WA China Watch Digest Special!

Survey: What kind of a candidate would be appointed China Council’s next president?


By Wen Liu   Jan. 17, 2017

A big part of China-watching in Washington is watching the Washington State China Relations Council, the most prominent nonprofit on China in the state. The Council, however, has been without a president since last summer when Kristi Heim joined the genomic research company BGI. The latest word from an insider is that the Council would announce the new appointment soon, even in a week or two. It is getting exciting. Considering Council’s previous executive directors (later presidents) and their backgrounds, Robert Kapp a one-time China scholar, Bill Abnett a one-time China trade negotiator, Eden Woon a one-time China policy advisor, Joe Borich a one-time diplomat to China, and Kristi Heim a one-time China-focused journalist, and the impact of changing China policies under President Trump, here is the question:

What kind of a candidate do you think the Council would appoint as its next president, and why?

More responses may come or not, here are two received so far, with sincere and thoughtful comments. You are welcome to add yours in Disqus.

Sidney Rittenberg, Sr., Rittenberg Associates, Inc.; director, Washington State China Relations Council:
Personally, I don't think the choice of a new WSCRC Director will be at all affected by the counter-current of Trumpism. The new leader will be someone who is dedicated to maintaining and advancing a mutually beneficial Washington/China relationship and who will not be dragged into partisan politics. Counter-currents can be impressive for a while, but they have to yield in the end to the dominant currents. Our national economic, security, and cultural interests tie us to China, no matter how unsmoothly the course of this true love may run.

Karl Weaver, OEM Biz Dev Director - North America & Northeast Asia, Oasis Smart SIM:
WSCRC is more of a political organization for the promotion of China relationships, thus you should probably hire someone who has political, rather than business relationships with China now. Everyone in the World is engaged economically with China but only someone with strong connections with Washington and Beijing could successfully manage this organization. Probably Gary Locke should do it but he probably isn’t interested and, although my professional living/work history in Greater China is over 30+ years, I am too politically incorrect and more of a business leader to be interested. It also helps to speak, read and probably write Mandarin to be effective.

(For more information on Washington State China Relations Council, go to WA China Nonprofits. For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)