The National Committee on United States-China Relations is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization that encourages understanding and cooperation between the United States and Greater China in the belief that sound and productive Sino-American relations serve vital American and world interests. With over four decades of experience developing innovative programs at the forefront of U.S.–China relations, the National Committee focuses its exchange, educational and policy activities on politics and security, education, governance and civil society, economic cooperation, media and transnational issues, addressing these with respect to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia | David Lampton
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the One Belt One Road policy, later known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global development strategy involving infrastructure projects and associated financing around the world. While the Chinese government frames the plan as one promoting transnational connectivity, critics see it as part of a strategy to achieve global dominance.
Rivers of Iron examines one aspect of the BRI: China’s effort to create an inter-country railway system connecting China and its seven Southeast Asian neighbors (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The book explores the political strengths and weaknesses of the plan, as well as the capacity of the countries involved to resist, shape, and perhaps take advantage of China’s actions. The authors seek to explain how domestic politics in the eight Asian nations shape their varying responses and behaviors. How does China wield power using infrastructure? Do smaller states have agency? How should we understand the role of infrastructure in broader development? Does industrial policy work? How should other global powers respond?
The National Committee held a virtual program on October 14, 2020 with Professor David M. Lampton.
Tensions in the Himalayas: The India-China Border Dispute
Recent border disputes between China and India began in April, escalating to a deadly clash on June 15. Indian authorities reported that 20 troops died in the hand-to-hand combat using clubs and rocks; the Chinese side has not released casualty information. In August, India accused China of provoking military tensions; China claimed that the stand-off was entirely India’s fault. The following month, China accused India of firing shots at its troops; India in turn accused China of firing shots in the air. If the allegations are true, it would be the first time that shots had been fired in 45 years.
There have been 17 rounds of talks since June, including a meeting of the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Moscow in September. What is behind the tensions along the 2,100-mile border some 21,000 feet above sea level in the rugged Himalayas? How likely is a resolution before the harsh winter arrives in a few weeks? What are the implications for China, India, and the United States?
On October 9, 2020, the National Committee held a virtual program with Ambassador Nirupana Rao, Dr. Arunabh Ghosh, and Dr. Shen Dingli.
Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy | Kishore Mahbubani
China and the United States are the world powers of the 21st century. With many differences in political philosophy and diplomatic methods, they approach each other warily and communicate poorly. In Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean diplomat and prolific scholar with access to policymakers in Beijing and Washington, has written a guide to the deep fault lines in the relationship, an assessment of the risks of confrontation, and an appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses, and superpower eccentricities, of the United States and China.
The National Committee held a virtual program on October 5, 2020 with Professor Kishore Mahbubani.
China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom & Vast Corruption | Yuen Yuen Ang
How has China grown so fast for so long despite extensive corruption? In China's Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang argues that although all corruption is harmful, it does not always hurt growth. Different forms of corruption have disparate impact; certain types actually stimulate investment and development while simultaneously posing serious risks for economic and political systems. Using a range of sources, Dr. Ang explains the evolution of Chinese corruption, how it differs from that of the West and other developing countries, and how President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign could affect growth and governance.
On September 30, 2020, the National Committee hosted a virtual program with Professor Yuen Yuen Ang.
When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China’s Reawakening
Dori Jones Yang was among the first American correspondents to cover China at the beginning of the reform era. Her memoir, When the Red Gates Opened, follows her rise from rookie reporter to experienced journalist. Her cross-cultural romance gave her deeper insights into how Deng Xiaoping’s reforms led to hopes for better lives. This sense of possibility reached its peak in 1989, when peaceful protesters filled Tiananmen Square, demanding democracy, among other things. On the ground in Beijing, Ms. Yang shared that hope, as well as the despair that followed. After Tiananmen, she returned to the United States, continuing to watch closely as China’s growth resumed.
The National Committee held a virtual program with author Ms. Dori Jones Yang on September 23, 2020 to discuss her book.
Feminist & Inclusive Foreign Policy and the U.S.-China Relationship
At a time when prominent voices in the U.S. foreign policy community – from both sides of the aisle – are calling upon the United States to take a new approach towards China, many are putting forward new ideas to define what a "new era" would look like. An increasingly timely discussion has revolved around making more direct connections between gender equality and national security – a "Feminist Foreign Policy."
On September 18, 2020, the National Committee held a virtual Congressional staff briefing with Stephenie Foster, Sarah Kemp, and Wenchi Yu, about feminist foreign policy and what its implementation could mean for the evolving U.S.-China relationship.