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Chronology: China Focus

The Carter Center is dedicated to advancing U.S.-China relations by building synergy between China and the United States on issues of global importance, including fostering greater cooperation, providing resources and scholarship, and nurturing the next generation of young leaders who can shape the critical U.S.-China bilateral relationship to be a cornerstone of global peace and prosperity.

Explore below to learn more about the Center's work and impact over the years.


October 2018
On Oct. 4, The Carter Center co-sponsors a lecture at Emory University featuring Columbia University professor and journalist Howard French. Titled “Understanding Africa-China relations in a Global Perspective,” the lecture was organized by the Institute of African Studies with support from the Hightower Fund, East Asian Studies Program, Institute for Developing Nations, and the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives.

September 2018
On Sept. 18, the Center organizes a roundtable in Washington, D.C. to analyze the 2018 FOCAC summit in Beijing. The roundtable features participants from the Stimson Center, the China Africa Research Initiative, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the Institute for China-America Studies, George Washington University, the National Defense University, and Wake Forest University.

August 2018
On Aug. 3-4, The Carter Center organizes a workshop in Djibouti during which 30 participants discuss the status of U.S.-China-Africa relations and offer suggestions for enhancing trilateral cooperation. Ilyas Dawaleh, minister of economy and finance of the Djiboutian government, and Jordan Ryan, vice president of the Carter Center’s peace programs, give the opening remarks. Other keynote addresses come from Larry Andre, U.S. ambassador to Djibouti; Jalal Abdel-Latif, UNECA; Larry Sampler, president of One Earth Future; Weizhong Xu, director of African studies at CICIR; and Donald Booth, former U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. Following the day-and-a-half of meetings, Minister Dawaleh provides a tour of Djibouti to show the trade ports, the international free trade and economic zone, and other infrastructure projects.

China Program staff, Jordan Ryan, and Ambassador Donald Booth meet with the director and a researcher at the Institute of Political and Strategic Studies at the Center of Study and Research of Djibouti. The discussion focuses on the current work on the institute and possible areas of joint research and future collaboration.

June 2018
Yawei Liu is both a moderator and a speaker at the second annual meeting of the Institute of China-American Studies (ICAS) in Washington, D.C.

Liu participates in the 5th Annual Meeting of the International Consortium for China Studies (ICCS) in Hong Kong, which focuses on “China’s Development Challenges and Opportunities.” The 6th ICCS meeting will be held in Atlanta 2019, and the China Program will be one of the participating organizations. Liu also spoke a meeting in Shanghai on Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Africa relationship.

May 2018
Yawei Liu meets with David Firestein, founding director of the China Public Policy Center (CPPC) of the University of Texas at Austin. CPPC has agreed to take over organization of the Young Scholars Forum on U.S.-China Relations, which will now be called the “Emerging Leaders Forum on U.S.-China Relationship.”

February 2018
At the invitation of the president of Niger, Jordan Ryan attends the International Conference on the Lake Chad Basin from Feb. 26-28. Ryan meets with senior government and military officials; members of the diplomatic community, including Ambassador Zhou Pingjian of China and Ambassador W. Stuart Symington of the United States; the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for West Africa and other U.N. officials; the executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission; technical experts; and members of civil society to assess opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin.

January 2018
On Jan. 30, the 4th US-China Young Scholars Forum takes place at Emory University. The theme is “The Role of Nationalism, National Identity, & Media in US-China Relations.” Sixteen young scholars from U.S. and Chinese universities present their research and papers, and eight senior scholars provide feedback on them. A selection are published in a special volume distributed at the forum. Carter Center CEO Ambassador (Ret.) Mary Ann Peters, Philip Wainwright of Emory University, and Xu Xijin of the Global Times, give remarks during the opening session. Notable senior scholars in attendance include Zhu Feng of Nanjing University, Robert Daly of the Kissinger Institute of the Wilson Center, and Ding Gang of the Global Times. David Firestein of the University of Texas at Austin gives the keynote speech on “China’s Global Aspirations: An American Perspective.”

On Jan. 31, the China Program hosts a luncheon debate between the Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, and Zhou Zhixing, CEO of the Consensus Media Group. The two discuss the U.S.-China relationship and which side is more responsible for its deterioration. In the afternoon, several senior scholars participate in a roundtable discussion at Emory titled, “Is China an Adversary to the U.S.?” moderated by Robert Kapp.


December 2017
The sixth Carter Center Forum on U.S.-China Relations is held at the Center on Dec. 7, attracting more than 20 participants, including officials from the State Department and the Chinese Embassy. Chinese and American participants have frank and candid exchanges on where the bilateral relationship is and how it will evolve in the next few years. The keynote speech and the last panel are both dedicated to the theme of waging peace in the Korean Peninsula. Ambassador Marion Creekmore recalls President Carter’s trip to North Korea in 1994 and offers lessons for resolving today’s gathering crisis.

November 2017
Yawei Liu attends the Africa-China-U.S. Trilateral Cooperation in Africa meeting at U.S. Institute of Peace, co-organized by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Dr. Liu moderates a roundtable on U.S.-China relations after President Trump’s visit to China at the Institute of China-America Studies in Washington, D.C.

October 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. During the discussions, 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, along with the India China America Institute, co-host a panel discussion on the potential impact of the One-Belt, One-Road Initiative in India, and how it might impact Sino-Indian relations.

Hank Levine, former U.S. consul general to Shanghai, participates in several events at Emory becomes the fourth speaker in the Emory-Carter Center Speakers Series on U.S.-China Relations. Liu moderates a dialogue between former Indian Ambassador Arun Singh and Levine titled, “Great Powers and Global Peace: Different Perspectives.” Levine also presents at the CHINA Town Hall on U.S.-China economic relations and hosts a discussion with Emory students the following day.

Liu attends a meeting on China’s policy toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and possible U.S.-China collaboration to resolve the crisis. He speaks on the U.S.-China relationship in the era of President Trump on Oct. 29 at Agnes Scott College during the annual meeting of the local U.S.-China Friendship Association.

September 2017
AFRICOM representatives Col. Patrick Morrow and Michael Honigstein visit The Carter Center for meetings with Jordan Ryan and John Goodman, an associate director in the Center Conflict Resolution Program. They suggest establishing contact with the Chinese military and say that AFRICOM would like to work with the Center to 1) Establish leadership engagement; 2) Organize academic conferences on where the U.S. and Chinese military could cooperate in Africa; and 3) Explore the possibility of joint exercises in the areas of antipiracy, antiterrorism, and disaster and humanitarian relief.

July 2017
Yawei Liu presents at the annual Institute of China-American Studies meeting in Washington, D.C.

June 2017
Liu speaks about the risks and challenges in China’s One Belt One Road initiative at an international conference in Beijing. While there, he talks to the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) about the 6th forum on U.S.-China relations, scheduled to be held in early December.

