joined the National Committee in New York City on May 2 to discuss his book and strategies for engaging a resurgent China with Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman.

Howard French is an associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is a former reporter for The Washington Post and former bureau chief for The New York Times in Central America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, Japan, and China. He is the recipient of two Overseas Press Club awards and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee. He is the author of A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa and China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa. He has written for The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone, among other national publications. 


May 08, 2017
Sheena Greitens: Assessing China’s Domestic Security

In March 2011, China’s spending on internal security surpassed the budget for external defense for the first time. This was widely interpreted as evidence that China’s internal security apparatus – long seen as a highly repressive pillar of Communist Party rule – was tightening its control. In an upcoming piece for the China Quarterly, political scientist, China expert, and National Committee Public Intellectuals Program fellow Sheena Greitens challenges this understanding by contextualizing China’s security spending historically, and evaluating it against the magnitude of the threats it must address. Looking at a period of two decades, Dr. Greitens argues that China’s domestic security spending is more limited than most policy analysis suggests, and actually implies a weaker coercive capacity than is usually presumed. On April 26, Dr. Greitens joined National Committee President Stephen Orlins for a discussion of her current research, China’s domestic security budget, and its connection to developments in internal security under Xi Jinping.

Sheena Greitens is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.  Dr. Greitens holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University; an M.Phil from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar; and a B.A. from Stanford University. Her research focuses on East Asia, security studies, and the politics of democracy and dictatorship. Her first book, Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

May 05, 2017
Jasmine Lau & Tong Ning: Philanthropy in China

As China has developed into an industrial powerhouse, so, too, has its philanthropic sector expanded. In 2016 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RFB) launched a fellowship program to honor the memory and interests of its former board chair, Dr. Richard Rockefeller, and to promote strategic philanthropy in China. Each year, the Richard Rockefeller Fellowship offers two young professionals who are committed to the growth of Chinese philanthropy the opportunity to study and work out of RFB’s New York office for six months. In addition to focusing on their own projects, the fellows meet and exchange ideas and experiences with Americans in the philanthropic sector.

On March 27, 2017 in New York City, National Committee Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman interviewed the inaugural Richard Rockefeller Fellows, Jasmine Lau, cofounder and executive director of Philanthropy in Motion, and Tong Ning, director of the China Philanthropy Research Institute’s Center for Teaching Management, about their work, their reflections on American philanthropy, and the future of China’s philanthropic sector.

May 05, 2017
Michael Green: U.S. Strategy and Power in the Asia Pacific

American strategic engagement with the Asia Pacific has deep roots in American history, going back to the nation’s founding. Despite the difficulties of formulating and maintaining a coherent grand strategy amid democratic competition, the United States has, over more than 200 years, developed a distinctive approach to the region based on its interests and national identity. In a new book, By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Georgetown University expert Michael Green argues that American strategic thinking towards Asia has been defined by the fear that a rival power might seek to exclude the United States from the western Pacific, preventing the free flow of trade and ideas.

In By More than Providence, Dr. Green fills an important gap in existing scholarship on the strategic calculus in East Asia. Through examination of the thinking of America’s greatest statesmen and strategists and by outlining the development of U.S. grand strategy towards Asia, he adds a crucial element to our understanding of the balance of power in the region, and to what is at stake in American engagement there today. On March 28, Dr. Green joined National Committee President Steve Orlins in New York City for a discussion of the history of American strategy in Asia, and the most pressing contemporary strategic challenges our country faces in the region.

Michael Green is senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and chair in modern and contemporary Japanese politics and foreign policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He served on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) from 2001 through 2005, first as director for Asian affairs, with responsibility for Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, and then as special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for Asia, with responsibility for East Asia and South Asia. Before joining the NSC staff, he was senior fellow for East Asian security at the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center, and director of the Foreign Policy Institute.

