Funding of this workshop provided by The Henry Luce Foundation

Producer 1990 Institute
Overview With U.S. elections looming, political campaigns have and continue to portray China in an unfavorable light, undermining decades-long efforts to build constructive bilateral relations, which has local and global implications. The virtual workshop featured expert speakers who discussed some of the important strategic issues shaping U.S.-China relations, including trade, technology, and Taiwan.

​In today’s interconnected world, we offered this workshop to address the needs of the many middle and high school educators who are interested in deepening their understanding of U.S.-China relations, untangling political rhetoric from actual policies, and incorporating this knowledge into their teaching. This workshop helped attendees promote critical thinking, understand policy implications, augment current knowledge of U.S.-China relations, and build media literacy.

For more resources, Please check out portal for Teachers

View and download presentation by Susana Thornton

Video Time Codes:

00:00 Introduction

03:04 Susan Thornton

28:13 Neysun Mahboubi

51:31 Ha-Yu Sebastian Cherng

01:28:54 Closing Remarks

Publish Date June 20, 2024
Teaching Tools & Lesson Plans Teach Like a USIP Peace Teacher, The United States Institute of Peace

Understanding U.S. China Relations: Politics, Trade and COVID, 2022, Center for East Asian Studies, Institute for Regional and International Studies, University of Wisconsin

Politics and Security in Taiwan Lesson Plan, by astoundz, Feb 13, 2020, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston

  • Throughout its history, Taiwan’s internal politics have been inextricably linked with its cross-Strait relations with China. This lesson examines the modern history of Taiwan, and then focuses on the current political and security situation of the island.

China Scholars Program, Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)

  • The China Scholars Program (CSP) is an interactive, synchronous online course for high school students in the United States—one of Stanford University’s SPICE Programs in Pre-Collegiate Global Learning, running since 2004.

U.S.-China Trade Tensions, Dec 2018, Choices Program Brown University

  • Consider the reasons for current trade tensions between the United States and China
  • Identify and assess U.S. trade policy toward China
  • Examine primary sources from U.S. officials, scholars, journalists, and business leaders supporting and opposing Trump administration trade policies with China
  • Use active listening, critical thinking, and persuasive argument skills to explore, discuss, and evaluate arguments related to Trump administration trade policies with China

US-China Trade Relations 1776, Share My Lesson (need to log in for access), for Grades 9-12

  • To have students analyze and evaluate the mutually beneficial relationship between the U.S. and China since 1776

What priorities should guide the U.S. relationship with China?, Nov 2019, Choices Program Brown University

  • The relationship between the United States and China has been marked by ambivalence and misunderstanding. Today, as in the past, U.S.-China relations are sometimes clouded by misperceptions. What has changed is China’s position in the world. China’s remarkable transformation since the late 1970s has vaulted the world’s most populous country to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response presents students with many of the same questions that U.S. policy makers will face in the decades to come. China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response draws students into the promise and uncertainty of this era. The unit is divided into three parts. Each part includes:
    • Student readings
    • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
    • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills (including at least one that focuses on building geographic literacy) and can be completed in one or more periods
    • Videos that feature leading experts

The United States and China, by Lam Tran, Great Decisions: High School, Dec 2023/Jan 2024 Issue, Foreign Policy Association

U.S.-China Relations at 50: Learning Lessons and Moving Ahead, by Robert S. Wang,  American Foreign Service Association

Reference Materials



U.S.- China Relations, 1949-2023, Council on Foreign Relations

US-China Relations in the Biden Era: A Timeline, May 23, 2024, China Briefing

U.S.-China Relations in 2024: Managing Competition without Conflict, by Scott Kennedy, January 3, 2024, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

The US-China relationship in 2024 is stabilized but precarious, by Patricia M. Kim, January 12, 2024, Brookings Institution

US politicians’ China rhetoric called empty, by Yifan Xu, Feb 20, 2024, China Daily

China is worried about the return of Trump, but it also sees opportunities if he wins, by Simone McCarthy, March 10, 2024, CNN

Should the US pursue a new Cold War with China?, by Patricia M. Kim, Matthew Turpin, Joseph S. Nye Jr., Jessica Chen Weiss, Eun A Jo, Ryan Hass, and Emilie Kimball, September 1, 2023, Brookings Institution

Reset, Prevent, Build: A Strategy to Win America’s Economic Competition with the Chinese Communist Party, December 12, 2023, The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party 

  • This bipartisan report outlines a strategy to fundamentally reset the United States’ economic and technological competition with the People’s Republic of China. 

What Does America Want From China? Debating Washington’s Strategy, And Endgame of Competition, by Rush Doshi; Jessica Chen Weiss and James B. Steinberg; Paul Heer; Matt Pottinger and Mike Gallagher, May 30, 2024, Foreign Affairs

  • This collection of essays offers a variety of opinions on how Washington should act

How will Biden and Trump tackle trade with China?, Ryan Hass, April 4, 2024, Brookings Institution

  • As the 2024 election season ramps up and Trump and Biden renew their debate over U.S.-China trade issues, it is worth examining the choices both leaders have made and what results those choices have generated. Based on available data, Biden’s approach has delivered greater relative gains, leading to an expansion of America’s lead in the overall economic size compared to China. Trump’s term, by contrast, was defined by a trade war that came at a heavy cost to the American economy, leading eventually to a U.S.-China phase-one trade agreement that under delivered on its promise.

