Under arrangements by the Federal Executive Institute (FEI), nearly 20 U.S. secretary-level government officials recently arrived at Tsinghua University for a one-week intensive training program. The training involves content related to China's management and decision-analysis on politics, economics, military, energy and environment.
Selected by the FEI, the trainees are all secretary-level officials who can directly affect their country's policies toward China, including the directors from the Office of Independent Program Evaluations under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's International Affairs Office of the Western Hemisphere under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Navy Information Operations Command's Action and Planning Office under the U.S. Naval Department, the United States Department of Defense's Defense Technology Analysis Office and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's New Reactor Office.
Joseph Kraemer, director of the FEI, told reporters that both China and the United States have put a lot of energy into the training program. In the future, the United States will send more senior officials to China for education and investigation because it is very important for the United States to make proper policies toward China.
U.S. officials began their first class on April 19 and Sun Zhe, director of the Center for China-U.S. Relations under Tsinghua University, spent three hours giving lectures on China-U.S. relations and their political systems.
In the first lesson titled "China's Political System," Professor Sun introduced in detail the "Scientific Development," "Harmonious Society," "Five-Year Plan," as well as the system of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC), the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
He told reporters that through the training, China hopes to change the status quo wherein Chinese officials are trained in the United States but not the other way around. He said this of course is not a question of who the student is and who the teacher is, but rather this kind of communication can deepen the mutual understanding between both countries. Even more important however, is the fact that China's democracy and prosperity are the most important factors in winning respect from the international community including the United States.
The U.S. civil service system, known as the "spoils system," is very special because the department heads are appointed by the president and approved by Congress, except for some who are elected, including the president, governors and mayors. Generally speaking however, the rank-and-file government employees will not change as the ruling party and president change.
Sun said, "The U.S. civil servants can retain their jobs even if the ruling party changes. They work under a system of permanent tenure. They are generally politically neutral, and not permitted to engage in any partisan political activity, though they may join political parties.
This civil service system has helped to maintain the relative continuity and stability of the U.S. government. "If the U.S. officials can take this kind of training regularly, they will definitely play a positive and lasting role in influencing U.S. policies toward China."
During his visit to China last November, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States will encourage more Americans to study in China, and will send 10,000 Americans to study in China over the next 10 years. In addition, the visa application procedures will be made more convenient for the Chinese people who plan to study in the United States.
"These officials have made a lot of preparations before coming to China. They have shown quite amazing understanding toward China, and some can even speak Chinese fluently. They participate in the training partly because they want to have a deeper and clearer understanding of China, and partly because they want to enhance the mutual trust and deepen cooperation through the training," said Zhao Kejin, deputy director of the Center for China-U.S. Relations under Tsinghua University, who is engaged in the entire training process.
By People's Daily Online