The Committee of 100, which actually has more than 150 members, is an organization of prominent American citizens of Chinese descent that works to bridge U.S.–Greater China relations.

The Committee of 100 is a national, nonpartisan organization whose members are American citizens of Chinese descent. It was founded in 1990 by leaders in the Chinese-American community who saw the need for an organization that would bring a Chinese-American perspective to relations between Greater China and the Unites States; they envisioned an organization that would address the concerns of Americans of Chinese heritage. The members, who have achieved prominence in a broad range of professions, pool their strengths and experiences to further the goals of the organization.

The Committee of 100 has a twofold mission. It is first concerned with bridging the gap (and strengthening relations) between the United States and Greater China. In addition it encourages Chinese-Americans to participate in all aspects of American life. During the 1990s the committee’s efforts were primarily focused on this second purpose, but as China has changed, so too has the Committee’s mission. Now the committee wants to be seen as a cultural ambassador in the exchange and sharing of perspectives, ideas, and experiences among all those concerned with Greater China-U.S. relations.

Many of the committee’s members are involved in academics, government, business, law, science, and the arts. Its founders include the cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Shirley Young, a senior adviser to General Motors; the architect I. M. Pei; and Oscar Tang, an investor and philanthropist. The committee has more than 150 members.

Recognizing that highly skilled, well-educated individuals are essential to China’s continued grow and prosperity, the Committee of 100 has established endowment funds to provide scholarships for outstanding students and teachers at several universities in China. In conjunction with its annual conference, the committee, since 2003, conducts mentoring events for students and young professionals. Each mentorship event provides young professionals, the next generation of Chinese-American community leaders, the opportunity to connect with committee members who are prominent leaders in their fields. Participants at each event are able to learn directly from committee members who share their personal experiences, successes, and challenges. Participants also discuss their unique issues with members.

In 2006 the committee introduced a mentoring website, www.c100mentoring.org, to provide another portal for participants and to serve as well as a resource for those unable to attend a mentoring event. The site consists of essays on career advice written by members.

In addition to its mentoring efforts, the committee regularly conducts opinion surveys in order to provide objective data on the mutual perceptions of American and Chinese regarding such subjects as economics and trade, product safety, environment and climate change, and Taiwan. Public opinion plays a significant role in shaping government policymaking and forecasting the direction of bilateral relationships. Over the years the survey results have been relied upon by the media, opinion leaders, and decision makers.

American Attitudes Toward China

A survey conducted by the Committee of 100 in 2004 examined American opinions about China.

American attitudes toward China have improved significantly over the past 10 years since the Committee of 100’s study in 1994, indicating that 46% of Americans view China favorably versus 59% in 2004. Also, familiarity with US-Chinese issues by Americans has grown. Further, Americans expect US-China relations to continue improving.

Despite American concerns about job losses and outsourcing/off shoring, the benefits of China’s low cost products appear to outweigh the negatives even among union members and those that have lost jobs (who do not blame China).

Compared to 10 years ago, China is now viewed as much more of an economic vs. military threat. China is viewed as an ally by significantly more Americans (48% of the general public) than 10 years ago (25%). However, China’s support of the US in the War on Terrorism is not well known nor recognized by either opinion leaders or the public, with only roughly 30% of both groups viewing China as a dependable ally in the War on Terrorism.

Human rights remain the key concern by Americans towards China with its impact on the global environment – being registered as a second key concern by opinion leaders and fourth by the general public.

The overall trend of increasingly positive attitudes toward China may influence American attitudes towards Chinese Americans. In contrast to a Committee of 100 survey, “American Attitudes Toward Chinese Americans and Asian Americans,” conducted in 2001, this study reflects a positive shift in attitudes toward the immigration of Chinese to this country. Another interesting finding was that the 23% of respondents who claim to have family or friends who have adopted a Chinese baby could suggest that increasing numbers of Chinese adoptions has an impact on American attitudes towards China and the Chinese people.

Source: Peck, C. W., & Gilbert, A.. (2005, February). American attitudes toward China: Opinion leaders and the general public rate China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from http://www.committee100.org/publications/survey/C100_PhaseI_031805.pdf

The Committee’s headquarters are in New York. It also has an office in Hong Kong.

Further Reading

Committee of 100 (2008). Committee of 100. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from http://www.committee100.org

Committee of 100. (2008). Hope and fear: Full report of C–100’s survey on American and Chinese attitudes toward each other. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from http://www.survey.committee100.org/2007/files/C100SurveyFullReport.pdf

Source: The Editors (2009). Committee of 100. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 452–453. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

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