Americans Feel More Threat from China Now Than in past Three Decades, by Craig Kafura, November 12, 2023, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

  • The 2023 Chicago Council Survey, conducted September 7–18, 2023, finds Americans more concerned about the rise of China than at any point since the end of the Cold War.  
  • Suggests the relationship is dynamic and responsive to developments in both countries, as opposed to being captive to historical forces leading immutably toward conflict
  • the current task for policymakers in Washington and Beijing is to navigate through the concurrent down cycles in both countries while keeping bilateral tensions below the threshold of conflict

Comparing Views of the U.S. and China in 24 Countries, Nov 6, 2023, Pew Research Center

How Do the Chinese People View the “West”? Divergence and Asymmetry in China’s Public Opinion of the U.S. and Europe, June 1, 2023, Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions

  • ¾ of the respondents in China held negative views on the US.
  • Chinese public views Europe far more favorably than the US,  but the generally positive views of European countries were not reciprocated.

How does national confidence inform US-China relations?, by Ryan Hass, March 7, 2024, Brookings Institute 

  • This paper argues that when both countries feel secure and optimistic about their futures, the relationship generally functions most productively.

TikTok, China, and the Crisis of American Confidence, Kaiser Kuo, Mar 13, 2024, Sinica

IHow China is responding to escalating strategic competition with the US, by Ryan Hass, March 1, 2021, Brookings

Is the US-China relationship the most consequential relationship for America in the world?, Graham T. Allison, Elizabeth Economy, Susan A. Thornton, Ryan Hass, Patricia M. Kim, and Emilie Kimball, February 6, 2024, Brookings Institute

Why China-Taiwan Relations Are So Tense, Lindsay Maizland, Feb 8, 2024, Council on Foreign Relations 

  • Taiwan has been governed independently of China since 1949, but Beijing views the island as part of its territory. Beijing has vowed to eventually “unify” Taiwan with the mainland, using force if necessary.
  • Tensions are rising. The Democratic Progressive Party, whose platform favors independence, won a third consecutive term in 2024, while Beijing has ramped up political and military pressure on Taipei.
  • Some analysts fear the United States and China could go to war over Taiwan. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island in 2022 heightened tensions between the countries.

Why you should care about Taiwan, Andy Serwer and Max Zahn, Nov 20, 2021, Yahoo Finance

Surveying the Experts: U.S. and Taiwan Views on China’s Approach to Taiwan in 2024 and Beyond, by Bonny Lin, Brian Hart, Chen Ming-Chi, Shen Ming-Shih, Samantha Lu, Truly Tinsley, and Yu-Jie (Grace) Liao, January 22, 2024, China Power

  • The results of this survey, of 52 leading U.S. experts and 35 leading experts from Taiwan from November to December 2023, provide valuable insights into areas of convergence and divergence in how U.S. and Taiwan experts evaluate China’s approach to Taiwan.

Building International Support for Taiwan, by Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass, and Lily McElwee, Feb 13, 2024, Center for Strategic & International Studies

China’s Approach to Global Governance, Council on Foreign Relations

Intellectual Property Rights in the U.S.-China Innovation Competition, by Chris Borges, May 16, 2024, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

How China would tackle a second Trump term, by Yun Sun, May 31, 2024, Brookings

Behind Closed Doors: U.S. Tactics in Backroom Diplomacy with China, by Jiachen Shi, June 12, 2024, U.S.-China Perception Monitor


The Rise of China as seen Through Mrs. Wong’s Purse, 2022, The 1990 Institute

Ping Pong Diplomacy – Can History Repeat Itself?, 2023, The 1990 Institute

China by the Number – If China Were a Country of 100 People, 2022,The 1990 Institute

U.S.-China Relations: Coexistence in a Changing World: 2023, The 1990 Institute Teachers Workshop

Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines, 2023, The 1990 Institute Teachers Workshop

A Decade of U.S.-China Relations: From Engagement to Rivalry, Sep 18, 2018, Wilson Center

Chip War With China Looms Large in US Election Year, by Debby Wu, Jan 9, 2024, Bloomberg

Trump’s Trade War, 2019, FRONTLINE, PBS

U.S. – China Relations: Coexistence in a Changing World, July 7, 2023, The 1990 Institute

U.S. interest in Taiwan, Davidson College, Aug 14, 2014

China says potential US TikTok ban undermines fair competition, trade rules. March 14, 2024, CNA

Chinese foreign minister warns US of “conflict, confrontation” if path doesn’t change, Mar 7, 2023, Global News

The U.S.-China rivalry, Taiwan and Hong Kong , Feb, 2024 60 Minutes

Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, Oct 2011 USC-China Institute

The New Asian American Voices, The 1990 Institute Instagram project on the wonders of Asian Americans


The State of the World, Ep. 1: China episode, January 15, 2024, Talking Policy Podcast 

  • In this first episode of The State of the World, China experts Susan Shirk and Tai Ming Cheung, former and current IGCC directors (respectively), discuss the implications of domestic changes in China and elections in the United States for this complex and crucial relationship.

The Struggle for Taiwan, May 09, 2024, Sinica Podcast

Why Taiwan is a ‘life-or-death question’ for China: Cui Tiankai on US-China tension, Nov 30, 2023, Inside China

Economic Coercion: Diversifying and Derisking from China, February 6, 2024, Dispatch from Taiwan Podcast

‘Silicon Shield’: Looking Beyond Semiconductors, January 25, 2024, Dispatch from Taiwan Podcast

The Struggle for Taiwan: Sulmaan Wasif Khan of Tufts University on His New Book, May 09,2024, Sinica Podcast

  • This episode talks about a series of historical events and US’ decisions/strategies that impacted Taiwan issues

The case for the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement, Sep 7, 2023, Sinica Podcast 

Books The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between, by Sulmaan Wasif Khan, May 14, 2024

Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, by Shelley Rigger, Oct 2013

Fateful Ties: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China, by Gordon H. Chang, April 13, 2015

Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, Kishore Mahbubani, March 31, 2020

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