John Kamm Remembers: Fifty Years in China

The Work of The Dui Hua Foundation:

1999 – Present

Kamm with Jigme Sangpo. Image credit: The Dui Hua Foundation

John Kamm Remembers: Fifty Years in China is an exciting, interactive project charting US-China relations with Dui Hua’s advocacy.

In 1972, then-President Nixon traveled to China, setting in motion a thaw in relations between the United States and China. This timeline charts the development of US-China relations with John Kamm’s journey from teacher and writer to businessperson to human rights activist. Part I of this project was launched in August 2022.

Part III will be launched in the coming months. Please read below to learn more about this time in history, and subscribe to our publications to receive notification when Part III is launched. View the timeline here, and go back to the John Kamm Remembers page here

As the world hurtled towards the new millennium, John Kamm’s unique approaches to dialogue and advocacy were garnering attention after some prisoner releases. Fraught relations between China and the United States ushered in this period: the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and US-Sino spy plane standoff led to tensions and  suspensions in dialogue. 

This period also bore changes in the dynamic between the two powers as China became the largest US foreign creditor and the world’s second-largest economy.  Having granted China Permanent Normal Trade Status in 2000, the United States began the 2010s with an attempted pivot towards Asia after a decade waging the “war on terror.” Amongst rising trade tensions, changes in leadership, and new expectations, both powers reckoned with a changing relationship.

The Dui Hua Foundation began its work in this era, with the foundation registering as a nonprofit in 1999. The foundation’s efforts yielded crowing achievements — Kamm’s work continued to contribute to the release of prisoners, achievements that were covered in the press and honored by the White House — and devastating losses. Dui Hua also grew its reach and focus by expanding its program areas, opening another office, and taking its advocacy to international institutions. 

Read select John Kamm Remembers stories from this period below.

Dui Hua Begins its Work (April 1999)
Dui Hua’s First Trip to Beijing (May 2000)
To Lhasa for Jigme Sangpo (March 2002)
The Singing Nuns of Drapchi (August 2002)
Ashes and Water: The Death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (November 2002)
National Security in the Time of SARS (June 2003)
Attending Trials in Beijing and Guangzhou, 2006
The Execution of Wo Weihan (January 2008)
Defiant: Li Huanming’s Long Road to Freedom (August 2012)
Li Yan has Survived! (April 2015)
Two Flights to Freedom (2016)