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The Carter Center in China

  • For more than 15 years, at the invitation of the Chinese government, The Carter Center worked to help standardize the vast array of electoral procedures being used in rural China and to foster better governance in local communities. (Photo: The Carter Center)

Key Moments in the Center’s Decades-Long Relationship with the People’s Republic of China

1991

President and Mrs. Carter visit China, where they meet with dignitaries and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an artificial limbs factory built with funds from the Carter Center’s Global 2000 Development Foundation. The foundation also supported a school for the deaf and a training program for teachers of students with visual, aural, and intellectual disabilities.

1996

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs invites The Carter Center to observe and advise spring 1997 village committee elections in Fujian Province. The Carter Center observed elections in China from 1997 to 2012.

1997

President Carter and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn visit China for talks with President Jiang Zemin and other high-level officials on Sino-U.S. cooperation, village elections, and possible cooperation between The Carter Center and China.

  • Yawei Liu (left), director of the Carter Center's China Program, and other Center delegates wait in the observation row at a village election in China’s Dehua County, Fujian Province on Aug. 2, 2000. (Photo: The Carter Center)

2002

The Center launches a website called "China Elections and Governance" (www.chinaelections.org). The website provides information on all levels of elections, governance, political reforms, and social issues in China.

2007

President Carter visits China, meets with Vice President Xi Jinping, and addresses students and faculty at the Chinese University of Political Science and Law.

2008

The China Program’s Access to Information Project launches the China Transparency website (www.chinatransparency.org), a clearinghouse for articles related to China's transparency issues and recently passed open-government information regulation.

  • President Carter is welcomed back to Beijing in 2009 for the 30th anniversary of his 1979 move to open full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. (Photo: The Carter Center/H. Saul)

2009

The Carter Center, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries collaborate to mount a traveling photo exhibit celebrating 30 years of relations between China and the United States.

The Center convenes a forum on crisis intervention in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, as well as a forum on "New Media and Democratic Rule of Law" at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

The Carter Center agrees to work with and provide advice to officials in Zouping Country, Shangdong Province, as they implement open-government information regulation.

2012

President Carter meets President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang; Xi and Li suggest that The Carter Center dedicate more effort toward improving U.S.-China relations.

2013

The China Program co-hosts a public forum on U.S.-China relations with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Emory University. The forum objectives are to improve U.S.-China relations and to renew the Center’s committed engagement with China.

The program launches its U.S.-China relations project website www.uscnpm.org.

  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter discusses U.S.-China relations with Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, during a China Town Hall event at The Carter Center in Atlanta on Oct. 17, 2014. (Photo: The Carter Center)

2014
The National Committee of U.S.-China Relations presents China Town Hall 2014 at The Carter Center, featuring a conversation between NCUCR President Steve Orlins and President Carter.

The inaugural Forum for Young Chinese and American Scholars, jointly organized by The Carter Center and the Global Times Foundation, convenes at Xi’an Jiaotong University. President Carter gives the opening remarks, and more than 20 young scholars from both countries present their research on the theme “How to Build Future U.S.-China Relations in the Context of Turbulent International Relations.”

President Carter travels to Beijing, Qingdao, Xi’an, and Shanghai to celebrate 35 years of normalized relations between the U.S. and China. In Shanghai, President Carter delivers the annual Barnett-Oksenberg address, which commemorates two of the founding scholars of the U.S.-China relations field.

2015
The Carter Center hosts the first U.S.-China-Africa Consultation on Peace to discuss possible collaboration between China and the United States in Africa, focusing on Sudan and South Sudan.

The Carter Center holds the fourth Carter Center Forum on U.S.-China Relations with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

  • The Center's China Program convenes annual forums on U.S.-China relations and organizes workshops on subjects crucial to both countries. Above, panelist Dr. Ling Li, economics professor at Towson University in Maryland, engages with audience members during the May 2015 forum at The Carter Center. (Photo: The Carter Center)

2016
The Carter Center organized a workshop in Lomé, Togo, to discuss the potential for U.S.-China collaboration in Africa. Organizations such as the U.N. Office for West Africa and the Sahel and other regional African organizations participate.

2017
A Carter Center delegation that includes representatives from African regional organizations and AFRICOM visits China. The group holds discussions with the Chinese Communist Party, the government, the military, think tanks, and the Ford Foundation. The African representatives express their desire to have U.S.-China cooperation on peace and security issues in Africa and present a wish list to Chinese organizations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry states that it would like The Carter Center to identify specific peace and security projects, promising to lend support.

  • The China Program organizes forums to foster greater understanding and cooperation between the two countries on issues of great importance. Recently, officials from the United States, China, and Africa convened to assess how they might work together to create positive change in Africa. (Photo: The Carter Center)

2018
The Carter Center organizes workshops in Djibouti and South Africa during which more than 30 participants discuss the status of U.S.-China-Africa relations and offer suggestions for enhancing trilateral cooperation.

Related Resources

Q&A | President Carter reflects on his historic 1979 decision to normalize relations with China »

Jimmy Carter Op-ed: How to Repair the U.S.-China Relationship — and Prevent a Modern Cold War »

Press Release | Carter Center Hosts Symposium Marking 40 Years of U.S.-China Diplomatic Ties »

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