Your dreams are our dreams, too.

Author:Dong, Steven
Position:United States-China relations
 
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BEIJING -- Dear Mr. President: If your campaign is what you have led us all to believe, then you will understand when I say that you may be the first president of the United States who has the potential finally to bring an end to the misunderstandings and biases laid upon our two great nations, dating back to before the Cold War.

My introduction may not be grand or as eye catching as I would like it to be, but I want to take this opportunity to be as honest with you as I can, since from my perspective in Beijing I feel you have been honest with your listeners. Hopefully, by the time you get around to reading this letter, you will have understood that you have not only led the people of America to believe in change, but the world now watches and shares that same belief. The foundations of your campaign were built around your ability to listen and communicate, and I would like to talk to you about some of the issues regarding Sino-U.S. relations you mentioned throughout your presidential campaign.

In your victory speech in Chicago's Grant Park, you said to America, "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree." For two nations who have seemingly disagreed on just about everything over the past century, I plead that you become the first president who is also willing to listen to China, and her people.

Let us start with a bit of basic history. Almost anyone who claims to be a scholar, economist, or some kind of specialist in Sino-U.S. relations, acknowledges our two nations have one of the most sophisticated bilateral relationships ever. Over 30 years after President Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China, many people across the globe today still see China as a closed country, with many limitations on media. Yet, we have been working for years in concert with the international community and our efforts are starting to see progress--especially with the support of Western leaders. I was there when President Bill Clinton came to China and embraced a HIV patient; the act, in itself, created new levels of understanding about AIDS throughout China. I moderated an event between Tsinghua University students and British Prime Minister Tony Blair broadcast live by over 48 global media organizations. The world was shocked at how open, direct, and internationally educated our students were.

My first question to you, Mr. President, is this: how much longer do our two nations have to continue to act as if we are afraid of each other? It is true that we have fought our share of wars, have different political systems, and certainly you buy more things from us than we buy from you--but this is why we are considered your second-most pressing international threat?

Some of the main issues you...

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