May 2017
The China Africa Project, a popular podcast with more than 20,000 downloads per episode, interviews Liu and former China Program graduate assistant William Pierce about our work to promote trilateral cooperation, specifically about the pending publication of an article jointly written by Liu and Pierce called “Solid Foundations for a New Partnership – How China and the United States Can Collaborate with Africa to Eradicate Malaria.” The 25-minute interview is reposted by many other online outlets.

April 2017
Jordan Ryan and China Program staffer Ying Zhu travel to Shanghai to attend a workshop hosted by the Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS) on China-IGAD cooperation. Over 30 participants and 12 institutions explore how to expand cooperation on peace and security, particularly in the areas of anti-terrorism, maritime security, and early warning systems in the Horn of Africa. Ryan and Zhu also host a half-day forum on potential Africa-China-U.S. collaboration on public health.

Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, one of the principals of the Africa-China-U.S. Consultation for Peace, gives a lecture at Emory University about China’s One-Belt, One-Road Initiative and its likely impact on the African continent.

March 2017
Ambassadors Chambas, Lyman, and Zhong, along with the Carter Center’s John Goodman, follow up their participation in the Center’s Africa-China-U.S. Consultation with an article in Foreign Affairs’ online magazine that features recommendations and information from the workshop. It is titled “Where Beijing, Washington, and African Governments Can Work Together: From Competition to Cooperation.”

The China Program co-hosts a workshop with the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta on China’s One-Belt, One-Road and U.S.-China Relations. More than a dozen Atlanta based organizations sponsor and attend the forum, which features a presentation by Tian Deyou, minister counselor of commerce from the Chinese Embassy.

Yawei Liu and John Goodman travel to Beijing to attend a workshop hosted by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). They present at a meeting in Beijing on protecting Chinese and American interests in Africa.

Reignwood Group International displays more than 20 photographs in the Jimmy Carter Museum showcasing the ancient silk road. President and Mrs. Carter meet with Yan Bin of Reignwood at the photo exhibit.


December 2016
A delegation led by Dr. Philip Wainwright, vice provost for global strategy and initiatives and director of the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning at Emory University, meets with Hyeong Woo Lee, deputy vice president for international cooperation at Chonbuk National University, to discuss collaboration among Emory, the Center, and Chonbuk.

November 2016
The Carter Center and Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) sign a memorandum of understanding agreeing that SIIS will serve as the China Program’s professional supervision unit after China’s law on foreign NGOs takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The 5th Forum on U.S.-China Relations is held in Suzhou, China, just five days after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The conversation centers on the election results and their implications for the U.S.-China relationship.

Carter Center CEO Mary Ann Peters meets with Alan Wong, secretary general of the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation. The foundation has been a supporter of the Center’s U.S.-China Relations Forum for the past five years. Wong tells Ambassador Peters that the foundation would like to expand its support of the Center.

The Carter Center holds an Africa-China-U.S. Consultation for Peace workshop focusing on maritime security and the blue economy in the Gulf of Guinea. High-level African, American, and Chinese stakeholders attend. The three principals in the consultation agree to co-author an article on ways that Africa, China, and the U.S. can collaborate.

President Carter writes the introduction for a U.S.-China relations picture book, which contains hundreds of pictures of U.S.-China connectedness from 1776 to 2014 — when President Carter visited China to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Jim Byron, director of strategic planning at the Nixon Foundation, visits The Carter Center on Nov. 11. The foundation is interested in launching programming in the area of U.S.-China relations, which is also a legacy of President Nixon’s.

October 2016
On Oct. 3, President Carter receives the inaugural LUI Che Woo Prize in the Positive Energy category, given to “individuals or organizations whose behavior and achievement inspire, energize, and give hope to others.” The prize, which is worth US$2.5 million, is awarded for all the good work that President Carter and The Carter Center have done, which has contributed significantly to the promotion of positive life attitude and enhancement of positive energy in the world.

Former Chinese Ambassador to Eritrea and Rwanda Shu Zhan visits the Center to discuss issues related to the tripartite Africa-China-U.S. cooperation with members of the China and Conflict Resolution programs.

The China Program co-hosts an event with Emory University on climate change and helps welcome a delegation from Nanjing University. This event marks further collaboration between Nanjing and Emory. China Program Director Yawei Liu serves as a panelist.

On Oct. 17, David Firestein of the EastWest Institute gives a well-received talk at Emory, the second of the Emory-Carter Center Speakers Series on U.S.-China Relations.

Yawei Liu travels to Zhijiang, Hunan, to speak at the 7th U.S.-China Peace Dialogue: Trust Building through Trilateral Cooperation.

September 2016
China Program hosts a small dinner to welcome a six-person delegation from the Sichuan Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a part of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Professionals from Chinese organizations and businesses in the Atlanta area also attend the dinner.

Yawei Liu, Ying Zhu, and Carter Center Vice President of Peace Programs Jordan Ryan travel to Nanjing for the Young Scholars Forum, after first meeting with partners in Shanghai. Both meetings touch on issues related to U.S.-China relations, the status of the foreign NGO law, and Carter Center activities.

August 2016
Yan Bin, a Chinese billionaire with Thai citizenship and the founder of Reignwood Group, visits the Center on Aug. 17, and offers facilities for Carter Center activities in China.

The Georgia China Alliance and the China Program hold a panel discussion attended by about 150 people.

July 2016
Yawei Liu meets with Dr. Rebecca Martin, director of global health at the Centers for Disease Control. She briefs Liu on the role of the CDC in the ongoing developmental assistance collaboration between the U.S. and China in the area of public health.

The Center’s China and Conflict Resolution programs organize a forum in Lomé, Togo, as part of the Africa-China-U.S. Consultation for Peace. Representatives from various regional governing bodies in Africa attend the meeting, along with government, academic, and think tank representatives.

June 2016
Yawei Liu and Bob Kapp attend two conferences in Beijing and meet with program partners as well as Zheng Zheguang, vice minister of foreign affairs.

After Ambassador Wu Jianmin, China's former ambassador to France and president of the Foreign Affairs College of China, dies in a car crash on June 18, Yawei Liu writes a commentary for the China Youth Daily on why his death triggered a heated debate on China’s role in world affairs. Ambassador Wu had visited The Carter Center in February and made a presentation at Emory. Liu is also quoted in a New York Times story on Ambassador Wu.

May 2016
Program Director Yawei Liu speaks at the College of Business, Hong Kong City University, and the Xian Foreign Languages University on the lack of strategic trust between the U.S. and China. In Hong Kong, Yawei also visits the Tianda Institute, a think tank with close ties to the central leadership in Beijing.

April 2016
Jordan Ryan, vice president of peace programs at the Center, publishes an article in the Global Times newspaper titled “Joint Quest for Global Peace Can Keep Bilateral Relations on Course.” This op-ed is directly related to the outcomes of the Africa-China-U.S. Consultation for Peace held in January at the Center.

Program staff present at Emory University’s East Asia Week. Yawei Liu gives a keynote speech on THAAD missile systems and developments in North Pacific security, and Senior Program Associate Ying Zhu participates in a panel discussion on China’s economic diplomacy.

