DiscoverHeartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast
Heartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast

Heartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast

Author: MacroPolo, think tank of The Paulson Institute

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Podcast by MacroPolo, think tank of The Paulson Institute
3 Episodes
The China Caucuses

The China Caucuses


This week, Heartland Mainland dives into the tangled political ties linking Iowa and China. Those ties stretch from grassroots citizen diplomacy, to the hustle and bustle of the Iowa Caucuses, and all the way up to a trade war between the world's two superpowers. Back in 1985, an unknown Chinese county official named Xi Jinping made his first trip to the United States, spending two weeks traveling around Iowa. 27 yeas later, Xi Jinping returned to Iowa, this time as the Vice President and heir apparent of the People's Republic of China. Those two trips thrust a small Iowa city into the global spotlight, paved the way for Iowa's governor Terry Branstad to become ambassador to China, and raised hopes for a better era in US-China diplomacy. But today the US-China relationship is more contentious than it's been in decades, and Iowa has found itself caught in the crossfire of a new trade war. And now those tensions are filtering into the most important contest to select 2020 presidential candidates: the Iowa Caucuses. So how did Iowa go from the great hope of US-China relations to collateral damage in a trade war? Do personal ties count for anything in an era of rough-and-tumble geopolitics? We'll be exploring all that and a whole lot more, in this episode of Heartland Mainland. In this episode, you'll hear from the Iowan who welcomed Xi Jinping in 1985, people in Muscatine, Iowa transformed by that trip, and presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang.
Freshman Orientation

Freshman Orientation


In the first episode of Heartland Mainland, we dive into the impact Chinese students have had at Iowa's largest universities -- and how these tangled ties reverberate all the way up to the White House. During the 2008 financial crisis, large public universities around the country began turning to Chinese students’ tuition dollars for revenue. That turned hundreds of thousands of Chinese and American 18-year-olds into roommates. But as tensions between the US and China heat up, those same Chinese students have turned into a political football between the two superpowers. The Chinese government hopes these students will bring their newly acquired skills back home, while many in the US government see them as spies intent on stealing American intellectual property. How did we get here? How did Chinese students in Iowa land in the middle of an Oval Office debate about national security? In this episode, you’ll hear from Chinese students, their American classmates, university administrators, and US diplomats.
Heartland Mainland explores the rich and impactful ties connecting the People's Republic of China and the state of Iowa. By taking you to the schools, farms and factories of the Midwest, we see how China is shaping -- and being shaped by -- the lives of ordinary people in the American heartland. Over five episodes, we'll trace US-China relations from the grassroots on up, revealing a complex and multifaceted relationship that is changing the world.
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