AFSC in China An ongoing relationship

  • 1925 AFSC begins work on a model village near Shanghai to improve social conditions among Chinese laborers.
  • 1938 AFSC establishes a Friends Center in Shanghai.
  • 1940s Community-level work continues
  • 1941 Our ambulance unit serves people harmed by Japan’s invasion of China. Over 150 volunteer ambulance drivers provide emergency transportation, medical care and comfort to Chinese citizens affected by the war. With the direct participation of Chinese Primer Zhou Enlai, the Ambulance Unit sends a delegation to work in Yan’an.
  • 1950s/1960s We lobby for China's inclusion in the United Nations.
  • Cold War Era AFSC works to compel the United States to recognize the People’s Republic of China as a major world power. During the height of McCarthy’s Red Scare in the United States, AFSC publishes a book titled “A New China Policy,” and sponsors a series of conferences in the United States calling for recognition of the new China. This leads  to the founding of the National Committee on US-China Relations, which later organized the famous Ping Pong Diplomacy delegation. AFSC also holds influential conferences with UN diplomats in Geneva and New York to discuss the PRC assumption of the China seat at the UN.
  • 1971-72 AFSC leads two high-level delegations to China and publishes a series of books aimed at broadening dialogue, facilitating exchanges, and building understanding between the US and China.
  • 1980s/1990s AFSC promotes friendship exchanges and study visits
  • 1990 AFSC leads a high-level delegation on a visit to China hosted by CAIFU (Chinese Association for International Friendship and Understanding), which meets with a number of influential Chinese leaders, including Foreign Minister Huang Hua.
  • 1996-99 We organize a series of economic exchanges which consider the effects of rapid industrialization on women, particularly women from the Chinese countryside. This work continues into the early 2000s, with AFSC beginning programs in 2004 to assist women migrant workers, and then to sponsor delegations of Chinese officials to travel to Hong Kong and the Philippines to study government policy and services for migrant workers.
  • 2001 to present We begin the China Summer camp and engage with provincial officials, communities, and universities on issues affecting Chinese society today, including work on migration and on conflict resolution.

In the 80 years we've worked with our Chinese partners, China has moved from a largely agricultural economy to an industrial power. The nation that once struggled to maintain its identity in a colonial environment is now a large-scale donor to developing countries and an influential player in major international institutions.

Why we're there

  • To build understanding All of AFSC’s work in China stems from a deeply held commitment to peace and a belief in the importance of international cooperation. We work through dialogue and exchanges at all levels — from ordinary young people to academics to policymakers.
  • To build communication As China’s engagement and influence in the world grows, communication is even more important.   The world needs to understand more about China’s increasingly complex society and Chinese perceptions on critical issues, and China needs to better understand the concerns of citizens and civil society around the world.