Congressional Studies

In cooperation with Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, USCET has sponsored annual congressional training programs in Shanghai.

The 2001 Practicum, supported by China’s Ministry of Education and the Shanghai Municipal Government, provided training to mid-level Chinese officials. A program highlight featured Jim Thurber, Director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, who chaired a Digital Video Conferencing program (DVC) on the 107th Congress and China, which was co-sponsored by the US Consulate in Shanghai.

The second Congressional Practicum in 2002 had Ford Foundation support and was also co-sponsored by the US Consulate in Shanghai. Charlie Cook, one of America’s leading experts on election analysis, headlined the DVC to give Chinese participants a preview of the mid-term elections.

The Congressional Studies program was postponed in 2003 due to the SARS crisis, but resumed in 2004 with a focus on the elections. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Broder provided both a current and historical perspective on the role of the media in American presidential and congressional elections. In addition to panel discussions with both Chinese and US experts, the 2004 Practicum also included a DVC featuring Richard Bush and Thomas Mann from the Brookings Institution.

In 2005, the Practicum’s theme was “The US Congress and the Presidency”. Following keynote speaker Haynes Johnson’s presentation on the two branches’ interaction with the media, distinguished scholars from the US and China examined subjects such as divided government and US foreign policy. Former Senators Harris Wofford and Larry Pressler were featured speakers.

Representatives from the Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of China participated in the 2006 Congressional Practicum, “The US Congress and Cross-Strait Relations“. China’s most prominent experts in this arena presented in-depth analysis of critical issues, and even conducted a debate regarding the role of the US in the Cross-Strait crisis. Click the links for sample papers presented by Julia Chang Bloch and the chairman of USCET’s advisory council, Nicholas Platt.

Recognizing that trade issues play a critical factor in the current US-China relationship, the 2007 Practicum, “The US Congress and US-China Trade and Economic Relations”, brought together political and economic experts to explore some of the most contentious issues, including RMB revaluation and tariffs. A spirited lobbying simulation found US participants representing a wide spectrum of US government and public interests, while the Chinese lobbyists made strong arguments against punitive legislation.