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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Visit China

ATLANTA, GA....Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will visit China Sept. 3-5 to discuss with leaders there progress in holding elections for local officials in villages nationwide.

He will give the keynote address at the "Symposium on Villager Self-government and Rural Social Development in China," on Monday, Sept. 3, in Beijing, and subsequently meet with NPC Chairman Li Peng, Minister of Civil Affairs Duoji Cairang, and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress. On Wednesday, Sept. 5, President Carter will observe a village election outside Shanghai. On Thursday, Sept. 6, he meets with President Jiang Zemin.

Joining President Carter on the trip will be his wife, Rosalynn, Carter Center Executive Director John Hardman, Carter Center Democracy Program Director Charles Costello, and Yawei Lui, associate director of the Democracy Program.
The Atlanta-based Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1982 by President Carter to advance peace and health worldwide, has been assisting the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) since 1998 in projects to standardize electoral procedures among the more than 800,000 villages in China.

Villager committee elections began in China in the late 1980s as an outgrowth of reforms by the late Deng Xiaoping. In 1996, the Center began observing villager committee elections periodically, and in 1999, became the first Western group to also observe elections in townships, the first level of formal Chinese government. The Carter Center has helped educate voters about the electoral process, train election officials, devise a data collection system on voting practices, and establish a website for information on villager self-government.

The Carter Center's China Village Elections Project is funded by The Starr Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The LWH Family Foundation, The U.S.-China Legal Cooperation Fund, the AT&T Foundation, and the Chase Manhattan Foundation.


The following media opportunities are open to accredited Chinese media and accredited foreign correspondents in Beijing:

Monday, Sept. 3, 9-10 a.m. - President Carter delivers the keynote address at the "Symposium on Villager Self-government and Rural Social Development in China." The address is open to media coverage. Location: Beijing Eastern Garden
International Conference Center in Beixiaoying, Shunji District

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 1:15-1:45 p.m. Press question opportunity at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing following President Carter's meetings with Chinese leaders and prior to his departure to Shanghai. Contact: John Berry, Deputy Embassy Spokesman (6532-1161, ext. 7957 or 7091).

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