May 05, 2017
Syaru Shirley Lin: Taiwan’s China Dilemma

The election of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in January 2016 brought renewed uncertainty to cross-strait relations. Taiwan is more economically integrated with mainland China than ever before, yet the PRC continues to pose a threat to Taiwanese self-government, and has not renounced the use of force to achieve unification. Even as the core dilemma between security and economics has driven Taiwanese politics for over two decades, shifting political winds on the island have refocused attention on the contradictions that shape Taiwan’s policy environment. Ever since Taiwan began allowing direct investment on the mainland in 1991, shared cultural ties and convergent economic interests have helped promote trade and investment, both of which exceed $130 billion. Yet the process has been far from linear, and both of Taiwan’s main political parties have at different times advocated liberalization and tightening. In the most recent policy reversal, the Sunflower Movement of 2014 succeeded in blocking a major cross-strait trade deal, undermining the détente orchestrated by Ma Ying-jeou.

An expert on global political economy and former partner at Goldman Sachs, Syaru Shirley Lin teaches at the University of Virginia and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In her book Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy, Dr. Lin analyzes how national identity and economic interest interact to produce policy oscillations in Taiwan’s stance towards its gigantic neighbor. Dr. Lin also examines how the uneven socio-economic consequences of globalization in Taiwan influence the formation of its China policy, and argues that the Taiwan case offers a way of understanding resistance to trade liberalization and economic integration around the world. Dr. Lin discussed her book, and the future of cross-strait economic relations, with National Committee President Stephen Orlins on November 3, 2016 in New York City. 

May 05, 2017
Hollywood Made In China: Interview with Aynne Kokas

China’s booming film market has become an essential consideration for the production of Hollywood movies and is expected to overtake the U.S. market by 2017. In an effort to take advantage of this growth, American entertainment conglomerates are increasingly partnering with Chinese studios, and producing products for the Chinese market. So far, they have been highly successful, with four of the ten all-time highest grossing films in China produced by U.S. studios. As American entertainment companies seek to expand their global media empires, they must contend with the constraints of Chinese censorship as well as Beijing’s campaign to elevate its own soft power abroad. How will America’s entertainment powerhouses and China’s burgeoning film industry collaborate to build their global brand identities? Will Hollywood sacrifice its critical and artistic license to placate the Chinese Communist Party?

On February 27, 2017, Dr. Kokas joined National Committee Senior Program Officer Sarah Jessup for a discussion of her new book Hollywood Made in China and the Chinese future of America’s “dream factory.” 

Dr. Kokas discusses topics from her book, including the commercial relationships that resulted in such works as The Great Wall and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as well as their impact on the production and content of major Hollywood films. Dr. Kokas also examines the effect of China’s soft power campaign and Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” on entertainment industry branding.

Aynne Kokas is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Dr. Kokas’ research broadly examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. Her book, Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017), argues that Chinese investment and regulations have fundamentally altered the landscape of the U.S. commercial media industry, most prominently in the case of major conglomerates that rely on leveraging global commercial brands. Dr. Kokas has been a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She is a non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Apr 06, 2017
Analysis of China's Overseas Development: Brad Parks, AidData

Over the last decade, China has emerged as one of the largest suppliers of international development finance, with a large and growing overseas development budget. Yet China does not release detailed information about the “where, what, how, and to whom” of its development aid. This presents an obstacle for policy makers, practitioners, and analysts who seek to understand the distribution and impact of Chinese development finance.


Since 2013, AidData has led an ambitious effort to develop an open source data collection methodology called Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF), and maintain a publicly available database of Chinese development projects around the world. AidData has also teamed up with a group of economists and political scientists from leading universities around the world to conduct cutting-edge research with this database, examining differences and similarities in the levels, priorities, and consequences of Chinese and American development finance.


On March 13, Dr. Brad Parks, executive director of AidData and a faculty member at the College of William and Mary, discussed the organization’s work with the National Committee in New York City. Drawing on advanced techniques that include using nighttime light and deforestation data from high-resolution satellite imagery, Dr. Parks presented new findings on the intended economic development impacts and the unintended environmental impacts of Chinese development projects.


