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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

U.S. Department of State


"China 2000," December 1996

Released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, January 6, 1997.

Blue Bar

Table of Contents


photo of James R. Sasser

The United States faces no more challenging international relationship than with China. For more than two centuries, America and China have fascinated each other, traded with each other and, unhappily, sometimes contended with each other. Today, at the cusp of a new century, our relations with China will define American presence in Asia, the world's fastest growing region, and will directly affect global security. We must be able to engage creatively the modern, self-confident and powerful China now taking its place on the world stage.

Already in the nearly two decades since the United States recognized the People's Republic of China, we have seen our relations with the world's most populous country grow to astounding breadth and complexity. With "ping-pong diplomacy" far behind us, America today engages China in every imaginable field: trade and investment, political dialogue, immigration, educational and cultural exchange, military relations and the new transnational issues of law enforcement and environmental protection.

To nurture America's burgeoning relations with China will put huge new demands on our people, our facilities and infrastructure in China and on our US-based support. We have developed a long-range strategic plan to meet those multiple needs, and this publication describes how we wish to proceed.

As the American Ambassador to China, I recognize the conditions and challenges we face in this huge land. As a former United States Senator, I recognize, too, our government's budget realities and the competing priorities Congress must reconcile every day. But I believe that the United States simply must invest in promoting our vital national interests in China. We can do that by: increasing our China mission staff and enhancing their effectiveness through comprehensive language training; by building facilities that project the very best of American design; and by modernizing our support infrastructure.

The challenge to American leadership and American diplomacy could not be clearer. I invite you to read in the pages that follow how we can meet that challenge and advance American interests in China in the 21st century.

signature of James R. Sasser

James R. Sasser
December 1996

China 2000

China Team--The Key Issues

In order for our "U.S. team" of government agencies in China to aggressively represent rapidly growing U.S. interests across the spectrum, certain key funding issues must be addressed to overcome potential hurdles in accomplishing our mission as U.S. representatives. Adequate funding will allow members of U.S. government agencies as diverse as the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, Treasury, Transportation, Justice, the U.S. Information Agency and the Peace Corps, among others, to effectively represent U.S. interests in China.

China--Challenge and Opportunity

  • China is a major political power and is becoming a global economic giant whose economy will soon rank among the world's largest. China's economic output could reach $10 trillion by the beginning of the next century, a level exceeding that of the United States. The U.S. trade deficit with China is now exceeded only by the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.

  • Greater market access and an expanding market share for U.S. products and services will be essential. The United States is the third-largest source of foreign investment in China, following only Hong Kong and Taiwan. U.S.-China trade continues to climb, reaching $57.3 billion in 1995.

  • China is a nuclear power. The modernization and strengthening of China's military might is proceeding at a rapid rate together with the phenomenal growth of the civilian sector.

Future Shortcomings

  • We need to work hard to develop a cooperative relationship with China. The current level of qualified people, facilities and infrastructure in China is inadequate for the predicted increase in demand for representation and services, harming our ability to represent America confidently in the future. Without a commitment of resources to accomplish our mission, it will be difficult to vigorously engage a prosperous, assertive China in the bilateral arena.

Our 15-Year Game Plan

  • Because of overcrowding, substandard office space/housing, and spiraling lease rates, we must invest in upgrading and procuring new work and housing facilities to meet demand and avoid exorbitant costs. As a single example, we plan to create an integrated three-plot Embassy office complex in Beijing that will serve projected U.S. needs for the next several decades. (Appendix A)

  • To effectively conduct diplomacy throughout China, we need to modernize our infrastructure of information technologies and bring voice and computer systems on line that enhance our ability to accomplish our mission. (Appendix B)

  • We must increase the number of qualified Chinese speakers from all agencies, provide resources to accommodate an anticipated shift in local hiring in China to a Foreign Service National program, provide professional training for local hire, language-qualified Americans and supply wage increases comparable to current Hong Kong levels and eliminate overcrowded office space. (Appendix C)

China and the United States--Why We Must Strengthen Our "China Team"

China--economically strong, militarily powerful and politically assertive--will be the single-most-important foreign policy opportunity and challenge facing the United States in the next century.

  • China, already a major political power, is rapidly becoming an economic giant.

The regional and international implications of a rapidly developing China on the United States are enormous. China is already a major political power. Moreover, with recent economic growth rates exceeding 10 percent coupled with growth of nearly this magnitude predicted in the years ahead, China is becoming a global economic giant. China's plans call for quadrupling the per capita gross national product in 20 years ending in 2000--a goal already achieved--and to double it again by the year 2010; an unprecedented economic achievement for a nation of more than 1.2 billion people.

