George Mason University

News at Mason

Town Hall Explores U.S.-China Relationship

November 7, 2013

By Henry Smith, junior film and video studies major

China Town Hall

The seventh annual China Town Hall was held at Mason’s Center for the Arts. Photo courtesy of Michael Chang

George Mason University students discussed topics ranging from Chinese pollution and energy policy to territorial disputes in the South China Sea during last week’s China Town Hall.

George Mason, along with 66 different institutions across the United States and Greater China, jointly participated in a wide range of discussions about critical issues regarding U.S.–China relations.

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright addressed the group via webcast. Photo courtesy of Michael Chang

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright addressed the group via webcast. Photo courtesy of Michael Chang

Madeleine K. Albright, former secretary of state, fielded a number of questions that were submitted electronically by participants around the world. She headlined the live webcast that was held in the main lobby of the Center for the Arts on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. About 70 Mason students and the general public attended the seventh annual China Town Hall to discuss the relationship between the United States and China, which has the world’s second largest economy.

Barbara A. Finamore, senior attorney and Asia director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, led a live discussion after the webcast. She has dedicated her professional life to environmental law and energy policy and has focused on China for more than two decades.

Finamore addressed a number of major issues fueling China’s air pollution crisis, which accounts for one-third of the destructive output of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere each year. At the end of her presentation, a question-and-answer period covered such topics as biofuel, developing standards of living and environmentally friendly construction practices.

The town hall was sponsored by the Provost’s Office, Office of Global and International Strategies, University Life, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of History and Art History, the Department of Public and International Affairs, the Global Affairs Program, and Mason’s Center for Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation. National sponsorship was provided by the National Committee on U.S.–China Relations.