Sunday February 23, 2020

Beijing, Tianjin, Ningxia
August 3-12, 2018

Policymakers visit a rural community in

Policymakers visit a Hui minority village in Ningxia

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation led a MECEA educational congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Tianjin, and Ningxia during the August recess. The delegation included 11 congressional Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors, and senior staff serving both Democrat and Republican offices in the House and Senate. The trip highlighted China’s agriculture, development, and minority regions. The recent trade disputes also received significant attention during discussions with officials.

The delegation began their time in China by taking one of China’s high speed trains for a day trip to Tianjin. Tianjin is a major port city in northeastern China. Previously home to Western concession zones (established by the 1858 Treaties of Tianjin), that Western influence can still be seen in the many scattered European-style buildings that remain in the city today. The city also highlights Chinese traditional cultures and religion in areas such as their ancient culture street, Yangliuqing New Year’s paintings, silk embroidery, and Dabei Buddhist Monastery.

They then spent time in Beijing, China’s historic and modern capital and cultural and political center. The delegation met with representatives at the U.S. Embassy, Ambassador Terry Branstad, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs  (CPIFA), the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Sinopec Star Petroleum Company.

Next the group travelled to Ningxia Province. Ningxia is an autonomous region in north-central China that is home to the Hui Muslim minority, which constitutes around one third of the province’s population. Ningxia is mostly desert, but the vast plain of the Yellow River has long been used as a source of irrigation. Historically, Ningxia used to be home to the ancient kingdom known as the Western Xia (1038-1227). It was also a stop along the ancient Silk Road. Participants experienced Ningxia’s culture, history, agricultural industry, and rural life, visiting a wolfberry (goji) farm, a Hui minority village, and historic sites. The delegation also met with provincial officials in the capital city of Yinchuan and the Vice Mayor of the province’s smaller Zhongwei City..

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation recognizes the importance of people-to-people exchanges in building a better and more constructive U.S.-China relationship. We hope the participants return to their office with a better understanding of China. 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.


Ms. Joanna Brown, Legislative Director
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)

Ms. Laura Engquist, Director of Special Projects
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)

Mr. Jay Gertsema, Chief of Staff
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)

Mr. Jim Goldenstein, Legislative Director
Rep. James Comer (R-KY)

Mr. Bob Haueter, Special Adviser
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)

Ms. Helen Heiden, Legislative Director
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Ms. Micah Johnson, Communications Director
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)

Ms. Sarah Little, Communications Director
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Ms. Alex Summers, Deputy District Director
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

Dr. Lindsay Owens, Deputy Chief of Staff
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Mr. Tanner Warbinton, Senior Legislative Assistant
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)