50 years of work on U.S.-China relations


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A conversation with President Stephen Orlins and Vice President Jan Berris of the National Committee on United States–China Relations.

Table tennis match in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1972, between China and the United States
Table tennis players from China and the United States compete in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in April 1972. The match was part of an exchange between the two countries that became known as "Ping Pong Diplomacy."Associated Press

In this week’s episode of Sinica, we are proud to announce that we’re joining forces with SupChina. We’re also delighted that our first episode with our new partner is a conversation with President Stephen Orlins and Vice President Jan Berris of the National Committee on United States–China Relations, recorded at their offices in Manhattan.

Since 1966, the same year that China’s Cultural Revolution began, the National Committee has been the standard bearer for a deeper understanding of the increasingly vital relationship between the United States and China. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

From 1976 to 1979, Orlins served in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the U.S. Department of State, first in the Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and then for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. While in the latter role, Orlins worked on the legal team that helped set up diplomatic relations with China.

Berris has been a major force behind the visits of hundreds of American and Chinese delegations to each other’s countries, including a journey undertaken in 1972 by the Chinese table tennis team, part of an exchange that became known as Ping Pong Diplomacy.

We want to say a huge thank-you to David Lancashire at Popup Chinese in Beijing for six wonderful years of partnership. Best of luck to you, Dave!

Please take a listen and send us feedback at sinica@supchina.com.


Jeremy Goldkorn: The Chinese Mayor, a film by Zhao Qi

Steve Orlins: This Brave New World: India, China and the United States by Anja Manuel

Jan Berris: America has Never Been so Ripe for Tyranny by Andrew Sullivan

Kaiser Kuo: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (particularly the Second Epilogue on historiography)