College hosts China Town Hall for the community

MIDDLEBURY — Since 1978, when Chinese Communist Party Chairman Deng Xiaoping instituted the market-friendly “Reform and Opening Up Policy,” more than 300 million Chinese have climbed out of poverty. Today, China touts the world’s second-largest economy and has become the world’s leading manufacturer in terms of output, knocking the U.S. from its 110-year reign on that podium.

China is home to one-fifth of the world’s population and holds more American security bonds than any other country in the world — more than $1.1 trillion, according to the latest U.S. Treasury report. China’s influence over U.S. economics and politics has steadily increased over the past two decades, and yet, China remains an enigma to many U.S. residents.

On Wednesday, however, local people will have a chance to learn more about this distant superpower at a nationally organized China Town Hall event. Hosted by Middlebury College, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, the town hall will feature former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Professor Christine E. Boyle of the University of North Carolina, and Middlebury Chinese Program co-founder John Berninghausen, among others. Middlebury College is one of just 50 sites across the U.S. to host the China Town Hall, partially organized by the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Boyle will kick things off at 4:30 p.m. with a presentation about the water crisis in northern China, explaining how the country’s rapid economic development has prompted environmental concerns. At 7 p.m., Brzezinski, who worked in the Carter Administration, will provide his insight on China-U.S. relations via webcast. Finally, at 7:45 p.m., there will be a panel discussion featuring Berninghausen and two Middlebury College political science professors: Orion Lewis and Jessica C. Teets. The public is invited.

Reporter Andrew Stein is at andrews@adisonindependent.com.


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