Image (not from article) from, with caption: America's participation in helping put down the Boxer Rebellion still leads many Chinese to view the United States as a foreign exploiter.
Thursday, June 9th 2016
Speaking at the “Consultation on People-to-People Exchange Plenary Session” in Beijing on June 7, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry reviewed the growth of U.S.-China exchanges, and he flagged three continuing “things that concern us.” (1) “American schools and representatives should have the same access to information and people in China that Chinese institutions and individuals enjoy in the United States,” (2) “our exchange programs have to be equally open to American and Chinese scholars, speakers, and programs,” and (3) U.S. public diplomacy programs should never be canceled or disrupted from some kind of external interference.” Some other bullet points:
- At the very first CPE, we mentioned and established the goal of enabling 100,000 Americans to study in China over a four-year period. Well, we’ve already achieved that goal.
- And last September, our two presidents embraced an even more promising ambitious goal to have 1 million Americans studying Mandarin by the year 2020. We’re not there yet, but I have no doubt that we’re going to get there. And the number of U.S. students already learning Mandarin is 10 times what it was only 10 years ago. So if we can maintain that pace, the sky – literally, the sky is the limit on what we will achieve.
- There are 300,000 young Chinese doing academic work in the United States today. That is a fivefold increase in just 10 years – and while more Americans are in Chinese classrooms than in any other country outside of Western Europe.
- So the bottom line is very straightforward. More young people on both sides of the Pacific are learning each other’s languages. They are sampling each other’s cultures and gaining a very personal appreciation of the potential for cooperation between the United States and China.
- So that will continue. Our innovators and our inventors are collaborating on the latest in science and technology. Our writers, musicians, and filmmakers are exploring new frontiers of cooperation in the arts and culture. Our athletes . . . . we’re competing in ways that bring people together.
- But even with these efforts, I have to say that there are a couple of things that still concern us. And in the spirit of the candor which brings this dialogue together, I want to just underscore that in the view of the United States, the concept of people-to-people exchange is just that. It’s people to people; not government to people or government in the way. It’s people to people. It’s a chance for citizens in both of our countries to communicate, to compete, to study, to share experiences in a genuine, balanced, and transparent way. And it’s a way for them, like that walk up the mountain, to get rid of all the politics and just break through as human beings.
- So what does that mean when we translate it into policy? It means that American schools and representatives should have the same access to information and people in China that Chinese institutions and individuals enjoy in the United States.
- It means that our exchange programs have to be equally open to American and Chinese scholars, speakers, and programs.
- It means that U.S. public diplomacy programs should never be canceled or disrupted from some kind of external interference – just as I absolutely guarantee you we would never seek to constrain any Chinese program whatsoever occurring in the United States.
- And it means that in both countries, nongovernmental organizations need to be free to help propose, organize, engage, and arrange events that enhance mutual understanding between our countries.
- . . . we talked about this very openly a little while ago and Madam Liu made guarantees to us that the new law regarding NGOs will not unduly infringe on the activities of nonprofit organizations that have a presence in China. And I appreciate the conversation that we had, and I am confident that when this new statute is implemented, it is going to be implemented in the good spirit of the CPE in a way that makes it easier – not harder – for our people and our institutions to collaborate.
- And among the many statistics that reflect the growing ties between our countries is the fact that there are more than 350 Confucius institutes and classrooms in the United States.