In addition to U.S. government funding of democracy and human rights programs in China, private entities underwrite such projects. Forty-four businesses, for example, support the U.S.-China Legal Cooperation Fund to strengthen rule of law in China, and the Ford Foundation has invested about $220 million in Chinese legal reform and training since 1998. Many religious groups also maintain contact with their counterparts in China, sometimes providing lifelines to those under duress from government harassment, as do labor and environmental groups. These efforts could be strengthened if they were part of a coherent overall strategy. Such a strategy should not be devised under the auspices of the U.S. government, which might appear to compromise the groups’ independence, but efforts to devise such a strategy should be encouraged by the U.S. government. Private and government efforts can reinforce each other if their funding and approaches are congruent.
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