Many people know Zhou Enlai for one powerful moment, one iconic image: shaking hands to welcome President Nixon to Beijing in 1972, which began a long process of change in China. In the following years, economic, social and diplomatic change released the innate power and intelligence of the Chinese people, to build their nation and connect with the world community. It culminated in the business revolution of the 90’s, the soaring success of the 2008 Olympics, and the growing financial influence of China today.
The seeds were planted in 1974; they took nearly two decades to germinate for all to see; today, they have produced a vast forest of prosperity that makes every Chinese proud.
Much remains to be done, for China to realize its potential; China still faces many challenges. These challenges will require the concentration of 1.3 billion people to meet, and they will require the help of many people of goodwill around the world. To listen carefully, to learn deeply, to acquire understanding for the 5000 years of history of the Middle Kingdom, to meet the Chinese people personally, work with them, and understand their story — all this will focus people’s attention on China in a constructive way. That is the mission of the Zhou Enlai Institute.
There are hundreds of stories about Zhou Enlai that bring history alive, that tell his humble, powerful story in ways anyone can understand. See the Stories Section to read about them.