Brad Parks is AidData’s executive director and a research faculty member at the College of William and Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. His research focuses on the cross-national and sub-national distribution and impact of international development finance, and the design and implementation of policy and institutional reforms in low-income and middle-income countries. His publications include Greening Aid?, Understanding the Environmental Impact of Development Assistance (Oxford University Press, 2008) and A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy (MIT Press, 2006). He is currently involved in several empirical studies of the upstream motivations for, and downstream effects of, Chinese development finance. His research in this area has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Development StudiesChina Economic Quarterly, and the National Interest.


From 2005 to 2010, Dr. Parks was part of the initial team that set up the U.S. Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). As acting director of Threshold Programs at the MCC, he oversaw the implementation of a $35 million anti-corruption and judicial reform project in Indonesia and a $21 million customs and tax reform project in the Philippines.

Dr. Parks holds a Ph.D. in international relations and an M.Sc. in development management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Mar 17, 2017
Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Interview with Cheng Li

Since becoming general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, Xi Jinping has pursued a bold policy agenda designed to strengthen the party and enhance influence abroad, consolidating more power and authority than any Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping. Throughout this period, President Xi’s actions and pronouncements have often seemed to be contradictory. He has called for greater legal development, championed China’s think tanks, and advanced cooperation with the United States on key issues of global concern. At the same time, his administration has prosecuted human rights lawyers, tightened media control, and restrained foreign NGOs. He is a strong proponent of market reforms but has yet to adequately address overcapacity in the state sector. Xi’s paradoxical pursuits have inspired widely different conclusions among analysts about his ultimate intentions. But in the context of China’s domestic politics, these apparent contradictions reflect a certain logic. Comprehending the inner workings of Chinese politics is therefore essential to gauging the prospects for U.S.-China relations, particularly as a new U.S. president takes office and as China’s top leaders jockey for power ahead of the 2017 party congress.


In his new work, Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership, Brookings Institution scholar Cheng Li reveals the status of political institutionalization in Xi’s China by examining the backgrounds of the 376 members of the party’s Central Committee. Dr. Li contextualizes President Xi’s rise and illuminates the intriguing dynamics of factional politics within the party. On January 25, in a conversation with National Committee President Stephen Orlins, Dr. Li shared his insights into Chinese elite politics, his analysis of Xi Jinping’s views and vision, and his forecast of the upcoming leadership change at the 2017 party congress.


Cheng Li is director and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center. Dr. Li is also on the National Committee’s board of directors, a member of the Academic Advisory Team of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Committee of 100.

Dr. Li has advised a wide range of U.S. government, education, research, business and not-for-profit organizations on work in China. He is the author and editor of numerous books, He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series, published by the Brookings Institution Press.

Dr. Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In 1985, he came to the United States, where he received an M.A. in Asian studies from the University of California and a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University.


Feb 24, 2017
Author Interview: John Pomfret, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom

Award-winning author John Pomfret discusses his newly published The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, tracing the history of Sino-American relations, in a conversation with National Committee President Stephen Orlins on January 23, 2017 in New York.

Although the contemporary U.S.-China relationship has grown out of Nixon and Kissinger’s visits to China in the 1970s, the foundations of Sino-American exchange are hundreds of years old. Since the establishment of the United States, missionaries, traders, scholars, and laborers have formed bridges between the two cultures, tracing familiar patterns of interaction that continue to play out today. As points of contact between the U.S. and China have proliferated over the last two centuries, the relationship has consistently been characterized by enormous promise and deep ambivalence.

John Pomfret, former reporter for The Washington Post, and a long-time resident of China, takes a new look at the long history of U.S.-China relations in his recent book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present. He describes cycles of mutual understanding and collaboration, and bitter disappointment. As U.S.-China relations approach a new inflection point, Mr. Pomfret’s account of the history of the relationship provides illuminating perspectives on the present. 

Feb 10, 2017
Watching the Era of Xi and Trump Part II: Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Noted China expert Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, discusses relations between China and America in the dawning era of Xi and Trump, in an interview with National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Senior Director for Education Programs, Margot Landman, on December 12, 2016.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he also holds appointments in law and literary journalism. His most recent books are, as editor, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, and, as author, Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo, both published this year. A regular contributor to newspapers, magazines, and blogs, he is a former member of the board of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Jan 11, 2017
Watching the Era of Xi and Trump Part I: Jiayang Fan

New Yorker magazine Staff Writer Jiayang Fan discusses relations between China and America in the dawning era of Xi and Trump, in an interview with National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Senior Director for Education Programs, Margot Landman, on December 12, 2016.

