Institute collects '1,000 reasons' for enhancing US-China relations

By ZHANG RUINAN in New York | | Updated: 2017-11-09 06:22

Institute collects '1,000 reasons' for enhancing US-China relations

Fred Teng (center), president of the America China Public Affairs Institute (ACPAI), launched the "One Thousand Reasons to Enhance US-China Relations" program during a press conference with Wei Yi (left), vice-president of ACPAI, and Henry Tang, co-founder of the Committee of 100, on Friday in New York. [Photo/Zhang Ruinan]

To coincide with US President Donald Trump's visit to China, the America China Public Affairs Institute launched programs to collect thoughts of overseas Chinese on boosting US-China relations and to help Chinese Americans amplify their political voice.

One is called "One Thousand Reasons to Enhance US-China Relations" and the other is a training program for Chinese Americans who want to run for political office in the United States.

When President Xi Jinping met with Trump at the latter's Florida resort in April, he said there were "a thousand reasons to make the China-US relationship work, and no reason to break it", said Fred Teng, president of the America China Public Affairs Institute.

"Thus, ahead of President Trump's visit to China, we plan to launch a website that collects Chinese people's thoughts about why we should enhance China-US relations," Teng said at a press conference in New York on Friday.

The reasons were collected through an online platform starting Nov 5 and will be presented by the institute on a website later.

"We want to hear voices from businesspeople, teachers, doctors, lawyers, workers — people from different industries and backgrounds, to know what they care about and why they think it's (enhancing China-US ties) important," Teng added.

"There aren't enough outlets for Chinese people to voice their ideas, suggestions and thoughts about what happens between the US and China," said Henry Tang, co-founder of the Committee of 100, a nonpartisan organization focused on addressing issues important to the Chinese-American community and furthering US-China relations. "This idea of getting Chinese people's opinions and voice into the national dialogue is the number one priority of the Chinese community."

Teng said "the Chinese community in the US should play a more important role in China-US relations; now we have strong economic power, but we still lack strong political power. That's why we also launched the training program, a congressional campaign workshop, which we called future candidates school, to help those Chinese people who want to run for office learn more about developing the attributes of effective candidates, building a strong base of grassroots support, raising funds and so on."

Teng said the workshop would be held from Dec 4 to 8 in Washington.

"This is very important, and we [Fred Teng and I] both have a long history in New York City's public affairs, and it has been very difficult in the last thirtyish years to get any effective candidate – what's very frustrating is we have put up many candidates, but winning candidates have been very, very few," said Tang.

"The important thing is to create this school institute, so that our young people, who want to go into public service and ultimately run for office, have an outlet to do this," Tang added. "It's up to us, as senior leaders, to help the young people open a new chapter, so they can come back and help the Chinese community."

Dewey Fong, membership chairman of the New York State Fraternal Order of Police who served on the NYPD for 30 years, rising to the rank of deputy chief, said that there are areas where "Chinese-Americans are not being paid attention to … so we want to be on the map, and one of the ways to get us on the map, is through participation, not only in economics, computer skills and technologies, but also in American politics, community service and civic duty – are these all very important."

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