March 2016
The Carter Center, along with Emory University, co-hosts "What's the Deal with the Climate Deal?" discussion, featuring Emory faculty and students who attended the 2015 Paris U.N. Climate Change Conference.

February 2016
The program invites Ambassador Wu Jianmin, executive vice chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy and a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, to speak at the inaugural Emory University – The Carter Center Conversations on U.S.-China Relations on “Changes in Chinese Foreign Policy Since 2013.”

January 2016
The Carter Center hosts the second U.S.-China-Africa Consultation for Peace and Development to discuss collaboration between China and the United States on conflict resolution, diplomatic engagement, public health, and development in Africa.

Yawei Liu attends the East-West Philanthropists Summit held at the East-West Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.


November 2015: 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 forum is attended by more than 50 influential leaders. The China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Chinese Humanist Association of Guangdong co-sponsor the forum.

October 2015: In collaboration with the Global Times Foundation, the program organizes the second Carter Center U.S.-China Young Scholars Forum at Emory University. Presentations, critiques and the ensuing debate focus on the causes of friction in the bilateral relationship. Scholars from both countries share their research on the topic, “How Will the Future International Order Be Shaped by Past and Current U.S.-China Interactions?” Participating senior scholars also hold a lively dialogue with Professor Lyle Goldstein, author of “Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry.”

September 2015: The Center hosts the documentary “Mr. Deng Goes to Washington” at the Carter Presidential Library. The director, Fu Hongxing, introduces the movie and participates in a discussion after the screening. Mrs. Sharon Woodcock, wife of the late Ambassador Leonard Woodcock, the first U.S. ambassador to China, also participates in the discussion.

President Carter publishes an op-ed titled “Obama and Xi Must Do More than Agree to Disagree” in The Huffington Post. This op-ed is published a week before President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Washington.

August 2015: The U.S.-China Business Association names President Carter an “Outstanding Contribution Award Winner,” and Ambassador Mary Ann Peters accepts the award on his behalf.

May 2015: The China Program co-hosts the World Forum on China Studies with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences — the first time that the biennial event is held outside of China. More than 30 eminent Chinese and American scholars and policy researchers exchange views on China’s domestic and international reforms and their implications for U.S.-China relations.

Program staff travel to Edmonton, Canada, to present the paper “Lost in Transition: A Case Study of Chinese Censorship,” which looks at how the program’s WeChat account was impacted by new censorship policies.

At the invitation of Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yawei Liu travels to Washington, D.C., to present at a daylong expert workshop. The conference aims to assess China’s relationship with the world and analyze whether China will opt to take a more formative role in the global community.

Liu also travels to Houston, Texas, to attend the George H.W. Bush China-U.S. Relations Conference, focused on “2015 Global Infectious Diseases: Prevention, Preparedness, and Response.”

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


November 2014: A three-person delegation of political science researchers from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, led by Dr. Fang Ning, visits Atlanta to learn more about the midterm elections in the U.S.

October 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.

September 2014: The inaugural Forum for Young Chinese and American Scholars, jointly organized by The Carter Center and the Global Times Foundation, convenes at the 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.”

The program organizes the third Carter Center Forum on U.S.-China Relations in Beijing with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The forum is attended by over 100 influential leaders. The Ash Center of the Harvard Kennedy School and the International Data Group co-sponsor the forum.

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. He also gives remarks during a Skype event linking a live audience from a Shanghai school with schools in New York City, Toronto, and Singapore.

August 2014: President Carter meets with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Consul General Li Qiangmin, and staffers of the Houston consulate at The Carter Center.

June 2014: Dr. John Hardman and Yawei Liu meet with University of Georgia staff to discuss possible collaboration with UGA on a U.S.-China relations forum.

May 2014: An eight-person delegation from the Nanjing Municipal Department of Propaganda visits the Center. The visitors are interested in collaborating on access to information and open government initiative projects.

The program launches a Chinese-language online publication on U.S.-China relations at

A four-person delegation from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations visits the Center and Emory University. Delegates express support for the Center’s work in the Sudans and propose that the two organizations coordinate a Track II dialogue on U.S.-China-Africa collaboration.

April 2014: Yawei Liu attends a meeting organized by the Asia Society on Myanmar-U.S.-China relations in Washington, D.C. The meeting is organized by the Asia Society’s Arthur Ross Center on U.S.-China Relations to look for ways for the U.S. and China to work together with Myanmar on issues of common concern.

Professor Zhu Feng of Nanjing University comes to The Carter Center and Emory University to present his talk, “The Endgame of North Korea,” which outlines how the U.S. and China might collaborate on denuclearizing North Korea.

The program’s historical website on advancing democratic awareness in China,, becomes accessible in China.

March 2014: The program supports the Emory Global China Connection’s China Summit 2014. Student teams offer proposals for two modern issues – ghost towns and air pollution.

Yawei Liu moderates a panel at the annual conference co-organized by Sister City International based in Washington, D.C. and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. He also attends a meeting at Harvard University on the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

Program representatives travel to China to meet with partners, including several prominent Chinese universities, the American Embassy, the Gates and Ford foundations, and the Friendship Association.

February 2014: President Carter gives an interview on state broadcaster CCTV on U.S.-China relations, the normalization process, and what the two nations can do in the future to deepen ties.

January 2014: President Carter’s remarks from the November 2013 forum on U.S.-China relations are printed in Chinese in the People’s Daily.

Yawei Liu and Sean Ding travel to New York City to visit with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Asia Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss potential collaboration.


December 2013: Program staff travel to Beijing and Shanghai to meet with potential partners, including Shanghai Jiaotong University, the IDCPC, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Peking University.

Because of the lack of support from the mainland government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Carter Center-Hong Kong Baptist University Initiative on International Peace and Development is terminated.

November 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.

Dr. John Hardman travels through China and meets with Vice Minister Yu Hongjun of IDCPC and Hugo Shong of IDG.

Gen. Qiao Liang speaks at the Center. Yawei Liu also travels with Qiao to Columbia University in New York and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where Qiao speaks on U.S.-China relations.

At the invitation of the Asia Society, Yawei Liu travels to Myanmar to attend a summit on U.S.-China-Myanmar collaboration.

September 2013: The program launches its U.S.-China relations project website,

Center staff members present the Weibo monitoring project, which contributes to understanding the Chinese perception of America and current events, at Georgia State University.

August 2013: Program staff members travel to Beijing and Hong Kong to finalize the agenda for the November forum on U.S.-China relations and to discuss with HKBU partners the next phase of the joint initiative.

The China Program releases the first issue of its “U.S.-China Perception Monitor” magazine.

The program receives a grant from the Open Society Foundation to translate a Chinese book, “How the Red Sun Rose,” by Professor Gao Hua. It covers the Yan’an Rectification Movement and will be the first detailed English text on the subject.

