Tuesday June 2, 2020

Beijing, Changchun, Shanghai
August 5-15, 2017

August 2017 2

Policymakers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing

During the August congressional recess, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation led a congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Changchun, and Shanghai. The delegation included 12 chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and other senior staff. The participants were from offices of Senators and U.S. Representatives and consisted of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents serving states and districts all across the United States. The delegation was also joined by U.S.-China Policy Foundation Board Member and Director of Chinese Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS Dr. David M. Lampton, who helped provide useful background information and context for the participants.

The focus of this trip was on transportation, infrastructure, and foreign policy and included conversations on important and timely topics such as China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and ongoing concerns related to North Korea.

As always, our delegation began their trip in Beijing, the seat of China’s government. Their first meeting was at the U.S. Embassy, where they not only had the opportunity to speak with officials from the various embassy departments about the state of U.S.-China relations, but were also able to meet the new U.S. Ambassador to China, Ambassador Terry Branstad. While in Beijing, the delegation also had meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), the China Association of International Trade, and the U.S.-China New Perspectives Foundation. They also visited historical sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

The group then departed for Changchun in China’s Jilin Province. Changchun is part of the geographic region in northeast China referred to as Manchuria. In 1931, Japanese forces occupied Manchuria, set up a puppet state called Manchukuo, and established the capital in Changchun, renaming the city Hsinking. Changchun also has a strong industrial background. The city opened its first railway station in 1898 as part of the Russian Empire’s Chinese Eastern Railway. After the end of WWII, the Chinese government designated Changchun as the primary location for its emerging automotive industry. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the city’s history, meet with local officials, visit an agricultural village, learn about China’s first automotive company (FAW Group), and tour the CRRC Changchun factory, which manufactures bullet trains and public transportation vehicles.

The final city participants visited was Shanghai. Shanghai is China’s biggest city and is its financial and economic center. Shanghai’s Pudong New Area is an example of the rapid development the city underwent when China was opening up. After being designated a Special Economic Zone by the Chinese government, Pudong quickly developed into a thriving modern urban center. Participants had the opportunity to witness Shanghai’s impressive skyline, learn about its history and urban development, experience it’s high-speed Maglev train, and visit the SAIC General Motors factory.

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

Matthew Ceccato, District Director
Representative Ami Bera (D-CA) 

Caryn Compton, Legislative Director
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 

John Donnelly, Chief of Staff
Representative Tom Graves (R-GA)

Rachel Gentile, Legislative Director
Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)

Lynn Haueter, Deputy Chief of Staff
Representative Ron Estes (R-KS) 

Robert Haueter, Chief of Staff
Representative Blake Farenthold (R-TX)

Mary Martha Henson, Legislative Director
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Joe Knowles, Legislative Director
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

Mike Nichola, Legislative Director
Representative Darren Soto (D-FL)

Katrina Potts, Legislative Assistant
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Ryan Saylor, Communications Director
Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR)

Danielle Adams Smotkin, Communications Director
Representative David Rouzer (R-NC)