The Giant Awakes

  • The U.S. and China must cooperate.
  • China's economy will soon rank among the world's largest, with economic output exceeding the U.S.'s.

Currently, U.S. policy toward China is clear cut. The United States intends to engage a robust, self-confident China in a constructive relationship and to work together with Beijing as two responsible, interdependent members of the world community. The costs to both China and the U.S., were our policy to fail, would be incalculable. The 1997 reversion of Hong Kong to China will be an important test of that nation's growing maturity as a world power. China's economy will soon rank among the world's largest. The World Bank has estimated that China's economic output could reach $10 trillion by the beginning of the next century, a level exceeding that of the United States.

U.S. Business Opportunities

  • U.S.-China trade was $57.3 billion in 1995, and continues to climb.
  • The U.S. trade deficit with China is exceeded only by that with Japan.
  • The U.S. is the third-largest source of foreign investment in China.
  • The Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce has more than doubled in the last year.

The promotion of U.S. exports to China is a central focus of U.S. diplomacy and will be a top priority well into the next century. A stronger presence by U.S. government agencies is needed in China to build a balanced, healthier bilateral trading relationship that can be sustained into the 21st century. With one-fifth of the world's population, China's market will be increasingly important for the sale of American products and services. U.S.-China trade continues to climb, reaching $57.3 billion in 1995. As with any burgeoning trade relationship, frictions exist and will continue to require strong U.S. representation for vigorous negotiations between the two governments. The need for a representative community of U.S. government agencies to work with the Chinese on a range of issues is heightened as the U.S. trade deficit with China has soared. It is now exceeded only by the U.S. trade deficit with Japan. Indeed, in June 1996, the U.S. trade deficit with China exceeded the U.S. deficit with Japan for the first time. The United States is the third-largest source of foreign investment in China, following only Hong Kong and Taiwan. Rapid economic growth, bold economic reform measures and massive infrastructure plans point to China's enormous market potential. Greater market access and an expanding market share for U.S. products and services will be essential. Currently, private American business presence reaches to every corner of China, and is growing rapidly. As one example, in 1995 the Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce had 400 members. In 1996 it has nearly 1,000 who are demanding services from various U.S. agencies.

The Structure of Sino-U.S. Trade (chart)

Engaging China Across the Spectrum

  • The Sino-U.S. relationship increasingly encompasses both government and private agencies.

The U.S. relationship with an emerging China will continue to be played out across an ever-broadening range of governmental and nongovernmental activities and with an enlarging agenda of diplomatic, trade and security issues. Challenging differences in our political, social and economic systems exist. These challenges will not be overcome automatically by economic growth and modernization; we need to influence China's political change. Meanwhile, U.S.-China differences need to be managed rationally by emphasizing shared interests and by good faith efforts on the part of both sides to understand and deal with differences. The U.S. must continue to follow policies that support its interests.

  • Human rights issues remain a source of friction.

U.S. support and concern for fundamental human rights and freedom of expression in China is especially significant in the bilateral relationship. As a respected international partner, the U.S. will continue to encourage China's evolution toward greater political openness, more tolerance of diverse views and less authoritarian government.

Regional Stability

  • China and the U.S. play important roles essential to stability in the region.

A coordinated, effective U.S. relationship with Beijing is essential to maintaining peace and stability in Asia. Positive contributions by China to Asian security issues are critical and U.S. policy encourages China to play a productive regional role in keeping with its immense size and influence. The United States has a key strategic interest in peace and stability in Asia, and, therefore, has mutual security agreements with Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, and stations military forces numbering approximately 100,000 in the region.

  • China is a nuclear power undergoing a military modernization program.

China is a nuclear power. The modernization and strengthening of China's military might is proceeding at a rapid rate together with the phenomenal growth of the civilian sector. At the same time, the U.S. continues to urge China to become a full partner in a comprehensive global nonproliferation regime for the 21st century.

Ties That Bind

  • We are at a takeoff point in the growth of our relations.
  • Commitment is needed to manage this unique bilateral relationship.

Unquestionably, U.S. Government representatives in China must successfully manage a highly complex bilateral relationship if we are to maintain peace, progress and stability within the global community of nations in the 21st century. In large measure, the success of our diplomacy will depend on the quality of our foreign affairs staffs in China, the suitability of our diplomatic facilities there and the adequacy of our support structures and technologies. Success will also stem from the strategic vision and wisdom of America's leadership and the resources that we decide to devote to the task as well. It is true that the United States has rarely faced, in our relations with another state, a challenge as huge as that which we face in China today, and which we will confront in China tomorrow. It is also true that we face, today, a moment of critical decision that will determine how well we will be able to manage this unique relationship in the next century.

