San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis, who's been racking up plenty of international frequent-flier miles courtesy of the Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank sponsored by a host of unidentified special interests, is at it once again. This time she took a weeklong jaunt to China with 20 other members of Congress to study "U.S.-China Relations."
According to an itinerary filed with the House of Representatives, the junketeers departed Washington March 31 and made stops in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Beijing before returning to the capital on April 8. Davis was along for the ride, according to the filing, because she's a member of the Armed Services and Education committees and "represents the San Diego area, which is very active in trans-Pacific trade with China."
Some highlights of the journey, according to the itinerary: "A visit to the Shanghai Museum will expose Members to historical and cultural sites that offer a richer view and deeper understanding of China," and "A visit to the Forbidden City.... This site illustrates the long history and nature of the Chinese government that we relate to today. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site." The tour group also was scheduled to pay a visit to Beijing's Tiananmen Square, "the site of 1989 pro-democracy demonstration."
Aspen listed the travel expenses it paid for each member of the tour at $11,795, plus $1915 for lodging, $680 for meals, and $125 for visa and emergency health insurance. Davis's prior Aspen Institute trips have included a $7036 "No Child Left Behind" conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this February; a $4630 five-day trip to Kraków, Poland, last August to discuss "U.S.-Russia-Europe Relations"; and a "U.S. Policy in Latin America" meeting near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last May costing $3175 for lodging and $2025 for meals.