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Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of US-China Diplomatic Relations and Asian American Heritage Month Special Forum

On May 5th, the Chinese American Federation (CAF) and the Chinese American Foundation (CAF) jointly hosted a grand celebration at the San Gabriel Country Club to commemorate the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations and the Asian American Heritage Month Special Forum. Distinguished guests included Consul General Shaochun Guo and his wife Wei Wang, Consul Chunlin Li, Deputy Consul General of China in Los Angeles, Congresswoman Judy Chu, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Professor Min Zhou, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and Judge Edwin Chau from Los Angeles County and his wife , among others. Qi Wang, Director of Overseas Chinese Affairs at the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, Consul Junxie Lu, and more than 200 representatives from Southern California's political, business, overseas Chinese, academic circles, and other sectors attended the event. They discussed various topics related to US-China relations and the immigration of Chinese Americans.

The day's events were divided into four parts: welcoming remarks and ambassador's speech, featured activities, keynote speeches, and acknowledgments. Initially, President Michael Xiong of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) and President Joey Yu of the Chinese American Foundation (CAF) warmly welcomed guests on behalf of the organizers.

President Xiong of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) expressed that the purpose of hosting the celebration of the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations and the Asian American Heritage Month Special Forum is to help more American people understand the importance of maintaining good relations between the US and China. He emphasized the contributions and significance of Asian Pacific Americans, including Chinese and overseas Chinese, to the development of the United States.

"As Chinese Americans, we have a duty and responsibility to act as grassroots diplomats to promote the healthy development of US-China relations. At the same time, we also have an obligation to actively promote unity and harmony among ethnic groups and enhance friendship between the peoples of China and the United States."

President Yu of the Chinese American Foundation (CAF) stated that over the past 45 years, US-China bilateral relations have experienced various challenges, demonstrating resilience, cooperation, and mutual respect. As a Chinese American, he expressed pride in being both American and proud of his identity and Chinese heritage. While acknowledging that most of them are not politicians, he emphasized their role as citizens to act as civilian diplomats, promoting cultural understanding with other ethnic groups, advocating for justice, and engaging with mainstream society.

"Today, we also celebrate Asian American Heritage Month, honoring generations of Asian Americans who ventured across oceans in search of opportunities, built thriving communities, and achieved remarkable success in various fields. Asian Americans have left an indelible mark on American history and society."

This encapsulates President Yu's reflections on the significance of the event and the contributions of Asian Americans to the United States.

President Joey Yu's Address:

 
 

Consul General ShaochunGuo expressed great pleasure in participating in the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations and Asian American Heritage Month activities, reflecting on history and looking towards the future together with everyone. Forty-five years ago, leaders of both China and the United States, with political foresight and courage, opened the door to bilateral relations. Over these 45 years, the relationship between the two countries has weathered storms and continued to advance, achieving historic accomplishments that have benefited both peoples and promoted world peace, stability, and prosperity. US-China relations are among the most important bilateral relationships globally, not only affecting the well-being of both nations' peoples but also crucial to global peace, development, and the future of humanity.

Consul General Guo emphasized that managing US-China relations requires correctly addressing two key and directional questions. Firstly, it necessitates establishing a correct understanding. Only with accurate perceptions can policies be correct. Insisting on viewing each other as the primary competitor makes it difficult to genuinely improve and stabilize bilateral relations.

Consul General Guo stressed that the correct approach is to uphold mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. Mutual respect is fundamental because of the differences in social systems and political structures between the two countries; sustainable bilateral interactions can only be achieved through respect and recognition of these differences. Peaceful coexistence is essential as conflicts between major countries like China and the United States would have unimaginable consequences. Win-win cooperation is the goal, as cooperation between China and the United States can achieve many significant benefits for both countries and the world. These three principles not only distill important experiences from half a century of US-China relations but also provide profound insights from historical conflicts between major powers, serving as the direction for joint efforts between China and the United States.

Congresswoman Judy Chu, in her address, stated that as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), she was honored to celebrate the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations and Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month together with everyone. She also expressed gratitude to the Chinese American Federation (CAF) and the Chinese American Foundation (CAF) for organizing this special event.

