Friday February 21, 2020

Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen
April 8-18, 2017

Participants visit the Shenzhen Stock Exchange

Participants visit the Shenzhen Stock Exchange

From April 8-18, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation led a congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. The U.S.-China Policy Foundation’s Policymakers Delegation consisted of 9 congressional Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors, and senior staff. The participants were from offices of both Republicans and Democrats Senators and Representatives, serving states and districts all across the United States. Most of the participants were either from offices of newly elected Members of Congress or ones serving on the Foreign Relations Committee. For a majority of the participants, this trip was their first time traveling to China.

As China’s political center, Beijing served as an important first stop for the delegation. They met with officials from both the U.S. Embassy and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offering varying perspectives on the U.S.-China bilateral relationship. The participants also met with the American Chamber of Commerce and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies, a security and policy think tank.

In Chengdu, the participants had the opportunity to see an important historical, cultural, travel, and economic center of western China. Chengdu is known for its rich cultural heritage, religious and historic sites, tea houses, Sichuan opera, pandas, and spicy food. It is also a transportation hub and “Gateway to the West.” The group met with local officials, visited a rural community, learned about the city’s past and future develop plans at the Chengdu City Planning Exhibition Center, and visited Dujiangyan, the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world. The delegation also visited The Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding, which was founded in Chengdu to protect this “Chinese national treasure” from extinction.

The delegation then traveled to Guangzhou. This international city, formerly known as Canton, was at one point the only access point to China for international travelers and trade. Its location and trade history has turned Guangzhou into a global city. Participants had the opportunity to meet with students at the Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies, speak with local officials, experience various sites representing Guangzhou’s history and international influence, and visit an American company, Amway. The group also had the opportunity to attend the Canton Fair, a twice yearly global trade fair started in 1957.

Next, the delegation went to the nearby city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong. Deng Xiaoping established Shenzhen as the first Special Economic Zone during his liberalizing economic reforms. In the near 40 years since, its farmland has been all but replaced by skyscrapers. The group spoke about these changes with the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government’s Development Research Center and learned about its financial systems at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The USCPF led congressional staff delegations are an important form of people-to-people exchange between the U.S. and China. We hope the participants return to their offices in DC with a better understanding of the U.S.-China relationship. We would also like to thank the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) for their assistance with this trip.

Policymaker Participants

Luis Bacó, Chief of Staff
Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR)

Derron Bennett, Policy Director
Representative Al Lawson (D-FL)

Robert Diznoff, Legislative Director
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Graham Haile, Legislative Director
Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC)

John Haley, Legislative Assistant
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)

Kate LaBorde, Legislative Director
Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ)

Meghan Pennington, Communications Director
Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

John Sandy, Chief of Staff
Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)

James Walsh, Legislative Director
Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL)