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Seventh Annual China Town Hall

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The Josef Korbel School's Center for China-U.S. Cooperation participated in the National Committee on US-China Relations seventh annual China Town Hall—a national day of programming designed to provide Americans across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss China's rapid development and Sino-American relations.

This year's event featured a live webcast with Madeleine Albright, 64th U.S. Secretary of State and daughter of Josef Korbel, our school's founder and first dean.  The University of Denver also presented Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA.

During the webcast, Albright categorized the China-U.S. relationship as important and positive.  She encouraged continued cooperation and said, "Our relationship must continue to mature.  Washington cannot continue to carry the world's burdens.  We want Beijing to assume a role."

While she maintained that the Sino-U.S. relations are becoming "more regularized and more personalized," Albright admitted that there are some stresses.  She indicated that one of the causes of this stress is differences in political philosophies.  However, she does not see these differences as a roadblock and suggested that the two countries "recognize our disagreements and core differences with maturity, confront our challenges directly, and have leaders on both sides that are committed to this relationship."

Jannuzi echoed Albright's sentiments regarding the importance of the China-U.S. relationship and outlined six "dragons" that imperil China's future.  These include:

  • The environment – Jannuzi likened breathing the air in Beijing to smoking cigarettes.
  • Energy – He indicated that coal accounts for around 70% of China's energy mix resulting in high levels of pollution.
  • Demographics – Jannuzi pointed to China's aging population.
  • Income inequality – Jannuzi described China as "one of the most income unequal places on the planet."
  • Ethnic unrest – Jannuzi noted that Han Chinese enjoy a privileged position within the country.
  • Corruption – Jannuzi said, "Corruption is off the charts in China."

"When I was interviewing with Tom Fingar at the start of my career, just before the Tiananmen Square protests, he asked just one question, 'Is China going to make it?' I think the question was an important one back then and remains an equally significant one today in the face of the enormous pressures endangering China's rise," said Jannuzi.

Following his presentation, Jannuzi took questions from the students and community members who attended the town hall and further discussed the so-called six dragons.