Yenching Global Symposium - Day Two

The second day began in Qiulin Hall with a thought-provoking key-note speech by Former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei. He spoke about China’s main security issues and the relations China has developed with its neighbors and strategic partners. He mentioned that the rise of China as a global power has led to the establishment of partnerships with many states, and that he hopes these relationships will be marked by “no conflict, no confrontation and mutual respect.”

This was followed by four unique simulations in which delegates engaged with each other on China-related topics, allowing them to practice their negotiation and communication skills by affirming their position and interests in the simulations. These were titled: “An Oriental Movie Metropolis: China in the Film Industry”, “The Wild, Wild West: The Silk Road”, “Stormy Waters: The South China Sea” and “Black Monday: The Chinese Stock market”.

After lunch the delegates were invited to attend one of a series of concurrent, moderated seminars. Tong Lihua, Director of Beijing Zhicheng Law Firm and Beijing Child Legal Aid and Research center, the largest NGO for legal aid to children in China gave a talk titled “Public Interest Law in China: Developments and Challenges”. Hervé Machenaud, Chief Representative and Chairman of EDF (China), and Hannah Ryder, Head of Policy and Partnerships at UNDP China, led a talk titled “Combatting Climate Change in China: International Collaboration for Local Solutions”. They spoke of the importance of global climate change action and answered many questions on the topic from the audience.

Zhang Qingmin, Chair of the Department of Diplomacy at Peking University, and Paul Haenle, Director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center at Tsinghua University – one of the top-ranked foreign policy think tanks in China, together gave a talk on Sino-US relations titled “Pivot to Pushback: Sino-US Relations Today”. Cheng Lesong, professor of philosophy at Peking University spoke about “Philosophy with Chinese characteristics: Tradition’s Impact on Modern Life”.

After a short coffee break, delegates returned to Qiulin Hall for the final keynote speech of the Symposium, led by President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ken Jarrett, titled “Doing Business in China: Challenges and Insights”. In this talk he outlined some of the challenges that one may when doing business in China, but reassured the delegates that “it is never too late to start in China” and to “give it a try!”

This was followed by a closing speech by Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy John Holden, a non-resident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He told delegates that “There could not be a more interesting place to be in China, and in China, Beijing is the place to be”. He applauded the Yenching scholars on their hard work in organising the symposium, and thanked all those who were involved in making the Yenching Global Symposium the success that it turned out to be.

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