Under the National Committee's auspices, a delegation of 17 young American political leaders — some serving in elected positions at the state or local level, others leaders of political organizations — visited the People's Republic of China in May 1977. Assembled with the cooperation of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, it was the first such visit of its kind.
George H.W. Bush and Deng Xiaoping met for the first time in October 1975, when an 18-member delegation of American leaders active in public education on world affairs visited China to discuss international issues.
Started in September 1984 as an off-the-record gathering of leading citizens of China and America, the U.S.-China Dialogue was the first formal instance of Track II diplomacy in the Sino-American relationship. It was held every 12-18 months, alternately in China and the United States, until 2002.
Launched when only a trickle of Chinese graduate students and scholars came to the United States for study, the Scholar Orientation Program was created to supplement academic training that Chinese scholars received at U.S. institutions by providing them with greater exposure to America's history, culture, and key institutions.
In June 2007, the National Committee worked with long-time partner, the National League of Cities (NLC), and new partner, the League of California Cities (LCC) on a ten-day study tour to Beijing, Qingdao and Shanghai for mayors, city council members, and the NLC and LCC leadership.
The National Committee co-organized a conference with the School of Finance of Renmin University of China in Beijing in July 2006. The conference focused on the changing dynamics between China's central and provincial governments through the lens of fiscal reform.
Susan A. Thornton delivered the 2019 Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture on Sino-American Relations in Shanghai on May 15, 2019. Now in its twelfth iteration, this annual lecture affords the opportunity for a frank and forthright discussion of current and potential issues between the two countries; it is the first and only ongoing lecture series on U.S.-China relations that takes place on the Mainland.
While a few staff members had joined their bosses on early trips to China made by the Senate and House leadership, it was the National Committee, in the summer of 1976, that sent the first group composed solely of staff members to China. This presaged the MEACA (Mutual Education and Cultural Act) program the Committee currently runs for both D.C and state/district-based staff members.