Jiayang Fan is a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine, where she writes about China and Chinese-American politics and culture. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewThe New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review, among other places. Ms. Fan was born in Chongqing, moving to the United States at the age of eight. She graduated from Williams College with a double major in philosophy and English literature. She received a Fulbright scholarship to spend a year in Korea.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Jan 11, 2017
Hong Kong in the Shadow of China: Richard Bush

Unresolved questions about Hong Kong’s political future, long hidden beneath the surface of the territory’s bustling commercial activity, burst to the forefront in 2014 in response to proposed electoral reforms. Since then the debate over democracy in Hong Kong has developed into a significant challenge to Beijing’s vision for the former British colony. The Umbrella Movement, the 2015 “Fishball Revolution,” and the recent LegCo oath-taking controversy, have brought attention to the issues as Hong Kong’s economic inequality has grown, community-police relations have deteriorated, and some citizens worry that they are losing control of their own cultural and political destiny.

An expert on China’s relations with its neighbors, Richard Bush is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and is director of its Center for East Asia Policy Studies. In his new book, Hong Kong in the Shadow of China: Living with the Leviathan, Dr. Bush examines both the immediate and long term causes of Hong Kong’s demonstrations, and analyzes the emergence of a pro-democracy movement galvanized by millennials’ activism. He explores the options available to Hong Kong and China, as well as what they must do to ensure both economic competitiveness and good governance. On December 7, 2016, Dr. Bush discussed his book, the Hong Kong protests, and their implications for U.S policy with the National Committee in New York City, in a conversation moderated by National Committee President Stephen Orlins.

Jan 03, 2017
Aaron Halegua: Who Will Represent China’s Workers?

The Chinese economic miracle of the last three decades has been powered by millions of people transitioning out of agriculture and into urban industrial jobs, transforming labor relations in the process. Legal mechanisms have struggled to keep pace with the frictions and challenges that accompanied marketization and the fastest urbanization in history. Progress in legislating legal protections for workers is often hampered by problems of implementation and employer preferences for unofficial mediation. New research suggests that labor unrest is on the rise, and the gap between legal needs and services remains substantial. Even though China’s Labor Law has been on the books since 1994 and was revised and updated in 2008, problems of wage arrears, workplace injuries, and illegal subcontracting persist. The effectiveness of attempts to curtail employer misconduct is not only an essential question for working class Chinese, but is also of great interest to a regime that emphasizes stability and social harmony.

Aaron Halegua, an expert on U.S. and Chinese employment law, has written a new, in-depth report on the legal challenges confronting Chinese workers. In Who Will Represent China’s Workers? Lawyers, Legal Aid and the Enforcement of Labor Rights (October, 2016), Mr. Halegua looks at the structural causes of labor abuses, and offers policy solutions that would bolster legal protections for workers. In a December 1, 2016 interview in New York City, Mr. Halegua shared his findings and discussed the future of Chinese labor law with the National Committee’s Senior Director for Education Programs Margot E. Landman. 

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Dec 12, 2016
Interview: Chinese Leadership and the Tide of History: Kerry Brown

Do leaders make history or does history make leaders? At a National Committee program on November 10, 2016, in New York City, Kerry Brown tackled these perennial questions as he talked about the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, which he edited—the first work of its kind in over a century. Brown presented Chinese biography as a uniquely useful way to understand historical events, and discussed the influence of individual Chinese leaders, in different fields, over the last four decades. He also discussed his book CEO, China: The Rise of Xi Jinping, which examines the role of Xi Jinping today and contrasts him with Chinese leaders of the past. Brown discussed Chinese leadership questions in a global context, and explored how individuals are shaped by their times but also have the potential to influence Chinese and world history. He was joined in conversation by NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins.

