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Participants look back at a unique research program that helped normalize relations between China and the United States, report Zhao Xu and Zhao Ruixue in Zouping, Shandong province.

Editor's

note: At this year's two sessions - the biggest political event of the year, the deliberation of China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which maps out the country's development path for the next five years, will be the major point of discussion. The draft plan stipulates that China will continue the reform and opening-up policy that began in the late 1970s. In the first of our in-depth reports during the two sessions, China Daily examines one of the most important academic exchanges of the 1980s, which marked the reform and opening-up program and helped the world gain greater and deeper understanding of China's growing role on the global stage.

For many years, Shi Changxiang, a chain-smoking county official from Shandong province in East China, was unaware that his tobacco addiction was regarded as a potential threat to the future of a hard-won research project between China and the United States.

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