Congresswoman Chu remarked that over the decades, economic growth has been rapid, significant scientific collaborations have occurred, and relative peace has been maintained in the Indo-Pacific region. She emphasized the importance of these experiences today, highlighting her pleasure in coming together for such an event to recognize our commonalities. She also discussed her co-leadership of the "Restore the Fubright Exchange with China and Hong Kong Act," which aims to restore exchanges between teachers and scholars from both countries to promote mutual understanding, communication, and improved relations. Even in the face of significant disagreements between governments, she stressed the need to uphold and restore mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and China. In the United States, she emphasized the necessity to continue working together to oppose hatred and xenophobic rhetoric directed at Chinese and Asian Americans.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (center) presents a congratulatory letter to President Xiong Wensheng (left) and President Yu Zewei (right)

The second part of this special forum featured a presentation of selected activities, chaired by Ms. Yvette Yang, Chair of the Chinese American Federation (CAF). In her opening remarks, she highlighted the significance of two important historical milestones in May 2024: the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations and Asian American Heritage Month in the United States. On this special occasion, she emphasized that it not only allows for a reflection on this remarkable history but also provides an opportunity to look towards the future. Therefore, the Chinese American Federation and the Chinese American Foundation, together with all member organizations of the Federation, hosted a large-scale special event titled "Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of US-China Diplomatic Relations and Asian American Heritage Month."

This part was a highlight of the forum, where Ms. Jimmy Wang, Honorary Chair of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) and Honorary Chair of the Chinese American Foundation, presented on the theme "Ethnic Integration, Hand in Hand." She introduced the collaboration between the Chinese American Foundation and the College of Humanities at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) on their Chinese language education project.

Additionally, various speakers shared their experiences and work in promoting US-China relations, economic and trade relations, friendship between the peoples of China and the United States, as well as efforts in promoting Chinese culture, integrating into mainstream society, and safeguarding the interests of the Chinese American community. These included Mr. John Cheng, Founder and Honorary Chair of CAF; Mr. Jizhou Yang, Martial Artist and Vice President of the Yunnan Association of Southern California; Ms. Honglian. Peng, Vice President of the Southern California Hubei Association; Mr. Zhaolin Li, Secretary-General of the Southern California Hunan Association; Mr. Zhuang Ma, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the US Zhejiang Economic and Trade Cultural Association; Ms. Ulan, representative from Nishan International; Ms. Jingwen Zheng, representative from the US Suzhou-Zhejiang-Shanghai Association; Mr. Donglin Sheng, President of the Southern California Nantong Association; and Mr. Gang Zhou, Honorary Chair of CAF. Each speaker provided practical examples and personal insights into their efforts and achievements in these areas.

On that day, the thematic lecture portion of the forum was chaired by Mr. Fei Pang, Esq., Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chinese American Federation (CAF).

Firstly, Professor Min Zhou, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UCLA and Director Emeritus of Asian American Studies (the inaugural department chair), as well as Honorary Chair of the Chinese American Foundation, delivered a special lecture titled "Reflecting on Evolving US-China Relations and the Chinese American Community."

Professor Zhou analyzed the American Chinese community from three perspectives: the transformation of the Chinese American society, the impact of US-China relations on the Chinese American society, and the development prospects of the Chinese American society. According to Professor Zhou's analysis, the influx of Chinese immigrants following China's reform and opening-up and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and China led to a significant increase in the Chinese American population, causing profound changes in the Chinese American society.

Professor Zhou pointed out that US-China relations directly and indirectly affect the economic livelihood of the Chinese American community. Negative impacts of deteriorating US-China relations include weakening US competitiveness in the international talent market, reinforcing negative stereotypes against Chinese Americans, and creating new structural barriers that hinder Chinese Americans' social integration and upward mobility. Regarding the future development prospects of the Chinese American community, American society needs to address the issues of dual stereotypes and racial discrimination against Chinese Americans. Chinese Americans themselves need to emphasize their identity, participate in politics, and promote unity both within and outside their ethnic community while respecting differences.