Kerry Brown is professor of Chinese Studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London. From 2012 to 2015 he was professor of Chinese Politics and director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to this he worked at Chatham House from 2006 to 2012, as senior fellow and then head of the Asia Programme. From 1998 to 2005 he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as first secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, and then as head of the Indonesia, Philippine and East Timor Section. He lived in the Inner Mongolia region of China from 1994 to 1996.

Dr. Brown has a Master of Arts from Cambridge University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Mandarin Chinese (Distinction) from Thames Valley University, London, and a PhD in Chinese politics and language from Leeds University.  He is the author of over ten books on modern Chinese politics, history and language, the most recent of which are The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China (2014) and What's Wrong with Diplomacy: The Case of the UK and China (2015). He was editor in chief of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography (in four volumes- 2014-2015). His CEO, China: the Rise of Xi Jinping was published in 2016.

Nov 30, 2016
The Business Environment in China: John Frisbie, USCBC President

Heading into 2016, some expected a sharp decline in China’s economic growth. So far, China has avoided a hard landing and continues to meet its modified growth targets, but the slowdown is clearly real. As China adjusts to its “new normal,” business leaders remain anxious about the long term prospects of the world’s second largest economy. Concerned about lagging structural reforms, high corporate debt ratios, stock market volatility, and hesitant policy responses, market sentiment is softening, and uncertainty prevails. Slowing growth has also reduced American corporate profits, but China is still the most attractive emerging market in the world, and most companies have decided to stay – at least for now. The US-China Business Council’s (USCBC) Annual Membership Survey captures how American companies view the changing business environment and are responding to this challenge. 

The survey’s data reveals the difficult position of American business leaders operating in China. While nearly 20 percent of respondents expect their revenue to decline in the coming year, 90 percent say their business remains profitable and that China continues to be a priority market. On October 20, 2016, USCBC President John Frisbie presented the survey’s key findings, in a discussion with National Committee President Stephen Orlins.


John Frisbie, president of the USCBC since 2004, has 30 years of experience in business and government relations with China, including nearly 10 years living and working in Beijing.

Mr. Frisbie started his career with the USCBC in 1986, first working in USCBC’s Washington, D.C., office, then as director of China operations in Beijing from 1988 to 1993. He joined General Electric (GE) in 1993 as director for business development in China for the company’s diverse set of businesses and then moved to Singapore to assume Asia-wide positions for two GE units.

Mr. Frisbie returned to the United States in 2000, joining the trade consulting practice established by former Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP. Four years later he returned to USCBC as president.

His China background includes mergers and acquisitions, commercial negotiations, operating best practices and execution, strategy development, trade and investment consulting, policy analysis and advocacy, U.S. and PRC government relations, and media relations. He has spoken at numerous conferences and events; written articles for the China Business Review, USCBC’s digital magazine; and has been published in other outlets such as the Financial Times, Current History, and the Journal of Commerce. He has also been extensively quoted in articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Caixin, among other publications.

Oct 31, 2016
China’s New NGO Management Law: Shawn Shieh
Jul 12, 2016
South China Sea: U.S. & Chinese Expert Perspectives
Jul 07, 2016
China’s Economy: Interview with Author Arthur Kroeber

On August 24, 2015, global financial markets plunged following China’s “Black Monday,” the largest sell-off in the history of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Following a burst in the stock market bubble in June 2015, trillions of dollars were erased from the stock index throughout the summer, with the largest day of losses hitting on Black Monday. The sheer scale of the stock market crash, accompanied by weak manufacturing data and an unexpected devaluation of China’s currency exacerbated long held concerns by some economists that China’s economic development was unstable. In his new book, China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to KnowArthur Kroeberargues that many of these fears are exaggerated.

To understand the context of the current economic situation, Dr. Kroeber describes how the Chinese economy has evolved since 1979 and the initial reforms of the Deng Xiaoping era. The Communist Party of China has effectively managed the transformation of the economy. The Chinese leadership was able to learn from the examples of other East Asian “development states.” While there are considerable similarities, Dr. Kroeber notes that there are also profound differences between China’s development model and those of Japan and South Korea; the similarities and the differences have a profound impact on the prospects for China’s economy.