  • Demands for visas and services are increasing.

Increasing contacts are placing heavy new burdens on reporting, representation, coordination, issuing visas, and American citizen protection responsibilities of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China.

  • Exchanges between China and the U.S. are growing, influencing Chinese public opinion.

People-to-people contacts between the United States and China are growing dramatically as China's economy grows and formal exchange agreements between Chinese and American institutions expand and increase in number. A wide range of exchanges carried out under the auspices of government-to-government official agreements are increasing mutual understanding between our two societies. At the same time, these exchanges play a growing role in influencing Chinese public opinion and political behavior.

  • Chinese student visa requests are increasing, exposing Chinese to U.S. values.
  • Tourism is increasing in both directions.

There is no better means of exposing Chinese to U.S. values than issuing student visas. Already students from China constitute the largest group of foreign students in the U.S. Bilateral scientific and technical exchange programs with China are expected to grow even more significantly in the coming years. Travel and tourism opportunities are bringing an increasing number of American visitors to China. As the Chinese Government continues to reduce travel restrictions, the number of Chinese receiving nonimmigrant visas to travel to the U.S. for business or as tourists and students rose nearly 125 percent between 1991 and 1995. Large-scale Chinese immigration to the United States in recent years has resulted in a growing flow of American citizens visiting family members in China.

  • Upwards of 20,000 U.S. expatriates live and work in China.
  • U.S. adoptions of Chinese orphans are growing.

The number of Americans visiting or living in China have also increased significantly. As many as 20,000 Americans currently reside in China, with an estimated 250,000 visiting annually. A growing number of visitors are childless Americans coming to China to adopt Chinese orphans. The Consulate General in Guangzhou, already the world's largest adoption post, expects to issue 4,000 immigrant visas to Chinese orphans in 1996, and anticipates as many as 10,000 in 1997.

China 2000--How the United States Should Strengthen the U.S. "China Team"

  • The "China Team," officials from U.S. agencies in China, represent U.S. interests.
  • The Department of State manages the team in China.

Engaging China diplomatically is the combined task of several departments and specialized agencies of the U.S. Government working in China in collaboration with the Department of State. Under the leadership of the President, the Secretary of State and the American Ambassador, hundreds of federal employees serve together to address the range of issues that represents the diplomatic agenda between the two nations. For its part, the Department of State's mission is to represent the U.S., implement our foreign policy, provide protective services to American citizens in China and coordinate all official American activities in China. To enable all elements and staff of the U.S. Mission to China to carry out their duties, the Department provides the platform and maintains and directs the "teams" from which U.S. diplomacy in China is conducted: the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenyang.

  • The team's skill, environment, and technology must be improved.

Three key areas for improvement to enhance the effectiveness of our diplomatic teams in China are:

-- Quality: the quality and skill of our American staff.
-- Environment: the suitability of the facilities in which the staff works and the residences in which they and their families live.
-- Technology: the adequacy of the technological infrastructure, the essential support system for the team's efforts.

  • Resources must be committed to allow the U.S. to vigorously engage an assertive China.

If the United States Mission is to represent America confidently and to vigorously engage a prosperous, assertive China in the bilateral arena, we must begin now to identify and commit the resources required to do the job. The cost will be significant, but the benefits greater. China is that important to the United States. Ensuring that qualified people, suitable facilities and a modern, effective technology infrastructure are available to our diplomatic missions and their staffs everywhere abroad is the responsibility of Department of State managers. In the case of the U.S. Mission to China, increasing demand highlights the need to strengthen significantly each of these essential elements and is a central management priority.

Near-Term Hurdles

  • Funding is necessary for the increasing numbers of representatives from U.S. agencies.
  • There is a shortfall in facilities and in the number of language-qualified State Department officers needed to carry out our mission.

To maintain a quality performance level, we must address funding increases to ensure high-quality service in the face of increasing demands placed upon us in China. The U.S. Mission to the People's Republic of China was established nearly a quarter of a century ago as a modest liaison office. Since the "normalization of relations" in 1978, the liaison office has grown quickly into a full-fledged Embassy and network of far-flung Consulates housing growing numbers of Department of State staff and personnel from U.S. government agencies as diverse as the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, Treasury, Transportation, the U.S. Information Agency and the Peace Corps. In the face of such growth in the field and tightening Department of State funding at home, neither the number of Chinese-speaking State Department Foreign Service Officers and other staff, nor available suitable office and residential space, nor the Department's technology and other support systems have moved forward commensurate with the expansion of activity in the U.S.-China relationship.