A seminar on the basic law of Hong Kong and the challenges to the upcoming direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive is held at the Hong Kong Baptist University, attended by scholars from both mainland China and Hong Kong.

July 2013: Ambassador Cui Tiankai and Consul General Xu Erwen visit President and Mrs. Carter at their home in Plains to discuss how the Center can improve U.S.-China relations.

May 2013: Vice Minister Yu Hongjun of the International Department of the CPC visits the Center.

The center launches a website on political reform developments in Hong Kong on a trial basis.

China Central Television conducts an interview with President Carter as part of a serial documentary on U.S.-China relations.

The Revs. Jim Moos and Xiao-ling Zhu from the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ visit the Center. They are interested in sponsoring a U.S.-China church-to-church relations forum.

The China Program hosts a project design workshop for the U.S.-China relations initiative.

April 2013: Program staff members travel to Beijing and Shenzhen, China, to meet with program partners, including the Charhar Institute, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and several NGOs. Partners urge The Carter Center to stay engaged in China and encourage the Center to pursue the U.S.-China relations project.

March 2013: Dr. John Hardman and Yawei Liu travel to China with Carter Center donors George and Camilla Smith to meet with the Charhar Institute; NPR reporters Anthony Kuhn and Louisa Lim; Dr. Wang Zhenyao, formerly with the Ministry of Civil Affairs; Madame Li Xiaolin of CPAFFC; and Professor Zhao Kejin of Tsinghua University.

February 2013: Chinese Consul General Xu Erwen meets with President Carter.

People’s Liberation Army Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu visits for a discussion titled “The U.S.-China Relationship at a Crossroads.”

The China Program and the University of Denver co-organize a conference on China in Africa at the university.


December 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.

November 2012: The Carter Center organizes a U.S. presidential election observation mission for Chinese scholars and contributors to the website. The group visits Chicago, Indianapolis, and West Lafayette, Indiana. The scholars present their views on political developments in China at the University of Chicago and Purdue University.

The U.S.-China Business Association names President Carter an “Outstanding Contribution Award Winner” for 2012. 

August 2012: Center staff members travel to Hong Kong to hold discussions with Hong Kong Baptist University on the launch of the Carter Center-Hong Kong Baptist University Initiative on International Peace and Development.

April 2012: The signature website of the China Program,, is forced offline inside China.

March 2012: The China Program finalizes the list of Chinese delegation members to observe the U.S. presidential election in November. There are two groups totaling approximately 25 observers.

January 2012: The Carter Center receives an award from the National Association of Chinese-Americans for its role in advancing U.S.-China relations. The Carter Center is the only NGO to win this award. Past winners include corporations such as The Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, and The Home Depot.


December 2011: President Carter meets with Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the next top leader in 2012. President Carter also meets Minister Wang Chen of the State Council Information Office. These meetings serve to remind the Chinese leadership of the Center's long history of partnership with China.

Vice President Xi Jinping says it is "entirely possible" for the Center to work with Chinese partners on projects related to China-Africa relations.

December 2011: During President Carter's visit to Hong Kong, a joint initiative between The Carter Center and Hong Kong Baptist University is launched. The collaboration will entail China-Africa related projects and the monitoring of Hong Kong's political development leading up to the 2017 elections, which will mark the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong and is believed to be a test run for higher-level direct elections on mainland China.

September-October 2011: Throughout September and October, the China Program worked to develop a plan for the China-Africa Advisory Group (CAAG), which will be jointly organized by The Carter Center, Emory University's Institute for Developing Nations, and Zhejiang Normal University. The China Program made contact with possible CAAG members and initiated plans to convene a meeting on China-Africa relations in Beijing in December during President Carter's visit. We also hope to engage an institution in Africa and began to explore potential partners.

January 2011: To better assess China's impact in Africa and foster mutual understanding among different stakeholders, The Carter Center develops a bilingual website that brings together perspectives from Africa, China, and the West on the role that China plays in Africa's quest for peace, health, and economic development. In partnership with researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of West Asian and African Studies, The Carter Center convenes an editorial group to work on identifying topics and developing content for the new website.


September 2010: President Carter makes his 11th visit to China, speaking on China Open Government Information regulation at a Carter Center-sponsored colloquium at Tsinghua University Law School, participating in the Fourth Annual China Zhijiang Peace and Culture Festival commemorating General Claire Lee Chennault and the American Volunteer Group, giving the keynote address at the Shanghai International Friendship Cities Conference, and addressing students and faculty at Hunan University's Yuelu Academy. The Carter Center and Hunan University sign a Memorandum of Understanding for future partnerships.

May 2010: China Elections and Governance launches the first issue of the 21st Century International Review, a journal focusing on Chinese politics and international affairs published by China's Northwest University Press.

March 2010: The Carter Center convenes back-to-back conferences in Beijing, the first, "China's Political Development and Political Reform," in cooperation with the liberal and reform-minded Department of Political Science at Tsinghua University, and the second, "The Current Status and Future Trends in the Reform of China's Political System," with the conservative Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

March 2010: The Carter Center sends the largest delegation ever, comprised of scholars from Brookings Institute, UC Berkeley, Ohio University, and Boston University, to two villages in Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, to assess villager committee elections.

February 2010: The Carter Center holds its 2010 meeting for all full-time and part-time editors to

January 2010: The Carter Center holds trainings in Anhui Province's Xiuning County on the petition system, through which citizens voice complaints to the government, and holds a training for grassroots-level officials in Xiaokou Township, Beijing Municipality.


December 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 the traveling photo exhibit celebrating 30 years of relations between China and the United States in the Carter Museum.

The Center convenes a large 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 signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Zouping Country, Shangdong Province, agreeing to work with and provide expert advice to Zouping officials in their implementation of the Open Government Information regulation.

November 2009: The Center convenes a forum on Media Legislation at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

September 2009: China Elections and Governance Online ( is overhauled, making it more user friendly and facilitating reader interaction and dialogue.

April 2009: The Center cooperates with the China University for Political Science and Law to convene a series of high-level forums on "Trends in China's Constitutional Politics."

April 2009: The Center begins working with homeowners associations in Beijing to build capacity for the associations.  The project continues through January 2010.

January 2009: President Carter travels to China and meets with high-level officials, including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Vice President Xi Jinping, and makes a speech from the Great Hall of the People that was televised throughout China.


November 2008: The China Program Access to Information Project launches the China Transparency website (, a clearinghouse for all articles related to China's transparency issues and recently passed Open Government Information regulation.

The Center invites a delegation of Chinese scholars, Ministry of Civil Affairs officials, heads of NGOs and media reporters to the United States to observe the 2008 U.S. General Election, the third such mission organized by The Carter Center.

June 2008: The Center convenes trainings for members of the standing committee of the county-level people's congress in Hekou County, Yunnan Province.

May-August 2008: The Center holds its second Human Rights Law training in conjunction with the China University of Political Science and Law.

May-June 2008: The Center holds trainings for rural cadres in Zhengmo Town, Shijiazhuang City, Hubei Province. A total of 80 people, comprised of cadres and villager committee representatives, attend the training.