As Western economies continue to struggle to rebound from the global financial crisis of 2008, worldwide economic progress has been dependent on China’s unprecedented economic successes. Some analysts fear that systemic flaws in China’s economy will undermine China’s economic potential. Join us as Arthur R. Kroeber discusses the Chinese economy as it moves in a consumer-driven direction amid demographic and environmental challenges, with the National Committee on May 18, in New York City.

Arthur R. Kroeber is head of research at Gavekal, a financial-services firm based in Hong Kong, founder of the China-focused Gavekal Dragonomics research service, and editor of China Economic Quarterly. He divides his time between Beijing and New York. Before founding Dragonomics in 2002, he spent fifteen years as a financial and economic journalist in China and South Asia.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.


May 24, 2016
Book Launch Interview: Street of Eternal Happiness - Author Rob Schmitz

Within the past few decades, China has undergone a series of profound social changes stemming from globalization and its own domestic economic reforms and political development. Cultural attitudes deeply embedded in China for centuries have changed seemingly overnight with the expansion of the Chinese middle class.

Perhaps no city in China quite exemplifies this colossal transformation like Shanghai. Once a moderately sized port city, Shanghai has quickly become a sprawling global financial and cultural center rivaling New York and London. The economic promise of Shanghai has attracted millions of Chinese and foreigners alike seeking to partake in the seeming torrent of capital, ideas, and opportunity. One of these dreamers is Rob Schmitz, who traveled to Shanghai as a correspondent for Marketplace. While immersing himself in his neighborhood, Mr. Schmitz encountered a web of individuals whose life stories together portray the mosaic of contemporary China. In his new book, Street of Eternal Happiness, Schmitz narrates the experiences of these everyday people, and the hardships many have endured in their struggle to adapt to an ever-changing China. As he became more involved in their lives, Schmitz made surprising discoveries that reveal a family’s – and country’s - dark past, and an abandoned neighborhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed.

A tale of 21st century China, Street of Eternal Happiness profiles China’s distinct generations through individuals whose lives illuminate an enlightening, humorous, and at times heartrending journey along the winding road to the Chinese Dream. Each story adds another layer of humanity and texture to modern China. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, presenting us instead with the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world’s most captivating cities. Join us as Rob Schmitz launches his book with the National Committee on May 17, in New York City.

Rob Schmitz is the China correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace, the largest business news program in the U.S. with more than 12 million listeners a week. Mr. Schmitz has won several awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards and an Education Writers Association award. His work was also a finalist for the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His reporting in Japan — from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami — was included in the publication “100 Great Stories,” celebrating the centennial of Columbia University’s Journalism School. In 2012, Rob exposed the fabrications in Mike Daisey’s account of Apple’s supply chain on This American Life. His report was featured in the show’s “Retraction” episode, the most downloaded episode in the program’s 16-year history.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

May 24, 2016
Maoism at the Grassroots: Author Interview with Matthew Johnson & Jeremy Brown

The political ideology of Mao Zedong swept China following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and still has an impact on life in contemporary China.

Maoism at the Grassroots, edited by Matthew D. Johnson and Jeremy Brown, examines the first decades of the People’s Republic of China from the perspective of ordinary people. While the Mao era is often regarded as a time of Party-state dominance—achieved through massive political campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution—the authors in this volume marshal new research to reveal a wide array of individual viewpoints and local experiences during China’s years of high socialism.

Focusing on the period from the mid-1950s to 1980, the authors provide insights into the everyday lives of citizens across social strata, ethnicities, and regions. They explore how ordinary men and women risked persecution and imprisonment to assert personal beliefs and identities. Many displayed a shrewd knack for negotiating the complicated power structures of everyday Maoism, appropriating regime ideology in their daily lives while finding ways to express discontent and challenge the state’s pervasive control. Men had gay relationships in factory dormitories, teenagers wrote searing complaints in diaries, farmers formed secret societies and worshipped forbidden spirits. These diverse undercurrents were as representative of ordinary people’s lives as the ideals depicted in state propaganda.

