In May, I interviewed Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the United States, who highlighted the role of people-to-people ties in strengthening ties between the two countries amid global tensions. “The friendship between people lays the foundation for Sino-US relations,” said Chen, who spoke shortly after a trip to the Midwest that included a speech at a forum organized by the United States Association of China. Speakers at the event praised the personal exchanges as well as China’s purchases of US agricultural products.
In support of its work, the US China Heart Association was selected Saturday as the recipient of one of 39 new grants totaling $12.75 million from the Henry Luce Foundation, which has long been associated with strengthening ties between the US and Asia.
“The grant to the US China Heart Association will support the organization’s ongoing work to build constructive relationships between the US and China by connecting government and business leaders from both regions and creating spaces for college students in the US and China to interact with each other and share stories of intercultural life.
The press release did not say how much of the total scholarship went to the China Heartland Association.
The Foundation also provided a grant for the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program, which aims to improve US-Asia relations by offering early-career leaders from the United States and the Indo-Pacific region opportunities to improve their policy analysis skills. It also provided a grant, among other things, to PEN America, the writers organization that has taken the lead in raising awareness of recent efforts by state legislators to limit academic freedom in colleges and universities. “The grant money will ensure that they can continue to monitor legislation and advocate on behalf of freedom of expression,” the group said.
Not everyone was pleased with the work of the Heartland China Association. Senator Marco Rubio, a prominent member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a frequent critic of Beijing, was quoted as telling the Washington Examiner in today’s report: “The Chinese Communist Party is working at every level to influence US decision-makers.” “The China American Heart Association plays a vital role in this effort.”
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