May 2008: The Center holds government reform trainings for rural government workers in Nanzhang County, Hubei Province.

February 2008: The Center holds trainings for local People's Congress representatives in Wenling City, Zhejiang Province.


December 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.

October 2007: The Center conducts trainings for rural cadres in Nanzhang County, Hubei Province.
The Center begins holding a series of forums on "Civil Society and Local Governance" in partnership with Beijing Normal University's Civil Society and Local Governance Research Center. Between October 2007 and December 2008, 15 forums are held.

June 2007: The Center conducts trainings of People's Congress representatives in Nanzhang County, Hubei Province. 

The Center conducts trainings of People's Congress representatives in Xia County, Shanxi Province.
China Elections and Governance celebrates its fifth anniversary by convening a meeting for all full-time and part-time editors.

April 2007: Xu Xianming, President of Chinese University of Political Science and Law, visits The Carter Center and meets with President Carter.

China Elections and Governance and the Shanxi Institute of Administrative Management jointly convene "Theory and Practical Training in Making People the Focus in Grassroots Government Administration." 50 Civil Servants from Yuci District selected to attend.


December 2006: In cooperation with People's University Department of Political Science, The Carter Center convenes the first in a series of forums on "Political Development." In total, the Center holds 25 forums in the series.

November 2006: The Center invites a Chinese delegation of officials from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State Council Development Research Center to observe the U.S. midterm elections.
The Carter Center holds rural self-governance trainings in Hubei's Nanzhang County.

September 2006: The Carter Center convenes the 2006-2007 county-wide forum on the People's Congress general election.

August 2006: The Carter Center holds trainings for county-level people's congress representatives in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

June 2006: In collaboration with BCPR, the China Program conducts a training seminar on rural democratic management at the Beijing Capital Normal University. It is attended by 50 local officials, people's congress deputies and research scholars.
The China Program sends a small team to Vietnam on a fact-finding mission. The team tries to find out the status of political reform in Vietnam and explores the possibility of connecting reform-minded Chinese officials with innovative Vietnamese officials.

May 2006: A Carter delegation visits Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province and examines the experiment of agricultural cooperatives that have begun to appear in Rui'an, a city under the jurisdiction of Wenzhou.
The same group observes a village election in Tianjin and holds discussion with the MCA and Tianjin civil affairs officials on the improvement of village elections.

The group travels to Zigong City, Sichuan and observes a training of elected village committee chairs and local civil affair officials. The training is sponsored by the Center.

April 2006: The essay contest on the revision of the Organic Law is completed. A total of 70 entries are sent to the web site.

The national survey on village elections and villager self-government is completed. 264 interviewers trained by the Center have interviewed 3,500 villagers and urban residents drawn from 524 villages and urban residential committees. Also interviewed are 371 village committee members.

March 2006: Working together with the Duke China Election Study Group and the Guangxi Department of Civil Affairs, the Center sponsors a national meeting on the status of urban residential committee elections and improvement of the election procedures. Suggestions are made to revise the National Measures on Urban Residential Committee Elections compiled jointly by the Center and the Duke group in 2004.

January 2006: In collaboration with the BCPR, a learning center for villagers is established in Mayu Village in Shijingshan District, Beijing.


December 2005: A small delegation led by Dr. John Hardman pays a visit to the MCA and reviews the progress of the second phase of the Joint Project to Standardize Village Elections. The group then travels to Shaanxi, checking upon the use of computers donated by the Center and examining the quality of the elections.

The group meets with Mr. Lu Congmin, vice chairman of FAC of the NPC. Mr. Lu extends invitation to President Carter to visit China at his convenience.

A Letter of Intent is signed with the China University of Political Science and Law to establish the Carter School of Government. According to the Letter of Intent, the Global Leadership Foundation based in Hong Kong will raise the necessary seed fund for the founding of the school.

The Center begins to work with the MCA on amending the Organic Law of the Villager Committees (the Organic Law).

The essay contest on revising the Organic Law begins online at

November 2005: The Center sponsors a training of elected village committee chairs and local civil affairs officials in Chizhou City, Anhui Province.

October 2005: In cooperation with BCPR, the Center launches a Democracy Information Project (DIP) which includes setting up a small library in Beijing, translating English articles on democratization into Chinese and putting Chinese abstracts of English books and essays on Chinese politics and political reform online.

July 2005: In cooperation with the Beijing Center for Policy Research (BCPR), a learning and empowerment center for villagers is established in Fanshan Town, Zhuolu County, Zhangjiakou City, Hebei.

May 2005: 59 computers supplied by Dell China are installed in all counties in Qinghai Province to collect village election data.

A Center delegation observes village elections in a Tibetan village in Qinghai Province and villager self-government training in Anshun City, Guizhou Province.

The same group meets with Mr. Jiang Enzhu, chairman of FAC of the NPC in Beijing and discusses future collaboration on empowering local people's congress deputies and improving election procedures. The group then observes a training of local people's congress deputies and officials in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province. The training is sponsored by the Center.

April 2005: The cumulative hits to the China Elections & Governance Web site reach 7 million. The website has become a well-known portal on politics and reform in China.

January 2005: In collaborating with the MCA and the Research Institute of Sociology, CASS, the first national survey on village elections and villager self-government is launched.


December 2004: A Center group is invited by the FAC of NPC for a fact-finding trip to China on schistosomiasis (snail fever) issues. Following the meeting with Ministry of Health officials, the four-member group travels to infected areas in Anhui and Jiangsu, receives briefings on fighting schistosomiasis, and visits local clinics and patients.

Part of the group goes to Chongqing to check on collection of village elections information through the use of computers donated by Dell China. The group finds that the computers are helpful to local civil affairs officials in collecting and analyzing the election data.

The China Elections & Governance web site is overhauled with new features.

November 2004: The Center invites a Chinese delegation to observe the U.S. presidential elections in Georgia and Tennessee. The 37-group consists of central and local civil affairs officials, national and local people's congress officials, scholars and NGO officers. The ten-day activities include workshops in campaign headquarters and a lobbying firm, watching rallies, visiting media, and observation at polling stations. The Chinese officials also have a chance to visit University of Chicago, Duke University, and NGOs in D.C., give speeches on Chinese local elections and democratization, and exchange views with the American China specialists.

July 2004: The Center continues to cooperate with Duke China Election Study Group on revising the urban community resident committee elections. A small team works with civil affairs officials in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Jiangsu province and conducts two pilot urban community elections based on the Draft Election Procedures produced in 2003.

With help from the NPC and the Jiangsu Provincial People's Congress, the Center sponsors a training of township people's chairmen and vice chairmen in Suqian City, Jiangsu Province.

June 2004: At the invitation of the MCA, a delegation led by Dr. John Hardman, executive director of The Carter Center, observes village elections in Jilin Province and Beijing Municipality. 

