Charlemont Forum to discuss US-China relations

  • SARA NEWLAND

Staff Writer
Published: 8/9/2022 7:25:13 PM
Modified: 8/9/2022 7:20:16 PM

CHARLEMONT — The United States’ relationship with China as it frays on the world stage due to current events will be the topic of the second, and final, Charlemont Forum event of the summer.

Smith College assistant professor Sara Newland, who has conducted extensive research on Chinese economic and political policies, will kick off the discussion, which will begin on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Charlemont Federated Church, at 175 Main St., and on Zoom.

Attendees can expect to learn about the ever-changing relationship between the two countries and how recent world events — including Russia’s war in Ukraine and last week’s Taiwan visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during which she vowed to preserve democracy on the self-ruled island in the face of threats from mainland China — can further skew that relationship.

“The forum turned out to be very timely in terms of what’s going on in the news,” said Charlemont Forum Committee member Peter Purdy. “This is nothing new, but it’s been hugely exacerbated by Pelosi’s visit, and of course, the Chinese reactions.”

Since Pelosi’s visit, China has extended threatening military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict in a region crucial to global trade.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has long wanted to bring the self-governing island democracy under the mainland’s control.

Newland, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said in a press release that America’s relationship with China has deteriorated over the past few decades and now sits in its most precarious position in generations.

“The U.S.-China relationship is at its lowest point in decades,” Newland said. “Domestic political calculations within each country, coupled with a changing international environment, have produced dangerous levels of tension in arguably the most important bilateral relationship in the contemporary world.”

She added fallout from relationship tensions can change the lives of all U.S. residents, “even in western Massachusetts.”

Folks attending the live presentation are asked to wear a mask, which is required by the Charlemont Federated Church’s COVID health safety protocols.

More information can be found on the Charlemont Forum’s Facebook page, and the Zoom link can be accessed at bit.ly/3BQd0Sl.


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