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Trailblazing China visits provide enduring lessons

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-04-28 07:17

On April 27, the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs hosted an online event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first China trips made by the US Congress. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Citing a report completed by Mansfield upon his return to the US, Qin told the audience that the senator's observations are still "resonating and relevant today".

In his report "Journey to the New China", Mansfield concluded that China "has become a viable modern society with an approach to social participation and responsibility which is rooted in the past, meets the needs of the present, and offers a soundly based hope for the future".

Even before Nixon's 1972 visit, Mansfield delivered a speech on China in 1968 at the University of Montana. He argued that it was essential that the two countries end their mutual distrust and suspicion.

It was a "powerful" and "courageous" speech to write at that time, said Max Baucus, a former US ambassador to China. "I think it takes more courage today than it even took back then to speak truth to power," he said.

Future guide

Baucus said Mansfield's speech and visits to China not only offer inspiration but also serve as "a guide to what we should be doing as we go forward in the future" because politicians' statements today are driven by domestic politics and they are not willing to "stand up and say something constructive about China" for fear of being criticized or defeated in the next election.

It's also important for people to learn and remember this history, especially for people in the US as most of them are not familiar with this history, said Baucus. "We may have different cultures, but we have the same interest," he said.

Darin LaHood, a US congressman from Illinois, also spoke of the importance of cooperation between the US and China. He has led two bipartisan congressional delegations to China in recent years, engaging with business and government officials.

Though the engagement has been affected by the pandemic, LaHood said given that the US and China are the world's two largest economies, there'll always be areas of cooperation within the relationship.


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