A collection of events, interviews, and photos commemorating the 50th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy.
In April 1972, the National Committee made history by hosting the Chinese Table Tennis Team in round two of what became widely known as Ping Pong Diplomacy. The watershed visit — the first-ever of a delegation from the People's Republic of China to the United States — set the Committee on its path of becoming the pre-eminent exchange organization between the United States and China.
Eight months after the Chinese ping pong team visited the United States, the National Committee made history again by hosting the first performing arts company from the People's Republic of China — the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe — for a four-week, four-city tour.
In September 1973, the National Committee helped facilitate the Philadelphia Orchestra's historic trip to China, paving the way for other American orchestras. The Boston Symphony followed in 1979.
Following a cooling of relations in the early 1990s, the National Committee revitalized the U.S.-China military dialogue, sending a group of retired four-star generals and admirals to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in 1994 and 1996. Since then, the success of this program has continued to foster constructive exchange, in addition to inspiring other programs like the U.S.-China Strategic Security Dialogue.
The National Committee brought the first group of Chinese mayors and deputy mayors to U.S. soil in September, 1978. Led by Beijing Deputy Mayor Zhao Pengfei and Shanghai Deputy Mayor Yen Yumin, the 19-member delegation also included city planners, architects, and engineers. The visit was the first of approximately 50 exchanges the Committee has sponsored in the area of municipal and state/provincial management and planning.
Academic exchange with the People's Republic reached new heights as a U.S. delegation of university and college presidents visited China in 1974 and was received by then Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.
At the invitation of the People's Bank of China, a delegation of American banking specialists traveled to several Chinese cities to offer workshops on the development of a modern banking system in 1994.
In 1989, after the National People's Congress adopted legislation that permitted Chinese citizens to sue their government, the National Committee invited a delegation of seven Chinese legal experts — responsible for drafting legislation guiding government liability — to study the American legal system.
In 1990, as Congress debated whether to renew trade benefits for China after the break over Tiananmen, the National Committee organized the first post-Tiananmen visit of a high-level Chinese delegation to the United States. Led by Shanghai mayor and future PRC premier Zhu Rongji, the delegation included former Shanghai mayor Wang Daohan and the mayors of Wuhan, Chongqing, Taiyuan, Hefei, and Ningbo — six of China's largest and most outward-looking cities.