Video: Thomas Fingar on Past and Present Milestones in U.S.-China Relations

Thomas Fingar in a People's Daily documentary

In a recent interview with People's Daily Online, APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar reflects on some of the milestones in the developing and diversifying relationship between the United States and China over the past forty years. The interview is part of a series of short documentaries produced by People's Daily Online West USA to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and China in 1979. The series was premiered at the San Francisco Public Library on January 18, 2020.

"So much of my career has been devoted to this relationship, [to] making this relationship work," says Fingar. He recounts how his own interest in China was sparked as a student in an anthropology class, where he began trying to understand why China and the United States "did things differently."

That initial question led him to a lifetime of building connections between the two countries, both in academia and government. Fingar was instrumental in launching Stanford's U.S.-China Relations Program in 1975, which promoted the exchange of learning, technology, and training between U.S. academics and students and their Chinese counterparts.

The focus on promoting U.S.-China engagement continues to inform Fingar’s perspectives today. "I'm concerned about the relationship [between the U.S. and China], but I'm not worried about it. I'm confident that both sides understand the stakes, [and] both sides understand the pressures to make this work".

Watch the interview below: