For many U.S. citizens, China is still a mysterious oriental country that sells a lot of cheap products to their country. In general, they hold little grudge against the country except for its low-quality exports flooding their supermarkets. At bottom, it is just the few China watchers, journalists, and politicians who see China as a grave threat to the United States.

Quite interestingly, Chinese people, especially the younger generations, knows a lot about what is going on in the United States, not the other way around. It thus requires them to make more efficient self-introductions to their U.S. peers. Grassroots or unofficial exchanges can be a feasible solution.

Zhao Kejin is an expert on China’s foreign policy and diplomacy. At the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, he runs a program that examines the development of China’s public diplomacy.
Zhao Kejin

Resident Scholar
Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

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Before Xi concluded his maiden state visit to the United States, both sides agreed to support the holding of the China-U.S. Young Maker Competition annually, as well as collaboration between think-tanks in Chinese and U.S. universities, marking a promising start.

Teenagers, in particular, should pursue a knowledge-driven approach in a bid to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the other country. On the other hand, think tank scholars also need to keep an open mind to their foreign counterparts and engage in more in-depth, constructive discussions, regardless of their nationalities and which government they represent.

Likewise, “state-province collaboration between Chinese provinces and U.S. states, is expected to become another new breakthrough in the bilateral relationship, because it involves little ideological differences and focuses on economic cooperation and common interests.

A version of this article was originally published in the China Daily.