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13th annual Bob and Kim Griffin "Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture"

The University of Minnesota welcomed Jon Huntsman to speak about opportunities and challenges in China as part of the China Center’s 13th annual Bob and Kim Griffin “Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture” on April 22, held at the McNamara Alumni Center. Ambassador Huntsman formerly served as the U.S. trade ambassador to China and Singapore and was twice elected as the governor of Utah.

University President Eric Kaler highlighted the one hundred year old bond between the University and China, and the connections that have been built over the last century. He welcomed Larry and Cynthia Pan, the grandchildren of Wen Ping Pang, who was the first Chinese student to enroll at the University in 1914. President Kaler expressed high hopes for the future of the University’s relationship with China and appreciation for the events such as the Bob and Kim Griffin “Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture” on that allow the international relationship to grow.

Upon taking the stage, Ambassador Huntsman expressed his gratefulness to be present in English and then in mandarin Chinese, which drew applause from the impressed audience. With about half of the audience comprising of American and Chinese attendees, he said he felt it was the right way to begin. He went on to lay out how China is on an inevitable rise as a global power.

“Now we begin a new chapter, China begins kind of a new chapter. And I say that because we’re at the end of the Deng Xiaoping dynasty, we see the rise of the fifth generation of leaders in China… therefore we have kind of a break in terms of the kind of leaders that China is putting forward,” stated Ambassador Huntsman. He went on to say that as a result, the world is at a critical juncture that could either turn towards growth and stability or unpredictability, depending on whether China’s empowerment is treated as a wonderful opportunity or approached with fear.

His thoughts about challenges that China is facing at this juncture include pollution and unstable relations with surrounding countries. In addition, he pointed out the country’s financial system, stating it is problematic. A hot topic for challenges in China includes urbanization, which is happening on a large scale, with millions of citizens flocking from rural areas to cities. Ambassador Huntsman sees economic shifts that would move large corporations to change their structure.

While the situation is complicated, Ambassador Huntsman believes that the right man to handle it is already in power, Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he called the most impressive leader on the world stage today.

According to Ambassador Huntsman, “[President Xi] is someone who has come from politics, he is someone who has come from the hardships of China going back to the culture revolution. He is someone who has experienced what it means to run a province… he understands something about trade and investment, and how you keep a place competitive.” President Xi has proven himself capable of bringing together separate factions of politics, and Hunstman predicts that President Xi will further consolidate his power over the next few years and gain the ability to execute the necessary reforms. President Xi has already implemented an anti-corruption campaign, a thorough program of clearing out dishonest politicians.

Ambassador Huntsman went on to state that students of today will play a key role in determining the trajectory of the US-China relationship in the future. If students are educated on these issues and recognize their importance, China’s rise will serve as an opportunity for growth and progress. He concluded his statement with a call to action to recognize and accept without fear the importance and impending rise of China.

Ambassador Huntsman then sat down with Eric Schwartz, dean of the Humphrey School for Public Affairs, for a question and answer session where he explained what the rise looks like from China’s perspective.

Ambassador Huntsman theorized, “If I’m Xi Jinping sitting in the middle of [the Great Hall of the People], I’m saying what can I do, what are my policy options in keeping my people supportive of my reform agenda?” Primarily, President Xi’s motives stem from the two goals of accomplishing tranquility at home and peace abroad, both of which are necessary to ensure China’s rise to power is smooth. China cannot afford and does not want to go to war. As for social issues, Huntsman predicts that China will evolve into a more liberal society with more individual freedoms and civilian efficacy.

The final question addressed what advice Ambassador Huntsman would give to a student wishing to go into diplomacy. He suggested that students specialize in a certain issue set such as economics, security or soft culture and gain a second language. To view the lecture and question-and-answer session in its entirety, visit the China Center website at chinacenter.umn.edu/news/griffin.

The 13th annual Bob and Kim Griffin “Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture” was a part of the China 100 Symposium: U, Minnesota and China looking forward to the next century. For more information about the China 100 Symposium, visit china100.umn.edu.

