Wednesday July 15, 2020

Beijing, Haikou, Sanya
April 16-23, 2019

Participants at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing

Participants at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation led a MECEA educational congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Haikou, and Sanya during the spring 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. Around half of the participants serve New Members of Congress and more than half serve offices in the House Foreign Affairs or Senate Foreign Relations Committees, including some of the New Member offices. The meetings focused on areas of key strategic importance and relevance, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the South China Sea disputes, the bilateral trade conflict, and Taiwan.

In China’s capital city of Beijing the delegation met with the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Commerce, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), and Renmin University. The delegation was able to get both the American and Chinese perspective on major priority areas, recent developments in the U.S.-China relationship, and potential issues and areas for cooperation moving forward.

After Beijing, the delegation traveled to Hainan Island. Hainan is China’s smallest and southernmost province. While previously part of Guangdong province, in 1988 Hainan was made into a separate province and named a special economic zone as part of China’s economic reforms and opening up. According to the Chinese government, Hainan province also administers many of the still disputed islands in the South China Sea, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands. While in Hainan, the participants had the opportunity to see an area of China very different from the capital city of Beijing.

In Hainan’s capital city of Haikou, participants learned about the island’s history at the Hainan Provincial Museum, discussed the South China Sea disputes and Maritime Silk Road with representatives from the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, and saw Hainan Normal University’s turtle conservation efforts done in partnership with the American NGO “Turtle 911.” Participants also met with officials from the provincial foreign affairs office. The group then experienced riding on one of China’s high speed rails to city of Sanya on Hainan’s southern coast. There, participants learned about Hainan’s agriculture and tourist industries.

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation recognizes the importance of people-to-people exchanges in fostering mutual understanding and strengthening bilateral ties. 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. Imani Augustus, Legislative Director
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN)

Ms. Haley Brady, Director of Operations
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA)

Mr. David Brown, Economic Policy Advisor
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

Mr. Michael Chirico, Deputy Chief of Staff
Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV)

Ms. Sarah Czufin, Legislative Director
Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN)

Mr. Kevin Dowling, Legislative Director
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)

Mr. Erick Harris, Legislative Counsel
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Mr. Erik Kinney, Legislative Assistant
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

Ms. Hillary Lassiter, Legislative Director
Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN)

Ms. Nancy Martinez, Legislative Assistant
Senator Todd Young (R-IN)

Ms. Cynthia Rodriguez, District Director
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)