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China Program

Our Goal

President Carter's decision to normalize the relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China in 1979 changed China, the United States, and the world. The Carter Center's China Program is dedicated to preserving this legacy and advancing U.S.-China relations by building synergy between China and the United States, fostering greater cooperation between them and other nations, and helping to shape the critical U.S.-China bilateral relationship through workshops, websites, and scholarly publications.

Promoting U.S.-China Collaboration in Other Nations

The China Program is initiating pilot programs to highlight the benefits of coordinated and collective action between the United States and China in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This includes developing a platform to monitor and report on regional crises that could result in internal chaos and damage the crucial U.S.-China relationship. The program encourages multilateral dialogue to help resolve local conflicts, provide advice and assistance to local economic development and political reform efforts, and produce confidence-building measures for the U.S.-China relationship.

Conducting Research and Providing Scholarship

The China Program produces original scholarship that provides action-oriented insights for advancing U.S.-China collaboration on global issues. Central to this, the program convenes an annual Carter Center Forum on U.S.-China Relations and organizes workshops on subjects crucial to both countries in collaboration with partners in China and other countries. Conference proceedings and workshop papers are published online or in print.

Engaging China Online

In 2000, the China Program helped launch a website on villager self-government in China that quickly became one of the most comprehensive websites on grassroots democracy in China. Today, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs maintains a website. Two years later, the Center launched http://www.chinaelections.org/, which became the most visited political reform portal inside and outside China.

In 2008, the China Program and the Center's Global ATI Initiative jointly launched http://www.chinatransparency.org/. Since 2013, the China Program has followed a select community of 100 influential Weibo bloggers at www.weibochina.org, where policymakers, scholars, and ordinary people can observe a China different from official media reports. Also in 2013, the program launched the website http://www.uscnpm.org/ to provide updates on a wide range of topics related to U.S.-China  relations, including foreign policy, economy and trade, and social media.

Results and Impact 

  • The Carter Center is the only nongovernmental organization to be invited by the Chinese government to assist the Ministry of Civil Affairs in standardizing election practices in more than 600,000 villages.
  • The China Program has sponsored numerous visits by Chinese officials to observe U.S. elections since 1998.
  • The program has created websites that have become important portals for debate about political reform and open government information in China, encouraging democratic awareness and civic culture.
  • Owing to President Carter's decision in 1978 to normalize relations and the Center's name recognition in China, President Xi Jinping of China asked President Carter in 2012 to allocate more resources of The Carter Center to advance U.S.-China relations.
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