  • There is a need for a full spectrum of U.S. officials to engage the Chinese and facilities to support such an effort.

A recent informal tabulation among all U.S. agencies represented in China showed staff increases under way and planned through fiscal year 1998 totaling 30 percent over a fiscal 1993 base. Meanwhile, other U.S. agencies not now present in China have a genuine need to establish representation at our diplomatic facilities there so that we might engage the Chinese across the spectrum with a full China team. In light of the current substandard work spaces, the increase in employees who are to be provided facilities to accomplish their mission, coupled with an increase in families to be housed, children to be schooled, mail to be delivered and medical services to be provided, we are left unprepared and unable to meet effectively the challenges our China relationship will entail during the coming century.

The Game Plan for Success

  • To serve U.S. interests:
    -- Qualified Chinese speakers from all agencies must be increased.
    -- Higher quality professional training must be supplied to those hired locally.
    -- Housing must be upgraded.
    -- Information technologies must be employed.

We have laid out the challenges that need to be addressed in order for the China team to serve the United States Government and citizens in the manner they deserve. Funding issues must be addressed. To have an effective China team, we need to increase the number of qualified Chinese speakers from all agencies, in all fields of specialty, including management, available to conduct U.S. diplomacy effectively throughout China. We must provide resources to accommodate an anticipated shift in local hiring in China to a Foreign Service National program, better professional training for local hire, language-qualified Americans and expected wage increases to current Hong Kong levels. We must move quickly to eliminate overcrowded office spaces by building new facilities where possible, constructing and leasing new residences while upgrading the present housing inventory, and making optimum use of the property we now hold. In the long term, our goals include an integrated three-plot Embassy office complex in Beijing that will serve projected U.S. needs for the next several decades. Simultaneously, we need to modernize our infrastructure of information technologies and bring voice and computer systems on line that enhance our overall effectiveness.

  • These goals should be accomplished over the next 15 years.

Not one of these tasks presents a simple challenge. Each represents a major step that must be taken to improve our operations today and build the foundations for relevant, effective platforms for our future diplomacy in China. Our timeframe to plan and execute the basic steps is approximately the next 15 years. That period is divided among what ought to be done now, this year and next; what must be done during the intermediate period, between 1997 and 2001; and what should be done in the longer term, through 2010.

  • Success will require the cooperation and participation of other government agencies with the Department of State.

What must be done is clear. The challenge of meeting the support requirements of a growing Mission cannot be met with static levels of administrative staffing or funding. Success requires--in addition to new resources--leadership, focus, time and commitment, all of which Department of State managers are prepared to provide. But, even with new funding, we cannot work alone. The participation and cooperation of many bureaus of the department and other U.S. agencies are mandatory. A China 2000 Project, a multiagency, multibureau effort, is clearly called for to plan, coordinate and implement. Only in this way, and only by beginning now, will we be able to broaden and strengthen the diplomatic team required for full-spectrum U.S. engagement with the Chinese.

City Entrance

Appendix A
The Team Playing Field:
An Investment in Our Future

Our Public Face

The need to begin now to provide the resources for new, adequate work and residential space and to renovate, recondition and reconfigure our present facilities almost everywhere in China, is absolutely crucial. The needs and projects cited in brief here illustrate the challenges that we face to establish the diplomatic facilities that the size of our relationship with China demands. Making the required decisions will allow our facilities to be ready for the challenges China presents now and in the 21st century.

We have reached the moment of decision with U.S. facilities in China, the most publicly visible foundation from which our diplomacy is conducted. The buildings where our diplomats work, the apartments in which they and their families live and the recreational spaces they enjoy have been overwhelmed by the rapid growth in personnel. In Beijing especially, despite crowding and stop-gap measures, we are barely able to cope with present space demands and, without major changes and improvement, we will be unable to provide for the further expansion in the staffs of the Department of State and other U.S. agencies that must come in the years ahead. We do not expect the demand for increases in the American presence at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, at U.S. Consulates General in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenyang to slacken anytime soon.

Our diplomatic facilities in China represent America in the eyes of the Chinese people. The aesthetic impression of our buildings plays a role in how the United States is perceived and influences our diplomatic clout in China. As symbols of our nation, our facilities must communicate to China's people and government American excellence, American values and America's preeminent role in the world of the 21st century.

