John L. Holden
President of the National Committee on United States-China Relations since September 1, 1998, John Holden was previously employed for twelve years by the American agribusiness firm Cargill, Inc. He was responsible for establishing Cargillís China operations, which grew to include oilseed crushing, animal feed, hybrid seed, fertilizer, malt, and commodity trading businesses. From 1980 to 1986 Holden held several interesting jobs; his very favorite of them was interpreter/guide for National Geographic teams researching the Yellow River and Tibet for the 1982 book Journey into China. Holden lived for seventeen years in various Chinese locations (Taipei, Beijing and Hong Kong). His first visit to the Peopleís Republic of China was in 1974. He has been active in the American Chambers of Commerce in both Hong Kong and Beijing, and was elected chairman of the latter organization in 1997. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is an adviser to the Peak Enterprise Program. Holden received a B.A. magna cum laude in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota (1974), and his M.A. in the same field from Stanford University (1976). He doesnít regret having abandoned his Ph.D. dissertation in 1980 to pursue non-academic interests. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, reads and writes Chinese, speaks French well enough to hold his own with his French in-laws, and once had pretty good Japanese language skills. He is married with two daughters, aged fourteen and ten.