Critics of ending the Peace Corps program in China are trying to reverse the decision, arguing that the already tense ties with Beijing means an organization whose main mission is to promote international peace and friendship should continue, The Hill reported on Wednesday.
The recent decision “was made at a very high level without consulting what seems like appropriate staff,” a source told The Hill, indicating it was political appointees who did so. “It just doesn’t fit with Peace Corps’ mission. It wasn’t handled to the standard that I think the agency normally holds for auditing and closing a program. It happened really quick without taking into account factors that would normally be taken into account.”
The Peace Corps has refused to explain the reasoning for ending the program in China, which consists of volunteers teaching English in less developed parts of the country, according to NPR.
Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy, who served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, said he wants to know more why this decision was made, because “I think one of the great strengths of Peace Corps is the idea that you have volunteers on the ground in countries that are able to express United States values in a nonpolitical way.”
Although some have cited the fact that China is a developed country and therefore should not have a Peace Corps mission there, Democratic Rep. John Garamendi said “I’ve yet to find a reason that justifies pulling out. Clearly China is a developed nation, but not everywhere. And the presence of the Peace Corps provides an important opportunity for Americans to gain an understanding of modern-day Chinese culture and society. That would be of significant value for American diplomacy.”
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