Here at our CUSEF blog, we share news, updates and stories about China and the United States. We provide more than a cursory glimpse of what’s going on between the two powers - here, we offer an in-depth look into their current state of affairs.

News Highlights
Welcoming the Year of the Rat
2020-02-09
Happy Year of the Rat! [Photo Credit: nydailynews.com]
Happy Year of the Rat! [Photo Credit: nydailynews.com]
Commonly signified by the appearance of brightly colored lanterns and red envelopes, festivities surrounding Lunar New Year are often compared to Western celebrations of the New Year held on January 1. Lunar New Year, sometimes called the Spring Festival in parts of China, possesses its own unique traditions, myths, and beliefs, varying from country to country as all look forward to the start of a new lunar cycle. In 2020, the final Saturday of January marks the start of the Lunar New Year, with people throughout the world welcoming the Year of the Rat. The Rat is the first in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac and is commonly associated with water and the winter season. As with the other 11 animals in the Chinese zodiac, the concept of the “Year of the Rat” is linked to particular lucky numbers, colors, and similarities among those born in those years. In 2020, keep an eye out for the numbers 2, 3,... Read More
News Highlights
Chinese Mars Landing
2020-01-16
A lander is lifted during testing at a facility in Huailai. [Photo credit: Andy Wong/Associated Press]
A lander is lifted during testing at a facility in Huailai. [Photo credit: Andy Wong/Associated Press]
On Thursday, November 14, 2019, China successfully completed a critical landing test ahead of its initial plans to conduct a historic unmanned mission to Mars in 2020. The Mars lander underwent a hover and landing test in the Hebei province city of Huailai, an hour and held drive north of Beijing. Officials say the site mirrored the slope and crater landscape of the planet, emphasizing the safe landing as one of the biggest challenges facing the Mars mission. Head of China National Space Administration Zhang Kejian noted, “In 2016, China officially began the Mars exploration mission work, and currently all of the different development work is progressing smoothly. The hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test for the Mars lander being carried out today makes up a crucial part of the development process.” If successful, China will become only the second country in the world to achieve this victory behind the United States (the Soviet Union landed a spacecraft on Mars in 1971 and... Read More
News Highlights
COP25 and the Fight Against Climate Change
2020-01-07
Officials and activists alike called for action at 2019's COP25. [Photo credit: France24]
Officials and activists alike called for action at 2019's COP25. [Photo credit: France24]
From December 2-13, 2019, the international community gathered in Madrid, Spain, to discuss the next steps toward combating climate change at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Yet, he results of COP25 left many disappointed as broad collaborative agreements at the international level were scant, especially with critical decisions regarding carbon market and carbon emissions being delayed until the upcoming climate conference in Glasgow. More action was seen among non-governmental institutions, international coalitions, and activist groups, such as the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the Climate Ambition Alliance. These organizations and movements highlighted a key shift in the global response to climate change: from a significantly top-down driven approach to a more grassroots crusade initiated particularly by the youth. Through the emergence of climate strikes and social media campaigns, youth activists have taken on a broader responsibility in the fight against climate change, becoming a powerful voice for the larger public’s desperate need to make the environment a governmental... Read More
News Highlights
The Subtle Art of Panda Diplomacy
2020-01-06
People from all walks of life watched Bei Bei enjoy his last breakfast at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo. [Photo Credit: Amanda Voisard/for The Washington Post]
People from all walks of life watched Bei Bei enjoy his last breakfast at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo. [Photo Credit: Amanda Voisard/for The Washington Post]
Born in 2015, the now 240-pound panda drew stories of attachment and compassion as he prepared for his departure to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Chengdu (he later traveled to a branch of the Center, the Bifengxia Panda Center). The attachment to Bei Bei, expressed both by the zookeepers in person and the broader U.S. public through the hashtag #ByeByeBeiBei, exemplifies the subtle importance of “panda diplomacy,” the compassionate emotions that accompany a shared experience between the two nations. Bei Bei has become this generation’s new symbol of the quainter side of international diplomacy, creating a community of people from all over the world who are invested in his growth and journey. While bringing attention to the plight of the pandas as they combat extinction, the sharing of pandas between China and the U.S. highlights the countries’ capacity to sustain continued cooperation - an important lesson today as tensions in the relationship tend... Read More
News Highlights
Mid-Term Elections Surprise in the U.S.
2019-11-27
Andy Beshear greets supporters. [Photo Credit: Vox, John Sommers]
Andy Beshear greets supporters. [Photo Credit: Vox, John Sommers]
Elections held throughout the U.S. on November 5 gave both parties reasons to celebrate. This year’s elections included gubernatorial elections in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as state legislature elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia and New Jersey. In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear defeated one-term Republican Matt Bevin, but the close race pushed Bevin to request a recanvass, which forced all 120 counties in the state to recheck their vote counts. After the process was completed on November 14, the incumbent Bevin conceded defeat, a result considering surprising by many as President Trump had campaigned for him on the ground in Kentucky prior the election. Read More