Bringing together contributions from scholars in China, Europe, North America, and Taiwan, Maoism at the Grassroots offers fresh insights into the day-to-day realities of life under Mao. Matthew Johnson and Jeremy Brown reevaluated the history of Maoism and its impact on Chinese society with the National Committee on May 10, 2016 in New York City.

Jeremy Brown is an associate professor of history at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of City Versus Countryside in Mao’s China: Negotiating the Divide, and editor of Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism (co-edited with Matthew D. Johnson) and Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People’s Republic of China (co-edited with Paul G. Pickowicz).  His recent research on the social history of accidents in the People's Republic of China has been supported by a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  He is also writing a new history of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.  


Matthew Johnson is an associate professor of East Asian history and chair of the East Asian Studies concentration at Grinnell College. As a Fulbright scholar he carried out an archive- and interview-based history of China's Mao-era film industry, and he is the author and editor of numerous academic publications on Chinese media, culture, and society. He is also a founder of the PRC History Group ( and an editor of the H-PRC listserv and open-access journal The PRC History Review.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

May 24, 2016
China Economy & Business Interview: Amcham Shanghai President Ken Jarrett

Kenneth Jarrett, President, American Chamber of Commerce, Shanghai, discusses China’s economy, current economic data and the business climate in China. Mr. Jarrett also remarks on what American companies can expect in navigating the Chinese market as global and internal economic factors affect the U.S. and Chinese economies, in a conversation with National Committee on U.S.-China Relations President Stephen Orlins on May 5, 2016 in New York City.


Kenneth Jarrett became president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in September 2013.  Prior to that he was the Greater China chairman for APCO Worldwide, a public affairs consultancy (2008-2013), and before that a U.S. diplomat (1982-2008).  During his 26-year diplomatic career, Mr. Jarrett’s postings included consul general in Shanghai, deputy consul general in Hong Kong, and director of Asian Affairs at the White House National Security Council.  He also served in Beijing, Chengdu, and Singapore, and had several assignments in Washington, DC.  Mr. Jarrett has degrees from Cornell University, Yale University and the National War College. He is the recipient of the Magnolia Award (Silver) from the Shanghai government and is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

May 24, 2016
China, India and the U.S.: Interview with Author Anja Manuel

Some people argue that the global balance of power is shifting away from the North Atlantic and toward the Asia-Pacific as countries such as India and China gain economic, military, and political influence. India and China may appear to be developing new international systems – for example, through the AIIB – that could threaten the post-war order developed by the United States and Western Europe. However, long-simmering tensions between India and China make it clear that they do not form a united bloc, and present an opportunity for the United States to play a role in re-shaping the balance of power throughout the world. 

Given the considerable differences arising between New Delhi and Beijing, and the fact that each country confronts enormous domestic issues including poverty, corruption, and environmental degradation on a huge scale, how can the United States manage its relationships with the two rising Asian powers?  For the third installment of our 50th Anniversary series, China and the World, Ms. Anja Manuel, author of This Brave New World: India, China and the United States, described the Sino-Indian relationship and the role the United States may play in creating a new balance of power with both India and China. Moderated by National Committee President Stephen Orlins, the program was held on May 9, 2016 in New York City.

 Anja Manuel is co-founder and partner, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, of RiceHadleyGates LLC, a strategic consulting firm.

Anja Manuel is also a lecturer in the International Policy Studies Program at Stanford University where she designed and teaches a course on U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

From 2005 to 2007, Anja Manuel served as special assistant to Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns at the U.S. Department of State. In this role, Ms. Manuel was responsible for South Asia policy, Congressional outreach and legal matters. She was part of the negotiating team for the U.S.-India civilian nuclear accord, helped to secure passage of the accord in the U.S. Congress, and was deeply involved in developing U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.