The same group travels to Fanshan Town, Zhuolu County, Zhangjiakou to observe the training of the town people's congress deputies and visits a nearby village to examine the status of villager self-government.
In collaboration with the Renmin University (Beijing), Sun Yat-sen University (Guangzhou), Jilin University (Changchun), Association of Chinese Political Scientists in the United States (ACPS) and the Association of Chinese Professors in Social Sciences in the United States (ACPSS), the Center organizes a three-day academic conference on "Advancing Political Civilization and Political Modernization in China" on the campus of the Renmin University. About 250 scholars participate in the first ever international conference on China's political reform with over 100 papers presented on such issues as political reforms, grassroots governance, democratization and legal reforms, constitutional theories, political culture and Taiwan Strait relations.

The second book series (eight books) sponsored and edited by the Center on rural governance and elections are published by Northwest University Press. A seminar is held on the publication of the book series in Beijing. Authors, reporters and critics attend the seminar and many reviews on the series are written and published after the seminar.

44 computers are donated by Dell China to the Chongqing Municipal Department of Civil Affairs. The Center sponsors a training of computer operators in Chongqing.

May 2004: The MCA publishes the Elections Measures for the Urban Residential Committees drafted by the staff of the Duke China Election Study Group and the Carter Center China Elections Program.

May 2004: The Center establishes a learning center for township people's deputies in Fanshan Township, Zhangjiakou City, Hebei. The purpose of the learning center is to provide a place for township people's congress deputies to see each other and meet with their constituents on regular basis. It also serves as a library that can be used by both the deputies and common residents in the town.

April 2004: In collaborating with the Department of Political Science of Zhejiang University, a meeting on the status of local people's congress is held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. About 60 scholars and people's congress officials attend the meeting. Officials from the Zhuolu County People's Congress in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, a Project pilot, present the training of plan of all its township people's congress deputies.

The Center sponsors the training of township people's congress chairmen, vice chairmen, selected deputies and county people's congress officials at Zhuolu County. The trainers are local people's congress officials, model people's congress deputies from other provinces, and scholars. The training is designed to make directly elected people's deputies more aware of their authority and responsibilities, and of the means they can apply to exercise their authority and fulfill their responsibilities.

March 2004: Yawei Liu observes the presidential election in Taiwan.


December 2003: The Center monitors the country & district people's congress deputy election in Beijing and its website, China Elections and Governance, sets up a special column for the elections. Dozens of candidates carry out campaigns in order to become formal candidates. The website publishes the candidates' campaign speeches, election reports from an observer sent by the website, and comments and analyses from readers. The column promotes the elections to be held in a more democratic way and the collection provides a vast resource for researchers on Chinese elections. (For more information on the Beijing elections, visit

The Center sponsors a high level meeting on the revision of the Election Law of People's Congress Deputies at All Levels in China. The meeting is attended by scholars and election officials from the Chinese research institutions, NPC and provincial people's congresses. Proceedings of the meeting are submitted through our Chinese partners to officials of relevant government agencies and NPC committees.

Dell China agrees to donate a total of 240 computers to the Joint MCA-TCC Project to Standardize Village Elections Procedures.

October 2003: The Center and Duke University launches a three-year project to standardize urban community residential committee election procedures in China. The first-year mission is conducted by a nine-member group consisting of U.S. professors, specialists on China elections and the Center staff. In October the group visits urban communities in Shanghai, Wuhan and Guilin, meeting with officials from local civil affairs bureaus, street offices and urban communities, and scholars of China Central Normal University. In Guilin, it organizes a three-day conference on reforming the current election regulations, attended by some 20 local electoral officials and scholars from other parts of China. A Draft Election Procedures is produced after the meeting, printed and presented to the MCA which gives high evaluation on the project results.

September 2003: At the invitation of Mr. Jiang Enzhu, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC, President Carter visits China. During his stay in China, President Carter meets with President Hu Jintao and top officials from the NPC and MCA. President Hu Jintao discusses grassroots democracy in China with President Carter and thanks him for the Center's advice and assistance in standardization village elections procedures. President Hu also asks the Center to provide assistance at improving election measures and empowering people's congress deputies at the township and county level. President Carter presides over the award ceremony and gives awards to the winners of the national essay contest on village elections and villager self-government. He also gives a speech at Beijing University on the relationship between economic reform and political reform. 

The Center inks another three-year agreement with the MCA to cooperate on standardizing village election procedures. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding is signed between the Center and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC to initiate cooperation on improving local people's congress deputy election regulations, empowering local congresses and training local people's deputies.

August 2003: The Center organizes a conference on election campaigns, self-nomination and independent candidates emerging from district-level people's congress deputy elections in Shenzhen in April/May, in collaboration with School of Public Administration, Shenzhen University. About 50 scholars, officials, candidates, journalists participate in the three-day conference to discuss the origins and legitimacy of unprecedented campaigning of (independent) candidates, the controversial recalling of a newly-elected people's deputy in Shenzhen and the loopholes in the current election law and provincial regulations. A conference proceeding is published. (For transcripts of the conference and reports on the Shenzhen elections, visit 

The Center organizes a seminar on reform of town/township and county/district level people's congress deputies' election regulations in Beijing. The participants are mainly electoral officials from the NPC and people's congresses in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, etc. A manual on local people's congress deputy election measures is later published by the publishing arm of the NPC, the Democracy & Rule of Law Press. Some of the recommendations raised in the seminar are adopted by the NPC in amending the election law in 2004.

April – May 2003: The Center monitors the sudden outbursts of electoral activism in Shenzhen City.

March – August 2003: The website of "China Elections and Governance" sponsored by the Center, in collaboration with three other websites in China, organizes a national essay contest on village elections and self-government. The other websites are Zhongguo renda xinwenwang (China People's Congress News;, Zhongguo cunmin zizhi xinxiwang (China Villager Self-government Information;, and Zhongguo nongcun yanjiuwang (China Rural Research; The call-for-paper is sent in March. By the end of July, 1057 articles are received from contesters who are local civil affairs officials, villager cadres, rural teachers, and scholars from various provinces. 70 winning essays are selected by a committee including officials from State Council, the NPC and the MCA and prominent Chinese scholars at an August meeting in Beijing. President Carter visits Beijing in September to attend the awards ceremony and gives awards to the prize-winners. (For more information on the essay contest, visit


December 2002: At the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC, a Center group observes county/district people's congress deputies elections in Yunnan Province. It is the first time ever a Western organization observes elections at this level. After the election observation, the group files recommendations to the NPC and local election officials on possible improvement in and/or inclusion of primary elections, campaigning and secret ballot.

The MCA and the China Village Elections Project conduct an assessment of the activities of the Joint Project to Standardize Village Election Procedures. Officials from the pilot provinces of Hunan, Jilin and Shaanxi attend the meeting and offer their evaluation. Discussion on the renewal of the Project begins. 
Yawei Liu, together with an NPC official and a CASS scholar, observes a township people's congress election in Baodi County, Tianjin Municipality.

The Project sponsors the publication of two research books on direct and indirect elections of People's Congress deputy elections in China.

