Chinese and U.S. participants in the 2015 Sino-US Counterterrorism Symposium

Second Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Dialogue

This past July, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) led a delegation to participate in the Second Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Symposium, a track 1.5 dialogue co-convened in Beijing by Consensus Media Group, which publishes the current affairs magazine Leaders, and the Pu Shi Institute for Social Sciences, a private think tank specializing on issues of religion and rule of law. The goal of the dialogue was to explore the potential for Sino-U.S. counterterrorism cooperation and to increase understanding between Chinese military personnel, security practitioners and scholars, and their U.S. counterparts. Previously, in August 2014, IGE led a three-person delegation to the first Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Symposium. As a result of the trust and the relationships built between IGE and the symposium’s convening partners in 2014, IGE was able to expand its delegation in 2015 to include seven members.

At this year’s dialogue, IGE president and CEO John Gallagher spoke about the need for comprehensive thinking about counterterrorism that includes not just hard power, but also soft power that can delegitimize the ideology behind terrorism. He also emphasized the need for government and civil society (track 1.5) to work together to solve this issue. Other members of the IGE delegation also made the case for a holistic approach to countering violent extremism that includes considerations of politics and polices, and also on-going, open dialogue between religious and tribal leaders and the government.

Excerpts from the talks were translated into Chinese and published both online on the Pu Shi Institute’s website and in print in Leaders. The organizers of the Sino-US Counterterrorism Symposium have expressed a strong interest in expanding this track 1.5 dialogue and having IGE participate in similar future events in China.

Exploring More Avenues for Track 1.5 Engagement with China

Since the July dialogue, IGE has been exploring possibilities for future track 1.5 engagements with China. Most recently, IGE helped arrange a series of meetings with U.S. government officials and with representatives in the House and Senate for Professor Liu Peng, the founder and director of the Pu Shi Institute for Social Sciences and co-convener of the Sino-US Counterterrorism Symposium, who was in Washington, DC, for an academic conference. At these meetings, IGE and Professor Liu shared findings from the two Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Symposia and discussed the benefits of taking a track 1.5 approach to Sino-U.S. engagement on difficult issues, such as countering violent extremism. Professor Liu also expressed his hopes that more track 1.5 engagement will lead to better mutual understanding between China and the U.S.

About the Institute for Global Engagement – The Institute for Global Engagement works at the critical intersection of religion and global affairs, building sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide. Through local partnerships, IGE works transparently to convene, connect, and build consensus among government, religious leaders and scholars to ensure that people of all faiths and none have full freedom of conscience and can participate as equal citizens in public life. To learn more about IGE’s programs, please contact James Chen at

The 2015 Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Symposium in Beijing, China

Chairman Zhou from Consensus Media Group presents IGE Chairman of the Board Chris Seiple with a signed photograph from the previous year’s symposium