May 18, 2016
China and Russia: Interview with Dr. Maria Repnikova

With the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese communist leadership established a formal alliance with the Soviet Union. The pact between the two communist giants proved to be short-lived as ideological differences between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, coupled with the growing fear in China of Soviet encirclement, compromised the alliance. Eventually, following several border skirmishes, including a war in 1969, China’s leaders feared a Soviet invasion. To counter this, Mao sought rapprochement with the United States, a move that would define Sino-Soviet relations until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

For the second installment of our 50th Anniversary series, China and the World, Dr. Maria Repnikova, expert on Sino-Russian relations, described the latest developments in the relationship with National Committee President Stephen Orlins on April 18, 2016 in New York City.    

Dr. Maria Repnikova is a scholar of comparative Chinese and Russian media politics and Sino-Russian relations. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where she is completing a book on critical journalists in China.

Apr 22, 2016
History of China’s Foreign Relations: Author Interview - John Garver

Dr. John Garver, author of China’s Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China discussed his book with National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Vice President Jan Berris on April 14, 2016 in New York City.

When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, China was in a state of disarray. Decades of occupation and civil war had left the country fractured and impoverished. The nation embarked on an ambitious effort to overhaul its economic and political systems. While its domestic agenda was the priority for the Communist Party of China, China had to develop a foreign policy, particularly to deal with the world’s capitalist countries in the midst of the Cold War.

With memories of the “century of humiliation” fresh in Chinese people’s minds, countering inroads of Western bourgeois liberalism was at the top of the international agenda during the early years of the PRC. As the Cold War evolved, however, so, too, did China’s foreign policy concerns.  Following Stalin’s death, China’s leadership grew increasingly skeptical of the Soviet Union and the intentions of its new Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. The Sino-Soviet split exposed what author and scholar John W. Garver considers the real force shaping the PRC’s foreign policy: regime survival. While many political scientists have analyzed China’s approach to the split through a realist lens, focusing on national interest, Dr. Garver argues that de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union threatened the ideological foundation of the Chinese communist regime. 

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.


Apr 22, 2016
The Greening of Asia: Author Interview - Mark Clifford

In the months leading up to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, China began making a series of pledges to overhaul its environmental and energy policies. To curb emissions, it announced the creation of a cap-and-trade program, restrictions on domestic coal production, and investment in renewable energy. At the Paris conference, China’s top climate negotiator expressed confidence in the measures and policies China was putting into place.

However, questions remain whether China’s new approaches will be sufficient to curb global climate change. Despite being the world’s largest investor in green energy, China is still the world’s largest producer of greenhouses gases. Furthermore, recent allegations that China has been underreporting carbon emissions have cast doubt on China’s ability to meet its international environmental commitments.

On April 5, 2016 at the National Committee’s New York offices, Mark L. Clifford, author of The Greening of Asia: The Business Case for Solving Asia’s Environmental Emergency, discussed his latest research with National Committee President Stephen Orlins.


Mark L. Clifford is the Hong Kong-based executive director of the Asia Business Council. Previously he was editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Standard, and the Asia regional editor for BusinessWeek

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Apr 22, 2016
Occupational Hazards: Sex, Business and HIV in China – Author Interview: Elanah Uretsky

In this podcast, Dr. Elanah Uretsky discusses her recent book, Occupational Hazards:  Sex, Business, and HIV in Post-Mao China, with National Committee Program Officer Maura Cunningham. The book follows a group of Chinese businessmen and government officials as they conduct business in Beijing and western Yunnan Province, uncovering informal networks that result in political favors for the businessmen. The networks are built on liquor, cigarettes, food, and sex; risky behaviors turn into occupational hazards.

Occupational Hazards follows men both powerful and vulnerable - to China's growing epidemics of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Examining the relationships between elite masculine networking practices and vulnerability to HIV infection, the book includes the stories of numerous government officials and businessmen who visit commercial sex workers but avoid HIV testing for fear of threatening their economic and political status. Their lives are complicated by a political system that does not publicly acknowledge the risks and by international approaches to disease control that limit the reach of public health interventions. Dr. Uretsky offers insights into how complex socio-cultural and politico-economic negotiations affect the development of and approaches to China's HIV epidemic.

Dr. Uretsky discussed her research with the National Committee on March 15, 2016 in New York City. She is a medical anthropologist in the departments of global health, anthropology, and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Mar 21, 2016