November 2002: The Center invites a ten-member Chinese delegation to observe the U.S. mid-term elections in Philadelphia. In the delegation are seven MCA and local civil affairs officials and three NPC officials who are practitioners of village elections and local people's congress elections in China. The observation mission is co-sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations who also invites eight scholars from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

July 2002: The Center launches a website called, "China Elections and Governance" ( The website is aimed to provide as much information as possible on all levels of elections, governance, political reforms and social issues in the China.

June 2002: The first book series on China's rural elections and governance (a total of eight books) sponsored and edited by the Project are published by the Northwest University Press in Xi'an, Shaanxi. A press conference on the book series is held at the Great Hall of the People. It is attended by about 50 authors, commentators, media outlet representatives and officials.

Yawei Liu and a few Project partners from China observe a township people's congress deputy election in Langfang, Hebei province.

May 2002: A total of 65 computers are contributed by the Center to the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Civil Affairs.

A Center group observes a village election in Jining City, Shandong Province. 
The same group travels to Xian, Shaanxi to monitor the Center-sponsored computer training seminar for election officials.

March 2002: The Center conducts a pilot election of town people's congress deputies in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, in collaboration with a research institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The pilot features a primary election, meetings between candidates and voters, use of secret ballot booths, collection of election data and budget planning on elections.

A one-day conference on direct and indirect people's congress deputy elections and the role of local people's congresses is held in Beijing. Scholars from CASS and other research institutions and officials from the NPC and the MCA participate in the meeting.

January 2002: Having convened meetings in Lushan, Jiangxi, Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia, and with help from scholars and experts from both the United States and China, the Task Force on the Local Election System in China has designed a total of eight electoral measures (two for the direct election of TPC deputies and six for the indirect election of township/town magistrates and deputy magistrates). These measures have been translated into Chinese. The Task Force is actively seeking Chinese partners and willing officials to apply these measures to real elections.


December 2001: The fourth national seminar on villager committee elections is held by the MCA in Changsha, Hunan with support from the Center. This is the second time that the Center sponsors training of villager committee election officials in Hunan, one of the four provinces that are participating in the Carter Center-MCA joint project to standardize villager committee election procedures. A total of 160 trainees attend the seminar. Most of the trainees come from Hunan's 14 municipalities (prefectures). Representatives from Hubei, Henan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan and Guangxi also participate in the training. Having received intruction on how to conduct villager committee elections, trainees observe a pilot village election in Shantang Village, Pingtang Town, Wangcheng County on the outskirts of Changsha. Trainees then critique and comment on the election, raising various issues that are crucial to the improvement of the quality of villager committee elections. Representatives from the China Rural Governance Project of the European Union, the United Nations Development Program and a Vietnamese delegation also observe the training and the pilot villager committee election. It is agreed by the Center and the MCA that all future training will continue to follow the so-called Yinchuan Model, first introduced in Yinchuan, Ningxia in July 2001.

A Center group observes a town people's congress (TCP) deputies election in Baodi District, Tianjin. Tianjin is one of the first Chinese provinces and municipalities under central administration that has completed its TPC deputies election. China is scheduled to conclude this round of TPC deputies election (which is conducted every three years) by the end of 2002. The group witnesses many problems at the TPC voting district called Xiaoxuanzhuang Village (pop.: 1,270; eligible voters: 820), Dazhongzhuang Town. There is no voter identification verification; many voters carry blank voter IDs; proxy ballots are cast without written authorization; no one uses the secret ballot room; and the roving ballot box is not used according to the requirements of the law. When a voter questions the identity of one of the candidates listed on the ballot (We find out later that this candidate is a deputy town magistrate that has been transferred to Dazhongzhuang from a different town. He is away in South China on the election day.), he is forcefully escorted out of the polling station. During the post election discussion with village and town officials, we are told that villagers are much more interested in the villager committee election than the TPC deputies election because TPC deputies are irrelevant to their life.

A Center group organizes a seminar on the status of local elections in China. The seminar is attended by officials from various departments of the National People's Congress, officials from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei people's congresses and scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Qinghua University and Beijing College of Administrative Management. In addition to evaluating the current status of local elections, primarily the direct election of deputies to township/town and county people's congresses, the seminar devotes much time on revising electoral measures of township/town people's congress deputies designed by the Task Force on the Local Election System in China that consists of members and experts from the Center and Duke University. Many election reform related activities are deliberated and determine at the seminar. The consensus reached at the seminar is that the best and safest way to carry out the election reform is to fully enforce what is already legal and do what is required by the law in the local elections.

November – December 2001: Sponsored by the Center, 50,000 copies of The National Measures on Villager Committee Elections are printed and distributed to provinces that will conduct a new round of villager committee elections in late 2001 and 2002. Agreements are signed between provincial departments of civil affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs to distribute these measures in a rapid manner free of charge.

September 2001: The International Symposium on Villager Self-Government and the Development of Rural Society in China is held at the Beijing Eastern Garden International Conference Center. The conference is organized by the MCA and the Center with support from the Ford Foundation and other Western donors. Over 120 Chinese scholars and officials as well as researchers, academics and observers from the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Norway, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong attend the conference. Representatives from the Ford Foundation, the European Union, the Asia Foundation, the United Nations Development Project, the British Council and other domestic and international NGOs also observe the conference.

At the invitation of Minister Zeng Jianhui, Chairman of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, President Jimmy Carter leads a delegation to China. The mission of this visit is to promote the Center's China Village Election Project, observe a village election in Jiangsu Province, exchange ideas with top Chinese leaders on issues of common concern, and prod them to apply the improved measures of villager committee elections to township elections in China that are due to be held at the end of 2001 and early 2002. In Beijing, President Carter opens the international symposium on villager self-government and the development of rural society in China and meets with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng, Chairman Zeng Jianhui and MCA Minister Duoji Cairang. In addition to grassroots democratization in China and the Center's effort in offering technical assistance in this endeavor, other subjects are also discussed during these meetings, including Sino-American relations, the situation in the Korean Peninsula, religious freedom in China and the question of Tibet. In Shanghai, the delegation meets with local government and people's congress leaders and travels to Quanwang Village in nearby Suzhou to observe a villager committee election.

August 2001: The first volume of essays on villager self-government is published by China Social Press with support from the Center. The 29 essays included in this volume are selected from a large pool of submissions following a national call for papers at the Chinese web site on China Villager Self-government sponsored by the Center. The volume contains 445,000 Chinese characters and useful appendices such as both Chinese and English bibliographies of recent books and articles on Chinese rural development, political reform and direct village elections.

July 2001: The Carter Center sponsors an Election Information System Training Seminar in Changchun, Jilin. 73 election officials from each and every county, prefecture and municipality in Jilin and the provincial department of civil affairs participate in the training.

