Stanford University China Conference

Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall
Stanford University
February 19th-20th, 2009



To explore the emerging role of China in countries with ongoing humanitarian crises as well as possible international policy responses.

In our one and a half day conference, we will explore China's relationship to countries, especially Chad, Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, and Zimbabwe which are host to crises of international concern and consider China's strategic role in these cases.

We want to promote understanding of China's motivations and policy with regard to its role in Chad, Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, and Zimbabwe as well as to begin an academic discussion of the strategic role China could play in the context of cooperative efforts to resolve these crises. The experts invited to speak at this conference will span a broad spectrum of topics, including (but not limited to) foreign policy, investment, international law, and human rights. We will invite government officials and members of civil society, the private sector, and academia in relevant fields.

Our aim in this conference is to consider four main questions:

  1. What is the nature of China’s participation in countries in which these crises are occurring with a focus on China’s role in Chad, Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, and Zimbabwe?  Are China’s actions in these countries decisive? Focuses on economic, military, and political transactions.

  2. What are the various motivations for China’s relationship with these countries and how do they explain China’s actions?

  3. What is China’s general philosophy regarding foreign policy and how is it applied in the context of these countries?

  4. What are the differentiated responsibilities of China, the United States, and the International Community in resolving these crises?

We hope that a closed door working session will produce a hypothetical agenda for a strategic dialogue between (minimally) the United States and China on responding to urgent international crises such as those identified as examples in this conference.  The working session should also propose a policy agenda moving forward.