To prepare U.S. diplomatic facilities to represent us appropriately and to accommodate sufficiently our engagement with China in the next century will require several interim stages, both to quickly correct current subpar facilities and to provide necessary facilities to allow longer range development to be planned and implemented. In Beijing, for example, our long-term goal is to integrate the present Chancery lot (the so-called San Ban compound) with the adjacent Er Ban compound and the site now occupied by the Embassy of Bulgaria into a new, combined, thoroughly renovated and reconstructed three-lot U.S. Embassy complex of buildings suitable for our work well into the 21st century. A new Ambassador's Residence would also be located there. The assets at the Yi Ban lot (housing the Residence, the U.S. Information Service (USIS) and the Embassy health unit) could be used to lessen the funding required to accomplish this goal. This integrated three-lot complex would increase the land available for U.S. use by nearly one-third, and provide a suitable site for a new Chancery. But, until this plan can be realized, there are still more immediate needs in Beijing:

  • The Chancery Building itself, housing the offices of the Ambassador and other senior officials, is in deplorable condition, overcrowded and hazardous. Any renovation should include development of modular space in much of the building; fire and life safety improvements; upgrading the electrical and communications infrastructure; improved lighting, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems; and redesigning the entrance and receiving areas for Embassy visitors and guests. Estimated cost: $7 million.

  • To provide adequate expansion workspace and to allow the rehabilitation of the present Chancery, we need to move immediately to construct a 12,000 sq. ft., three-story, attached "cleared American annex (CAA)" on the San Ban compound that will first serve as swing space to accommodate the temporary displacement of staff from the Chancery. Upon completion of the Chancery renovation project, the new CAA annex would permanently house U.S. agencies that require secure work areas, and provide operational and office space for Embassy security units. Such an annex, along with the Chancery improvements, would concentrate all classified operations on the San Ban compound and provide the secure space necessary at the Embassy until an all-new Chancery can be planned, funded and constructed early in the next century. Estimated CAA annex cost: $7-12 million.

  • Meanwhile, across the street on the Er Ban compound, construction of a new 46,000 sq. ft. unclassified building is required now to house the Embassy's severely cramped, increasingly busy visa processing and American Citizen Services units of the Consular Section and offices for the Administrative and General Services staffs. Such a building would also be designed to accommodate the unclassified office expansion requirements of other agencies, Embassy medical services, mail and unclassified pouch operations, Commissary facilities and a dual-purpose Consular waiting room/community meeting area as well as to provide sufficient space for a future Beijing Mandarin Chinese language training center. Estimated cost: $17 million.

  • With the Embassy's Administrative and Consular sections moved to a newly constructed Er Ban annex, the present Bruce Building will be vacant, and can be rehabilitated to provide offices and public rooms for USIS (to replace the present Yi Ban building), the Foreign Agriculture Service and general "storefront" operations of all agencies. Estimated cost: $4 million.

  • At present, the U.S. leases from the Chinese government nearly 125 apartments in four different housing compounds in Beijing and the costs are rising dramatically. We need to construct a major U.S. residential compound on the recently acquired Liang Ma He site, four miles northeast of the Embassy. This development should provide at least 100 high-rise units of mixed housing for Embassy staff and their families. Estimated cost: $50 million.

  • At the same time, currently leased apartments in Beijing urgently require renovation. Storm/thermal windows need to be installed, electrical systems need to be replaced, and bathrooms and kitchens need to be renovated to American standards. Estimated cost: $4-5 million.

Building Construction and Renovation Cost Estimates (chart)

Requirements of a proportional size and complexity exist at U.S. diplomatic facilities elsewhere in China.

For example, at the largest U.S. Consulate General in China, Guangzhou, our lease on office space and residential units at our present location, the White Swan Hotel, will expire in 2005. Meanwhile, we have the option to purchase, for $13.5 million, 7.4 acres of highly desirable undeveloped land north of the Pearl River, land that will allow the construction of a new Consulate office building to accommodate most of the enlarged multiagency presence expected in the years ahead. The compound would also provide space for a new Residence for the Consul General and new housing for staff along with the outdoor recreational spaces currently lacking. We believe that the U.S. should move now to acquire this land and begin required construction to accommodate the Consulate General and staff housing.