The third national seminar on villager committee elections is held by the MCA in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Nationality Autonomous Region with support from The Carter Center. Over 120 trainees attend the seminar. Most of the trainees come from Ningxia, including for the first time, officials from towns and townships. Teams from Shaanxi, Qinghai, Xinjiang Uigur Nationality Autonomous Region and Gansu also participate in the seminar. Trainees observe a pilot village election in Baliqiao Village, Manchun Town on the outskirts of Yinchuan on July 21. The failure of this election to produce a villager committee chair and the subsequent eruption of public anger on electoral irregularities offer a rare lesson to officials from five Northwestern provinces and autonomous regions. The review and critique of this demonstration village election by the trainees and instructors from the MCA last five hours.

Jilin Provincial Department of Civil Affairs launches the first random survey of the result and procedures of villager committee election in Jilin. Faculty members and students of Northeastern China Normal University conduct the survey in 40 randomly selected villages across the province.

June – July 2001: Dr. Yawei Liu, associate director of the China Village Elections Project, works with a Duke University team and a Task Force on the Local Election System in China is formed. The team visits villages and townships in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces and discusses extensively with local officials on the role of township/town people's congress and how to improve the election measures at the township/town level. A working conference is held in Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi, to design separate electoral procedures for both township/town people's congress deputies election and election of township/town magistrates.

May 2001: 170 computers are purchased and installed by the Project in Jilin Province in order to collect village election data. Jilin's new round of village election ends in June 2001.

March 2001: The second national seminar on villager committee elections is held by the MCA in Beijing with support from The Carter Center. 141 trainees attend the seminar representing 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (only Beijing, Jilin, Hunan and Hainan were unable to send trainees). 10 trainees represent provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 34 prefecture-level Bureaus of Civil Affairs, 94 county-level Bureaus of Civil Affairs, one a county-level Department of Organization, and one a village-level Civil Affairs assistant. 22 are women (15.6%) and 119 are men (84.4%).


December 2000: With support from The Carter Center, the MCA conducts the first national seminar on villager committee elections in Beijing for election officials at all levels. The 113 trainees attending the first seminar represent 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (only Zhejiang and Xinjiang were unable to send trainees). 26 trainees represent provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 41 prefecture-level Bureaus of Civil Affairs, 45 county-level Bureaus of Civil Affairs, and one a village-level Civil Affairs assistant. 22 trainees are women (19.5%) and 91 are men (80.5%)

November 2000: An MCA delegation comes to the United States to observe the presidential election. During its stay, the delegation exchanges ideas with China scholars at Stanford University, talks with the Center's China staff, holds discussions with local and state election officials in Georgia and meets with NGOs in Washington, DC. On the Election Day, the group examines every step of the general election from poll opening to poll closing and observes ballot tabulation and media coverage. Members of the delegation pay particular attention to voter identity verification, secret ballot booth, absentee balloting and management of polling stations.

September 2000: At the invitation of The Carter Center a high-ranking NPC delegation visits Atlanta and meets with President Carter. The NPC delegation is led by Minister Zeng Jianhui, chairman of the NPC's Foreign Affairs Committee. Minister Zeng reaffirms NPC's support for the Center's project in China and discusses with President Carter and the China staff further cooperative activities between the Center and the Bureau of Liaison of the NPC that supervises all Chinese elections above the village level. Minister Zeng extends invitation to President and Mrs. Carter to visit China at their convenience in 2001.

August 2000: A Carter Center delegation observes village elections in Dehua and Xianyou counties, Fujian. The Standing Committee of the Fujian People's Congress approves amended provincial measures for villager committee elections on July 28, 2000. The amended law includes new regulations such as prohibiting proxy voting and limiting the use of roving ballot boxes. This is the third time a Center delegation visits Fujian. On August 2, the delegation observes a sea-election in Qiuban Village in Dehua. No candidates win enough votes to be the chair but the delegates are impressed by the competitiveness of the election and the enthusiasm of the voters. On August 4, the Center group observes two more elections in Xiangling Village and Liuxian Village in Xianyou and talks with election officials from Putian Municipality and Xianyou County.

The Carter Center and the MCA cosponsor a conference in Beijing to discuss how to revise the PRC National Procedures on Villager Committee Elections, an outdated implementation manual published in 1995. 55 officials and scholars attend the conference, representing the Center, the MCA, the NPC, the Tribune on Townships and Villages, the Central Department of Organization, Hong Kong Chinese University, Hong Kong City University, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Central Party Academy. Election officials from eight provinces and municipalities are also present at the conference. Participants express their opinions on the revision report submitted by three MCA scholars and exchange ideas on the eligibility of voters, the formation of election commissions, the examination of candidates' qualifications, campaigning and enforcement of the Organic Law.

July – August 2000: 92 computers are installed in all Fujian counties in order to collect village election data. Fujian's new round of village election begins in August and ends in December 2000.

June 2000: The Carter Center sponsors an Election Information System Training Seminar in Fuzhou, Fujian, China. 102 election officials from each and every county, prefecture and municipality in Fujian and the provincial department of civil affairs participate in the training.

April 2000: "The Cooperative Agreement between The Ministry of Civil Affairs and The Carter Center to Standardize Villager Committee Election Procedures" is signed by Dr. John B. Hardman, Director, The Carter Center and Mr. Zhang Mingliang, Director General, Department of Basic-level Governance, the MCA.

This agreement is designed to develop model and replicable electoral practices through the following activities: (1) establish a complete data collection system in Fujian and Jilin provinces and in one third of the counties in Shaanxi province; (2) conduct academic research on standardizing election procedures; (3) print and distribute voter education materials; (4) train provincial and county level election officials in electoral laws, procedures and information delivery techniques; (5) continue dialogue, share experiences and publicize village level election information; and (6) conduct bilateral exchanges between the MCA and The Carter Center.

March – April 2000: Sponsored by The United States Information Agency and The Carter Center, a Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) delegation visits the United States. During its stay in Philadelphia, the delegation observes the presidential primary. In Atlanta, President Carter meets the delegation and discusses with the delegation about establishing a cooperative relationship with the NPC in standardizing election procedures at the township and county people's congress elections. The delegation also visits New Orleans and Los Angeles.

March 2000: Yawei Liu observes the presidential election in Taiwan.

January 2000: At the invitation of the MCA, The Carter Center sends a delegation to observe villager committee (VC) elections in Hebei Province. The delegation is led by Ambassador Gordon L. Streeb, Associate Executive Director of the Center, and made up of nine Center staff members, election experts and China scholars from various universities in the United States and Denmark.

A new three-year cooperative agreement is initialed by Mr. Charles E. Costello, Director, Democracy Program and Mr. Zhang Mingliang, Director-General, Department of Basic-level Governance, the MCA. This new agreement outlines future cooperative activities in three main areas, namely, 1) working together to collect village election data in four provinces and standardize electoral procedures; 2) publicizing village elections both in China and the West; and 3) conducting bilateral exchanges to learn from each other's experiences in conducting and organizing elections.

A Chinese web site on villager self-government (, cosponsored by The Carter Center and the MCA, is launched.

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