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In Conversation

Ding Kuisong with C.V. Ranganathan

In April 2004, the 32nd Session of the Williamsburg Conference was held in New Delhi. Sponsored by the Asia Society, New York and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), participants were from 17 countries. Prominent non-Asian countries which were represented were Australia, U.K. and U.S.A. with the rest being from Asia. Among the Asian countries China, India and Japan had a large delegation. The Conference brought together fifty-five high level personalities from government, business, academia and media circles. It was for the first time that the Conference was held in India, a reflection of the growing awareness in USA and elsewhere of India’s contribution to Asian growth and stability.   Amidst continuing problems attending American presence in Iraq, the themes of the Conference focussed on India, its relations with major and regional Powers, Asia’s economic prospects, Islam in Asia, the American Presidential elections, HIV/AIDS in Asia and areas for future cooperation in the region. Among the Chinese participants was Dr. Ding Kuisong, the Vice Chairman of Beijing-based China Reform Forum, a think-tank set up by the Chinese Communist Party to provide inputs to Party policy making.   Set up in 1993 under the Communist Party school, its earlier work concentrated more on domestic economic reforms. While this subject would continue to play an important role, the focus was shifting to the study of political reforms, as would be appropriate to the dynamics of Chinese social and economic growth in the context of a rapidly changing regional and international situation. The Secretariat of the Forum is small, it does not have too many senior Research Fellows, but its widest membership represents different Minorities of Government and Party officials from the Centre and the Provinces. The Forum alone acted as a funding agency for research project submitted by other think-tanks in China. As an instance he cited the proposals under submission to the Forum on the implications for China and the world of “China’s Peaceful Rise”, a subject which is being studied and written about extensively by various academic circles in China.   Questions put to Dr. Sing related to India-China relations in the context of changing Chinese views about India and domestic problems and challenges facing China over the next two decades. Recalling that his Forum had an opportunity to hear the highest leader Hu Jintao, President of China and General Seretary of the Chinese Communist Party, on foreign policy, ...

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