Another keynote speaker was Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer, who shared her personal background from Yunnan and her experiences in the political field, including encounters with racism and cultural misunderstandings. She highlighted that Asian American elected officials face similar and unique challenges compared to other elected officials, specifically related to ethnicity, which must be overcome.

Fiona Ma believes that current tensions in US-China relations have had negative impacts on the Chinese American community. She suggests that the solution includes active participation in social and political discourse, emphasizing diplomacy and cross-cultural understanding. Additionally, she encourages Chinese Americans to actively engage in public service, particularly through political participation. Ma emphasizes the importance of encouraging the younger generation of Chinese Americans to actively shape the political future of their communities and country, recognizing the significance of unity and active involvement to create a better environment for all Asians. She remains optimistic about the future contributions of Asian Americans in strengthening US-China relations and broader international diplomacy.

After the conclusion of the keynote speeches, Board Chaiworman Sher Li of the Chinese American Foundation delivered the concluding remarks. She began by expressing gratitude to the leadership teams of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) and the Chinese American Foundation for their guidance in organizing today's event, and she felt honored to have been involved in the preparations for the conference.
 
Chaiworman Li stated that after listening to Chairwoman Yang's insightful introduction and the inspiring speeches from the ten community representatives, she was deeply moved and immensely proud. Each story shared during the event was heartfelt, showcasing the contributions of the Chinese American community over the decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. These contributions span various social spheres and fields, significantly promoting exchanges and mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and China. She emphasized the commendable aspect that throughout these decades, the community has consistently remembered to give back to the communities where they now reside, thereby fostering a positive image of Chinese Americans.
 
Chairwoman Sher Li was interviewed:
 
 
 
 
Finally, Chairman Simon Shao, who is also the Chairman of the Honorary Board of the Chinese American Federation and Vice Chairman of the Chinese American Foundation, represented the organizers in expressing gratitude to the attendees. He reflected on the history of US-China diplomatic relations and the opening of American doors to Chinese students. He emphasized that the story of US-China relations is written by the people. Despite different histories, cultures, social systems, and paths of development, the people of both countries are kind, friendly, diligent, and practical. They share a love for their countries, families, and lives, and they have positive impressions and interests in each other. It is through the mutual efforts of the people of both countries that US-China relations have repeatedly returned to the right track from lows. He believes that once the door of US-China relations is opened, it will never close again.
 
 
Professor Jeffrey T. Reeder, Dean of the College of Humanities at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), also delivered a special address during the event. Nearly 20 faculty members and students from the university participated in the day's activities. They all found the event highly meaningful as it celebrated not only the 45th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations but also Asian American Heritage Month. On this special occasion, everyone had the rare opportunity to exchange and share with each other, fostering mutual understanding and camaraderie.
 
Fiona Ma, Min Zhou, Judge Edwin Chau from the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Jeffrey T. Reeder, Dean of the College of Humanities at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and faculty and students
 
This thematic forum aims to celebrate, commemorate, and witness this important historical milestone together, while also deeply contemplating how to promote the healthy development of US-China people-to-people relations in the future. At the same time, we express gratitude to pioneers who have contributed to the advancement of Asian American communities and the protection of their rights. We commend contributors from various fields who tirelessly give back to society and promote ethnic integration. This forum also seeks to enhance the sense of identity and pride among Asian Americans, firmly believing that the Asian American community is an indispensable part of America's diverse society!
 
President Michael Xiong of the Chinese American Federation (second from the left), President Joey Yu of the Chinese American Foundation (first from the left), Chairwoman Sher Li of the Board (first from the right), Consul General Shaochun Guo (in the center), and Consul Wei Wang (second from the right)
 
 
From left to right: Simon Shao, Deputy Consul General Chunlin Li of the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, Michael Xiong, and Joey Yu.
 