In Shanghai, where the number of Americans working in the crowded Consulate General's office building (until recently, the Consul General's Residence) has increased 40 percent in the past two years, a critical need exists for new housing construction, both for the growing staff and for a new Consul General's Residence. Shanghai suffers China's highest rental and lease rates for residential property and all U.S. housing there is provided under short-term leases. High, constantly rising lease costs alone recommend that the U.S. build and own residences. New housing will also relieve cramped living conditions, and provide adequate, outdoor recreational space for dependents. Along with many other western diplomatic missions, the U.S. has recently purchased land, 2.6 acres in the Hong Qiao development area, for this purpose. At the same time, the Consulate General's office building--an 85-year-old historic mansion--is undergoing major structural, mechanical, electrical and communications improvements. The move of the Foreign Commercial Service to commercially rented public space has greatly relieved crowded working conditions in the Consulate. Increased, reconfigured space is needed for Consular Section operations, however, now housed in a separate building on the Consulate General compound. We may need to create a new Consulate in a decade if the current lease cannot be renewed at acceptable cost.

Personal Computer

Appendix B
The Team Equipment:
An Investment in Our Future

The Support Structures

The importance of the U.S. engagement with China that the Department of State manages with diplomatic teams in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenyang, and from the Consulate General in Hong Kong, demands that we have the necessary communications infrastructure in operation to support U.S. policy. The necessary near- and mid-term investment to upgrade our infrastructure to business standards in China will approach $125 million. To conduct our diplomacy at the level demanded by the intensity of the U.S.-China engagement and to be successful in managing the relationship requires that we make available the technological tools and support systems necessary. Failure to invest the resources today and make the commitment to accomplish what must be done would weaken our effectiveness in engaging China.

Conducting relations between nations has changed dramatically in today's real-time internetworked world, where information is available instantly and decisions must be reached and communicated without delay. Indeed, as history's principal technological society, the leading developer, manufacturer and seller of computer systems and the world's acknowledged communications innovator, the United States should expect nothing less than the use of appropriate, modern technology at its diplomatic establishments abroad. Yet, in China, faced with the problems inherent in adapting China's own outdated infrastructure to our needs, the requirement to protect classified information and the costs involved with acquiring and installing suitable "packaged" systems at our diplomatic facilities, we are falling further behind the technological curve and behind the normal technological expectations currently in place in the U.S. private sector and at other U.S. missions.

To improve our infrastructure, our highest priority is the creation of a regional corporate network of computers, a wide-area network (WAN), for all U.S. diplomatic posts in China and Hong Kong. Such a China-net would give our team desktop e-mail capability. Most important, China-net would replace obsolete WANG hardware with modern computer networks, allow access to Internet information and the sharing of data between posts and the use of professional, more productive office software. Such a wide-Area network would also allow other U.S. agencies in China to exchange information with State Department elements, and among themselves, improving cohesion and productivity tremendously.

Administratively, bringing an all-China WAN on line (including links to Ulaanbaatar, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul and Pyongyang) has the potential to modernize, even revolutionize, the management systems and support under which U.S. posts have operated to date. Many procurement, financial, personnel and logistical tasks, now carried out via traditional, slow, labor-intensive telegraphic channels, can be automated and handled simply and quickly on line between U.S. diplomatic posts in China and the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong. The establishment of such procedures will enhance Hong Kong's role as a service post for the rest of China, make use of Hong Kong's highly skilled and well-trained staff and utilize Hong Kong's better developed communications infrastructure. Such reengineering and redesigning of U.S. administrative processes in China would represent a bold and giant step forward in streamlining our systems to allow our diplomatic staff to function more effectively in meeting the future foreign policy challenges in the U.S.-China relationship.

In addition to establishing China-net, there are other technology enhancements necessary to improve the communications infrastructure that serves U.S. diplomacy in China:

  • A thorough replacement and modernization of the telephone systems at the Embassy in Beijing and at the Consulates General is required. Such a project would include installing modern telephone switchboards and new cabling, connecting all workstations and residences to the central switchboards, making available new dedicated telephone lines and moving to user-pay systems to better attribute the costs of telephone service among agencies. A modernized telephone system would allow the Mission to install the telephone-based productivity systems that are revolutionizing American business.

  • In addition to providing unclassified e-mail to all posts, we need to provide the computer facilities for the desktop transmission of classified information where such a capability is recommended.

  • The U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang requires a complete upgrade of its communications infrastructure including providing unclassified e-mail, installing a secure communications facility and modernizing the post's telephone service.

  • A secure communications facility is also required for the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.

