Chinese-American Diplomacy

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-Shek, and Churchill in Cairo, Egypt

    The Cairo Conference of 1943 outlined the Allied position against Japan during World War II and made decisions about postwar Asia. The meeting was held in Cairo, Egypt and attended by President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China.


    Grades: K-13+
  • President Nixon Visits China: 1972

    When President Nixon entered office, the United States had not had any formal diplomatic relations with China since 1949 when the Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, won China's civil war. The images in this media gallery are from President Nixon's historic trip to China in 1972 that resulted from his decision to completely reverse the United States' diplomatic relationship with Communist China.

    Grades: 5-13+
  • Nixon Visits China: The Week that Changed the World

    In this activity from the National Archives, students will analyze images from President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 to determine the sequence of events and learn more about American and Chinese cultural differences.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Carters with Deng Xiaoping and Madame Zhuo Lin

    In 1949, the Communist Party seized power in China, and in response, the United States severed diplomatic relations. Thirty years later, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with China, and this 1979 photograph shows President Jimmy Carter, Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Madame Zhuo Lin stop for a formal pose on their way to the state dinner for the Vice Premier of China. It was the first time a Communist Chinese leader had visited the United States.

    Grades: K-13+
  • President Ford's Trip to China: 1975

    This media gallery features images of President Ford and the First Lady's trip to China in 1975.

    Grades: K-13+
  • First Lady Hillary Clinton at the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China

    This item is a photograph of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's Remarks to the Fourth United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China on September 5, 1995. The photograph was taken by Sharon Farmer.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Charlene Barshefsky Interview | Wide Angle

    China’s membership in the World Trade Organization received strong disapproval from those critical of its poor human rights record. However, China was still able to garner support, most notably from the United States. Charlene Barshefsky, U.S. Trade Representative in the Clinton administration, was the chief negotiator propelling China’s entry into the WTO. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "To Have and Have Not," Barshefsky discusses how the people of China may benefit from its inclusion in the WTO.

    Grades: 9-12
  • President Obama: Diplomatic Relations with China

    This media gallery features two images of President Obama's diplomatic relations with China, both in the White House and abroad.

    Grades: 5-13+
  • The Voyage of Zheng He I | 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America?

    In 2002, retired submarine commander Gavin Menzies presented a lecture in which he claimed a Chinese fleet under Admiral Zheng He began a series of voyages in 1421 that would ultimately discover the North American continent. Menzies’s theory threatened the previously held belief that Columbus was the first explorer to travel to North America in 1492. Menzies believed European explorers like Columbus had maps prior to their expeditions. He concluded that only China had the resources to create such maps, build sea worthy ships and undertake an exploration of that scope. In this video segment adapted from 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America? learn how Menzies came to these conclusions. For more about Chinese exploration, see “The Voyage of Zheng He - II.”

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Voyage of Zheng He II

    In this video segment adapted from 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America? Gavin Menzies claims the Chinese during the Ming Dynasty successfully made global naval expeditions around the world and discovered the North American continent prior to Columbus. How did they do it? According to Chinese scholars, China, under the command of Admiral Zheng He, had the naval capabilities, labor, motivation, and daring to build a fleet of 300 vessels to mount seven epic voyages. To learn more about Gavin Menzies’s theory, Zheng He and Chinese expeditions around the globe, see the video segment entitled “The Voyage of Zheng He - I.”

    Grades: 6-12
  • Evaluating the Validity of Information - Did the Chinese Discover America in 1421?

    Students evaluate evidence regarding the Chinese building a massive fleet for naval exploration then determine whether the evidence presented is valid. They will be asked to use skills to both critically analyze and validate the accuracy of the new material presented. It is useful for students to be able to develop and/or apply criteria to evaluate new information. When students are able to make evaluations, they can then determine whether new information should be incorporated into on-going ideas, behaviors or practices.

    Grades: 6-8