Chi Wang: Relations should always improve
Since 1995, the USCPF has brought about 600 congressional chiefs of staff and other senior staff members, from offices of Republicans and Democrats, to visit China, according to Wang.
The program aims to provide the participants with insight into the issues affecting modern Chinese and to serve as an introduction to China-US relations, especially those staff members who have never been to China.
The most recent delegation was composed of 11 congressional chiefs of staff, legislative directors and senior staff. Six of the participants work for senators and five work for US representatives.
They visited Beijing, Shenyang, Dandong and Harbin from Aug 22 to Sept 1.
“They were very interested to know more about the northeastern part of China,” Wang said.
Wang believes more interactions between the policymakers from the two countries would benefit both sides profoundly.
“I hope when the Chinese officials visit the US, they are more active to meet and talk to members of the Congress, not just officially; a private meeting would work better sometimes,” Wang said. “This would greatly enhance the understanding between the two countries and would benefit both sides.”
The USCPF also produces “China Forum”, an educational TV show on MHz Worldview on Sunday mornings. Each program discusses contemporary issues relating to China, featuring a diverse panel of experts.
Instead of advocating any specific policies toward China, the program aims to advance American understanding and awareness of the increasingly nuanced relationship.
The upcoming 21st anniversary of the USCPF has led Wang to think about new issues, such as how to open a new chapter for the foundation.
Wang said his life has always been profoundly influenced by the relations between China and the US.
When he came from China to the US in 1949, he pursued undergraduate studies in agricultural science at the University of Maryland because his father, Wang Shu-chang, who was governor of China’s Hebei province and a roommate of Chiang Kaishek while studying in cadet school in Japan, suggested that agriculture is very important to China, and he should bring back the advanced agricultural science and technologies to develop China’s agriculture.
However, soon after Wang arrived in the US, the People’s Republic of China was founded and Wang was not able to go back to his home country until 1972.
“Now there are about 300,000 Chinese students studying in the US,” Wang said. “However, there were only about 2,000 when I first visited. Though that was quite a small group, every one of us believes we carried a mission for our home country, China.”
Wang is hopeful about the future.
“I hope the next generation of the leadership of the foundation should be able to shoulder the responsibilities to promote China-US relations,” Wang said. “I hope the Chinese government will provide more support to us. Moral support is important to us,” Wang said. “I do hope the Chinese enterprises will provide more support to us. As a nonprofit, we really don’t need much. But the support from Chinese enterprise can show a responsibility and involvement.
“We are going to launch a survey of the Congress next year after the new members are sworn in. The survey will investigate how they think about China-US relations,” Wang said. “I hope there are more channels for the both sides to communicate. [The foundation] being one of the most important ones in the past 21 years, I hope we can do more in the future.”
Chi Wang, president and chairman of the US-China Policy Foundation, holding his new book, 70YearsofWitnessandMemory:MyExperienceinUS-ChinaDiplomacy, at his home in Virginia on Sept 28.