As our engagement with China grows, as Department of State and other agency personnel levels increase and our activities multiply, there are other critical systems, in addition to communications, which are part of the infrastructure that supports U.S. operations in China and which require upgrades. These include, for example, improving the medical services that the Department of State provides to our staff and their families at all posts. Such an improvement would require additional medical personnel, upgrading equipment and supplies and providing new space for treatment areas. Similarly, as our presence in China increases, so too does the demand for other types of staff support such as more commissary and recreation facilities, routine administrative services and better mail handling. Transportation, storage and the processing of furnishings and other materials will require an improved warehouse capacity and new handling methods to improve "just-in-time" stocking of expendables. Shipping, moving, storage, repair and handling of classified and unclassified information handling systems and supplies is a critical function that requires extra care and cost in the Chinese environment and, as the need for this material grows, so will the need for special facilities and personnel to handle it.

Meanwhile, China's importance to the U.S., the increasingly broad range of issues that constitute the U.S.-China bilateral relationship and China's own emergence as a site for international conferences, necessarily mean an increase--now and in the future--in visits to Embassy Beijing and to the Consulates General by senior U.S. government officials, Congressional delegations and American citizen and business groups. This development represents enormous new responsibilities for U.S. diplomacy in China and, given the special challenges of working and traveling in the unique Chinese environment, places new demands on the staff, resources and facilities. For this reason, we need to establish--in Embassy Beijing--a Visit Liaison Office to handle visits and to provide the kind of coordination and support that official visitors and delegations require. At the same time, the increase in visits illustrates the need for additional public and secure meeting space, temporary duty secure work areas and conference areas at U.S. diplomatic facilities in China, space not now available and which must be provided to meet future requirements.

Group of People

Appendix C
The Players:
An Investment in Our Future

The Outlook for Growth

A survey among U.S. foreign affairs and other agencies conducted by the Executive Office of the Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in April 1996 indicated, with a single exception, that all agencies planned further increases in the number of employees currently assigned to the U.S. Mission in China. Other agencies have proposals to establish representation in China for the first time. These new increases are in addition to the jumps in staff levels that have already taken place in the past three years. The U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, for example, has grown nearly 40 percent in the past two years. Such growth in the American presence in China reflects, naturally, the nation's increasing economic and political importance to the United States and China's new stature as a member of the international community. At the same time, the increases bring with them enormous pressures on available space and services that the Department provides to the official American community from the diplomatic platforms that are our Embassy and Consulates--facilities that the State Department must by law provide under stringent security standards.

As the expansion in progress in China in this decade illustrates, growth in the number of employees takes place too often without a concurrent increase in the number of administrative support staff. New employees mean new families. Employees and families require support such as residences, residential upkeep, vehicles, medical care and schooling, telecommunications, data systems, mail and the handling of effects. New demands are placed as well on the already constricted space, restricted communications and insufficient technical infrastructure in the work place. New American administrative support personnel are required at every U.S. diplomatic post in China.

A key element in increases anticipated in the number of persons working in our Embassy and Consulates in China are direct-hire Americans. The survey by EA/EX referred to above revealed plans by agencies to add 45 new direct-hire Americans to the staff of the Embassy and Consulates between 1996 and 2000. Clearly, direct-hire staff often bring sorely needed language and technical skills to the Mission. Similarly, the need to increase their presence in large numbers reflects the work to be done in the U.S.-China relationship today and tomorrow. At the same time, the implications of such growth in staff is especially worrisome to Department of State managers and must be addressed in planning.

Mandarin Chinese,
Full Professional Fluency--
The Most Basic Personnel Need

Genuine fluency in Mandarin Chinese, the principal language of China today, is the most important requirement for professional staffs of the Department of State and other U.S. foreign affairs agencies who work in China. Mandarin is the lingua franca of China. The size and ethnic complexity of China, and the variety of issues that comprise the U.S.-China bilateral dialogue, demand fluent speakers of Mandarin Chinese at every level of the Mission, in all areas of expertise. Families, too, require some ability in Mandarin to adjust to living in China and to take advantage of the many positive experiences that living in China can offer. Most important, unavoidable friction in the U.S.-China relationship, now and in the future, especially in connection with trade, nuclear proliferation and other political issues, suggest that the demand for well-trained Mandarin speakers with appropriate technical vocabularies to serve in China will continue to increase.

