Interest group is one of the major political forces in American politics, which exert great influences on the foreign policy decisionmaking as well as the political environment and the overall decisionmaking process of American government.
Since the end of the Cold War, without any impeding security threat, the foreign policy decision-making process of the US has undergone considerable changes, a conspicuous feature of which is the rising role of interest groups and the decentralization of decisionmaking power.
Among interest groups in the US, the fight over policy toward China became fiercer in recent years. Two competing allies of interest groups over the question of MFNS toward China have come into being. The ups and downs and the balance between the two allies has been the major reason contributing to the shifting of US policy toward China.
The thesis comprises four parts: the first part begins with the status of religion in the US. It reveals the great impact of religion by stating religious influences on different sections of American society. The current religious organizations and the formation of religious interest groups are also mentioned in this part.
The second part traces the tradition of religious interest groups involvement in US foreign policy decision-making and discusses the opportunity provided to religious interest groups by the unique American political system. Through a careful analysis of some cases and historic facts, four ways of religious interest groups exerting their influence on foreign policy are concluded, namely, influencing
elections, conducting direct activities, lobbying, and taking combined actions. Thus, a comprehensive view of the importance of religious interest groups can be obtained.
The third part mainly deals with the influences of religious interest groups on US policy toward China, especially their negative impact on the issues that both China and the US concerned, such as religious freedom, Tibet issue, family planning, MFNS, etc.
The fourth part sums up the features and limitations of religious interest groups and their activities, and based on that, several proposals on China抯 foreign policy are made, which is the main purpose of this thesis.