During Obama’s 2010 visit to China, he announced the “100,000 Strong Initiative,” a program to get 100,000 American students studying in China within the next few years. China was supportive and announced a matching 10,000 “bridge scholarships” program paying for 10% of the program’s American student in-country studying expenses. Coinciding with Chinese President Hu’s visiting Obama, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama rallied American students to take up on this opportunity today.
I think it is programs such as this that will have a broad effect on a more positive relationship between the countries. Though not mentioned in Obama’s speech, another really important benefit to the U.S. is that these students will bring back new ideas from China. That will only make U.S. a better place. Until the U.S. and the West match proportionately the Chinese students studying abroad in numbers, I bet China is guaranteed to be acquiring ideas faster.
I’ve recently learned of efforts within the U.S. Congress to foster a more constructive relationship with China. (See National Committee on United States-China Relations.)
If there is a bet, I wager the U.S. media will not spend much effort in covering these developments. The lesson for me is from now on, perhaps, less media, especially Western ones.