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V28: Hope Even at Low Point

January , 2021


Repair and Rebuild

For China-U.S. relations, the past 12 months have been tumultuous, framed by the COVID-19 pandemic and marked by an accelerating downward spiral caused by an incessant stream of sanctions from an openly hostile Trump administration. With Joe Biden in the Oval Office, a window of opportunity will open for readjustment.

In this issue, we highlight measured hopes, earnest reservations and, most important, recommendations from a range of Chinese and American academics outlining what both governments and societies can do to offset the damage already inflicted. Their thoughts shine light on the path leading out of the abyss.

We dedicate this issue to Professor Erza Vogel who died in December. As one of the leading U.S. scholars on East Asia, Vogel devoted his life to bringing people closer. His academic research and writing, as well as his interaction with different cultures, are invaluable. In July, China-U.S. Focus had the honor of hosting Vogel in a video interview, one of the last he gave before his death.


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  • The crux now is how to cage the differences and arrest the free-fall, while at the same time striving for cooperation via dialogue and confidence-building measures.

    He Yafei

    Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • That makes me much more hopeful that if we get a new president in January, that we can begin to try to pull the relationship back to a better one.

    Ezra Vogel

  • It’s far past time for China and the U.S. to have a comprehensive, in-depth and lasting dialogue on managing all aspects of their differences.

    Tao Wenzhao

    Researcher, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
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