Tuesday September 17, 2019

USCPF HOSTS PHOTO EXHIBIT AND RECEPTION COMMEMORATING THE U.S.-CHINA WWII ALLIANCE

June 12, 2015

On Friday, the USCPF wrapped up its week-long photo exhibit, “The U.S.-China WWII Alliance,” with a successful reception for members of the community. The event brought together a range of people, including scholars, students, government and military officials, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II and to remember the U.S.-China wartime alliance that helped bring victory in the Pacific theater.

After bringing the group together, USCPF program and management officer Ariane Rosen introduced the first distinguished guest speaker, former ambassador Chas W. Freeman. Ambassador Freeman is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and a career diplomat who served as principal interpreter during President Nixon’s famous trip to China. The ambassador spoke eloquently on the importance of the former U.S.-China alliance, reminding listeners that “our cooperation changed history for the better.” He then turned everyone’s thoughts to the future, when the U.S.-China relationship will “shape the world” and usher in a new world order with China as a country of great prestige and power. Ambassador Freeman closed his statement by asserting that, “the world will be a better place if patriots in both China and America continue to seek cooperation rather than contention.”

The second speaker was Lt. Gen. John Fairfield, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 35 years. During his time in the air force, he served as deputy chief of staff of communications and information and as the vice commander of the Pacific Air Force. General Fairfield brought a different but equally important perspective to the reception, speaking about his own family’s connections to the U.S.-China alliance, including his uncle who served in China as a U.S. Marine and to do this day maintains that, “the only reason [he] went to war was to help the Chinese people.” As General Fairfield reminded us, “these stories need to be told,” because there is far too little understanding about the positive history between our two countries. He also spoke on his own meetings with Chinese military officials, explaining that the most important theme of their talks was “understand it from our perspective and we’ll try to understand it from yours.” He concluded by restating the importance of engagement and also the crucial need to understand our shared past so that we can move forward together.

The final speaker represented a piece of that shared past. Professor Chi Wang, USCPF president, spoke on his own experiences as a young boy in China, one who witnessed firsthand both the atrocities committed by the Japanese and the gratitude of the Chinese people towards the U.S. soldiers who came to their aid. Like the other speakers, he stressed the importance of mutual trust. He also expressed his hope that the photo exhibit would play a small role in increasing the community’s education on the subject of U.S.-China relations, an area which is crucial to our future relations as great powers.

The USCPF was happy to host such a successful event to accompany such an important exhibit. We would like to thank all the participants and guests for attending. We hope the exhibit was able to shed some light on a crucial time in the United States and China’s shared past. To read recaps of the event from various media outlets, click here.