The study of Chinese by adult Americans presents special difficulties. The language is inherently complex. Learning to read and write literately is especially challenging. To achieve a genuine command of the idioms and combinations that enable a nonnative speaker to understand and participate in the subtleties of Chinese political or economic dialogue requires unusual skill and perseverance in language learning. The U.S. has long lacked a large pool of serious students of Chinese in our universities, although, as the number of Chinese-American academic exchange programs increase, this situation is beginning to change. For these reasons, Chinese language study for most Foreign Service Officers has been, along with other especially difficult languages, a two-year program of intensive full-time study designed to allow the student to reach at least minimum professional proficiency in speaking and reading. Such an undertaking requires an extraordinary professional commitment from officers and their families and a willingness to serve multiple tours in China's hardship posts. In the past, many FSOs have perceived a loss of career competitiveness and slower advancement because of the need to invest an inordinate amount of time in China.

At present, there is a dearth of language-qualified officers at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China and the Consulate General in Hong Kong. Some are fully fluent with the ability to read and speak Mandarin Chinese at a level exceeding the minimum professional standard. Many others are not. Many of our best speakers of Chinese, officers who came to the Foreign Service with extensive experience in China and Chinese, have retired or have reached career levels where new assignments in China are unlikely. The difficulties of the language and of serving in China with families have made tours there unattractive, especially for younger officers.

As a consequence, the Department's pool of rated Mandarin Chinese speakers available for assignment to midlevel or senior language-designated positions in China is shockingly low. Few are qualified in any of China's regional dialects, including Cantonese--mother tongue of 100 million people. Many are only minimally qualified. There are few indications that the situation will improve without new initiatives and a new system of carefully drawn incentives and rewards to entice staff to undertake Chinese study. Unfortunately, the tide is now running in the opposite direction. Language incentives have been reduced at the U.S. Information Agency, and similar reductions are under consideration at other agencies. Clearly, as we consider the quality of American diplomacy in China now and in the century ahead, there is no more important personnel priority than developing the Mandarin Chinese language fluency of our Mission officers and enlarging the pool from which to draw qualified candidates for future assignment in China.

We critically need more fluent speakers of Mandarin Chinese--in all U.S. agencies represented in China and in all fields, including management. At the same time, we must attract the highest quality young officers and staff to Chinese study, those persons with the skills, motivation and commitment that make them best able to confront successfully the difficulties of Chinese language training and to surmount the rigors of serving in China. Success in Chinese study should ensure officers of repeat tours, in varying professional disciplines (multifunctional assignments) of increased responsibility at the U.S. Mission to China and entry into an esteemed cadre of "China Experts." Only in this way will we be able to create a core of Mandarin-speaking personnel sufficiently deep for midlevel and senior positions in coming years.

There are solutions to this critical challenge. Some will require significant new resources and others will demand new thinking. Our goal should be no less than to double within six to eight years the number of Mandarin-Chinese-qualified officers available for assignment to China, and to train more officers in dialects. Among the steps to take now are:

  • Establish and foster the perception throughout the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies that:
    Chinese Language = China Tours = Successful Career Development.

  • Develop and implement a work-study program for China by double assigning some officers to language-designated positions. Under such a system, two officers would job share, working half-time and studying Chinese half-time, on a "semester-on, semester-off" basis.

  • Create a language school in Beijing to accommodate officers and their families for extended Chinese study.

  • Undertake new recruiting efforts for Chinese-language-experienced FSO candidates (including noncareer appointees), create new incentives for Chinese language study, associate flexibility in assignments and opportunities to serve across cones in a variety of locations with Chinese language study.

  • Review the standard for "minimum professional fluency" in Chinese with a view to raising spoken and reading competency to ensure that successful graduates of Chinese training have the professional language skills required and a base sufficient to increase their fluency.

A Noncareer Cadre for China Service

Noncareer staff, including Rockefeller hires and American contractors, often represent a wise and economical pool of talent with which to address U.S. government skill and language needs in China. Wage inflation for trained, experienced, English-speaking Chinese staff, driven in large measure by the huge influx of foreign corporations, businesses and trading concerns to China, makes this an especially attractive and important option. Russian-speaking, security-cleared, noncareer American personnel, recruited and trained in the U.S., made a critical difference to the operations of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate in former Leningrad during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Creating a cadre of such people for China will require sizable resources to recruit personnel and establish extensive professional training programs for them. Developing such a cadre may be, however, an initiative of extraordinary value to the long-term operations of our Embassy and Consulates in China.

Meanwhile, Part-time, Intermittent, Temporary (PIT) American employees are an especially important resource, now underutilized. Usually security-cleared family members of Embassy and Consulate American officers, potential PIT employees would benefit from planned, structured training in Mission operational specialties in the U.S. and intensive language training as well. Such backgrounds would provide another source of talent, especially at the service and support staff level.

[end of document]

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