China Table of Contents
Since 1949 a significant forum for Chinese foreign relations has been cultural or "people-to-people" diplomacy. The relative isolation of the People's Republic during its first two decades increased the importance of cultural exchanges and informal ties with people of other countries through mass organizations and friendship societies. In some cases, activities at this level have signaled important diplomatic breakthroughs, as was the case with the American-Chinese ping-pong exchange in 1971. In addition to educational and cultural institutions, many other organizations, including the media, women's and youth organizations, and academic and professional societies, have been involved in foreign relations. Two institutes responsible for this aspect of Chinese diplomacy were associated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and staffed largely by former diplomats: the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.
Data as of July 1987