From The Boston Globe:
… These tensions have largely obscured an increasingly powerful, if little noticed, form of interaction that holds much promise for the future of Sino-American relations. In recent years, China and a number of nongovernmental organizations have found ways to work together to advance shared goals in areas such as education, healthcare, and disability. Without glossing over the many challenges that persist, this cooperation and the learning it has spawned is building a basis for a different type of bilateral engagement.
One such example is the work that Chinese and Americans (and a host of others) have been conducting over the last several years, under the auspices of the Special Olympics, to improve the quality of life of Chinese citizens with intellectual disabilities. Since it first became involved in China in the mid-1990s, Special Olympics has enlisted hundreds of thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities in athletic and other programs situated in locales, urban and rural, rich and poor, throughout China – along the way involving comparably large numbers of their fellow citizens as coaches, volunteers, and supporters. [Full Text]
William P. Alford is vice dean and Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law at Harvard. Dr. Timothy P. Shriver is chairman of the board of the Special Olympics.