From left to right: Michael Xiong, Joey Yu, Sher Li, Min Zhou, Yvette Yang, Jimmy Wang
 
The main leaders of the Chinese American Federation and Chinese American Foundation with guests such as Zhou Min and Judge Edwin Chau
 
Joey Yu  and his spouse (left one and two), along with Judge Edwin Chau and his spouse (right one and two)
 
From left to right: Risheng Lin, Joey Yu, Ulan, Linda Cao, Gang Zhou, John Cheng, Simon Shao
 

[Partial images and multimedia sources: Huarenone.com]

Attached: Speech Manuscript by Joey Yu, President of the Chinese American Foundation

Good afternoon everyone, Consul General Shaochun Guo, Congresswoman Judy Chu, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Today, we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, marking a significant milestone in the enduring relationship between our two nations.

Over the past forty-five years, the bilateral relationship between China and the United States has weathered various challenges, demonstrating resilience, cooperation, and mutual respect. Since formalizing diplomatic relations in 1979, our countries have built deep economic, cultural, and strategic ties, benefiting not only our peoples but also contributing to global prosperity.

Reflecting on the journey of the past 45 years, we recognize the importance of dialogue, understanding, and cooperation in addressing common challenges and advancing shared interests. Despite differences, both countries have sought constructive engagement and cooperation in areas such as trade, commerce, environmental protection, and global health initiatives.

As a Chinese American, I am proud to be an American citizen, but I am also proud of my identity and Chinese heritage. It is naive to think that U.S.-China relations do not impact Chinese Americans living in this country. Unfortunately, we face stereotypes every day. While most of us are not politicians, as citizens, we can serve as cultural ambassadors, promote understanding among different ethnic groups, advocate for justice, and engage with mainstream society.

Looking ahead, leaders of both countries are committed to further strengthening our partnership and enhancing mutual understanding among our peoples. Through candid and open dialogue, respecting each other's sovereignty and core interests, and promoting people-to-people exchanges, we can build a more stable, prosperous, and peaceful world for future generations.

Today, we also celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. From early immigrants braving oceans in search of opportunities to subsequent generations establishing thriving communities and achieving excellence in various fields, Asian Americans have left an indelible mark on American history and society. Thank you for your presence and participation.

Speech Manuscript by Sher Li, Chairwoman of the Board Chairwoman of the Chinese American Foundation

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, good afternoon!

In this sunny May afternoon, we gather together for "Reflecting on History, Looking Forward: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of US-China Diplomatic Relations and Asian American Heritage Month." First of all, I want to express my gratitude to the leadership teams of the Chinese American Association and the Chinese American Foundation, including Xiong Wensheng, Yu Zewei, Yang Yifan, Pang Fei, Shao Wen, Cheng Yuan, Wang Jianmei, and Song Yuanyuan, who led the working groups and member organizations in organizing today's event. I am honored to have participated in the preparation of this conference.

Moved and Proud

Just now, I was deeply moved and immensely proud listening to Chairman Yang's insightful introduction and the splendid speeches by the 10 representatives of various organizations. Each story they shared is filled with deep emotion, narrating the efforts of our Chinese community over the past few decades since the establishment of US-China diplomatic relations. Across different personal circumstances, social strata, and fields, they have undertaken many exemplary charitable initiatives that truly promote exchanges and mutual understanding between the US and China. It's truly admirable that over these decades, we have never forgotten to give back to the communities we live in now, thereby enhancing the positive image of the Chinese people.

Confidence and Strength

I sincerely thank today's keynote speakers for imparting us with profound insights and rich knowledge. Ambassador Guo's report on US-China relations, Professor Zhou Min's analysis of the current situation of Chinese Americans, and Secretary Ma Shiyun's sharing of her unwavering political journey in California undoubtedly inspire confidence and strength in us.

Gratitude and Encouragement

As we reflect on history and look to the future today, I am especially grateful to the pioneers of the US-China relations thaw and to those who continue to strive for the maintenance of friendly relations between the US and China.

As the former President of the Chinese American Association and the Chinese American Foundation, I am delighted to see the leadership teams of both organizations continue to excel. Let's encourage each other, cherish the present moment, and uphold our shared ideals and goals: to promote multicultural exchanges and ethnic integration, care for vulnerable groups, oppose anti-Asian hatred, safeguard community interests, and actively build bridges for US-China people-to-people exchanges tirelessly!