十三届Bob and Kim Griffin美中友谊桥讲座暨“明尼苏达大学与中国未来展望论坛”

2014年4月22日,明尼苏达大学中国中心在双城校区McNamara校友中心举办了第十三届Bob and Kim Griffin美中友谊桥讲座暨“明尼苏达大学与中国未来展望论坛”的主题演讲。此次特邀演讲嘉宾是前美国驻华大使洪博培先生,他就美中两国未来发展的机遇与挑战发表了演说。作为美国为数不多的讲流利中文的政治家和外交家,洪博培2009年-2011年期间担任美国驻华大使,此前还曾两度担任犹他州州长和美国驻新加波大使。

明尼苏达大学校长艾瑞克·凯勒博士为该主题讲座致欢迎辞。他首先向为促进美中关系发展做出贡献的 美中友谊桥讲座捐助人Bob and Kim Griffin夫妇表示感谢。他还特别欢迎了观众席中的特别来宾Larry Pan先生和Cynthia Pan女士。他们是1914年来到明大就读的第一位中国留学生潘文炳的孙子和孙女。凯勒校长对明大和中国的合作发展前景寄予很高的期望。他强调,明尼苏达大学与中国的百年的历史纽带和教育交流弥足珍贵,今后明尼苏达大学与中国的各领域的学术交流会继续深化和拓展。

走上讲台后,洪博培大使先后用英语和地道的中文普通话问候大家,赢得观众的热烈掌声。他说,在场的观众有一半中国人和一半美国人,所以他应该有一个双语的开场白。随后,他用自身经验和体会阐述了中国成为一个世界强国的必然性。

洪博培大使说,“我们美国开始了一个新的篇章,中国从某种意义上来讲也开始了一个新的篇章。随着深受邓小平影响的时代已近结束,中国的第五代领导人正在崛起。目前中国正处在一个新旧领导人交替的阶段。因此,当前的世界面临一个关键的转折点,或走向发展和稳定,或出现很多不可预期的问题,这都取决于我们如何去看待中国的崛起,是将之视为一个宝贵的机会还是一个可怕的威胁。”

洪博培大使在谈到中国目前所面临的挑战时,提到了环境污染和周边外交的不稳定因素。另外,中国的金融系统也值得高度关注。大规模的城镇化进程使近千万人口每年从中国农村地区迁移到城市。经济上的转型可能会导致许多大公司的战略结构调整。

尽管中国发展局势很错综复杂,洪博培大使相信现任中国国家主席习近平有能力处理这些问题,他说习近平是当今世界舞台上最令他刮目相看的领导人。

“[习近平主席]来自一个政治世家,他经历过包括文化大革命在内的困难时期,也有担任地方省长的经历。他深谙贸易和投资,知道如何保持一个国家和地区的竞争力。” 洪博培大使相信,习近平上任后已经证明了他有能力团结持有不同政见的人,在接下来的几年里会在进一步巩固中央决策核心,也会实施一些必要的改革,譬如正在进行的查处违法违纪官员的反腐倡廉运动。

洪博培大使还谈到了当今的青年人在很大程度上可以决定将来美中关系的发展轨迹,如果学生们能够有机会深入了解美中的挑战和问题,中国的崛起将是他们发展和进步的机会。最后洪博培大使鼓励大家认可并毫无畏惧地接受中国的崛起。

演讲结束后,明尼苏达大学亨弗利政府和公共事务学院院长Eric Schwartz主持了提问。当被问到中国政府如何看待中国崛起,洪博培大使分析说,“如果我是习近平,我要怎么做才能让人民支持我的改革计划呢?”从根本上来讲,习主席的改革动力有二:国内社会安定和国际关系和平,两者是保证中国平稳崛起的必要条件。中国不能承受也不愿参与战争。至于社会问题,洪博培说中国会发展成为一个更加开放的社会,个人会拥有更多自由,老百姓也将拥有更多的权利。

洪博培大使回答的最后一个问题是对将来从事外交的美国学生给些忠告,他建议学生在经济、安全、文化等领域选择一门专供,同时要掌握一门外语。

观看完整讲座和问答环节请访问中国中心网站:chinacenter.umn.edu/news/griffin.

第十三届Bob and Kim Griffin美中友谊桥讲座是“明尼苏达大学与中国未来展望论坛”的一部分。欲了解更多关于明尼苏达大学和中国的百年交流庆典活动,敬请访问china100.umn.edu.