Seated middle to right: Mayor Bing Yao with Jenny Hsiao with Loudi delegation. Standing middle to right: Richard He, Greg Hugh with Loudi delegation. (Photos by J. Lee)
By J. LEE
AAP staff writer
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (October 22, 2011) — The Loudi Chamber of Commerce and the Loudi Chinese American Association celebrated their formation of global exchanges.
The newly formalize relationship between the Hunan Province, China sister-city school was boosted in part with the sister school relationship formed in 2005 with Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota, along with City of Ramsey, Minn. as a sister-city.
The event was hosted Saturday by China Insight Founder and President Richard He and publisher Greg Hugh at David Fong’s Restaurant. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and the General Consul of Chicago sent their congratulations on establishment of the two organizations.
Originally from Loudi, students and professionals from Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas joined guests from the City of Eden Prairie, Eden Prairie High School, Bethel University, St. Cloud State University and others. The celebration honored Loudi’s visiting Vice-Mayor Bing Yao of Loudi People’s Municipal Government and his delegation which included Chunrui Li, Dept. of Finance Associate Director; Wenlian Li, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission Director; and Yang Jianxiang, Overseas Friendship Association of Lengshuijiang Hunan China President.
As a “favorite son” of Loudi, Richard He spoke on the strategic partnership, achievements, continued relationship and developments between the two cities since former Governor Tim Pawlenty proclaimed Feb. 24, 2006 as “Loudi Day” in Minnesota. He and Hugh were said to share the “passion of bridging China and the United States, and “fostering business and cultural understanding.”
As founder and partner, He spoke of China Insight as “bringing the communities together.” China Insight will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012.
With a focus on education, he added that he was sponsoring educational scholarships with a goal of increasing Loudi student numbers in the U.S. from 40 to 100. He explained how the student stories were the greatest part of the program.
School teacher and acting Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case talked about the partnership with Loudi despite Eden Prairie having 60,000 residents compared to Loudi’s four million people.
Mayor Bing Yao elaborated on “the wonderful economic and strategic relationship” between the sister cities and schools.
Extending a personal invitation to everyone, Mayor Yao encouraged people to visit Loudi and invest in their natural and human resources. Referring to the Loudi Chamber of Commerce and Loudi Chinese American Association, Yao spoke of their help in the substantial development of corporations. In solidifying the friendship, the Mayor and his delegation gave gifts of collector’s stamps to everyone.
Loudi is one of Hunan’s 14 prefectures (cities). The prefectures are divided into 122 counties and 2,587 townships. The Governor of Hunan is the highest ranking official in its dual-party government system, but has less power than the Hunan CPC Party Chief aka the CPC Provincial Committee Secretary.
The Hunan Province runs south of Lake Dongting, touches the Yangtze River, and includes the Xiang River. The Provinces of Hubei is to the north, Jiangxi is to the east, Guangdong is to the south, Guangxi is to the southwest, Guizhou is to the west, and Chongqing is to the northwest. It is on the Imperial Highway that connects northern and southern China.
Loudi is an important and expanding industrial city in central Hunan Province, and the “forest city” of China. With a population of 4 million people, it’s considered a small city. It is a transportation hub for the Luoyang-Zhanjiang Railway with the Zhuzhou-Guiding Railway, the Shanghai-Ruili Highway with the Taiyuan-Macao Highway, and the National Highways 207, 320, and 1810.
Hunan’s other economic and technological development zones include the cities of Changsha (High-tech industry, biology project technology, new materials); Chenzhou (The only export processing zone in Hunan for hi-tech industries, electronic information, precision machinery, and new materials with policies of tax-exemption, guarantees and refunding. Their “Eleventh Five-Year Plan created 50,000 jobs and over $1 billion in export/import.); and Zhuzhou (Biotechnology, food processing, heavy industry, and a manufacturing base for Beijing Automobile Industry – one of the largest auto makers in China.)
Of Loudi’s 48 mineral resources, antimony is the largest in the world. Other natural attractions include the Dacheng Mountain Forest Park with its waterfalls and underground Boyue Cave of karst; Luoyangwan from the Ming Dynasty with buildings built from 1403-1423 A.D.; and the recently discovered Meishan Dragon Palace comprised of thousands of underground caves of karst.
Hunan’s cultural industry generated $11.76 billion. Cultural exports included the “Super Girl” contest – a Chinese version of “Pop Idol” with live broadcast and voting by cell phones generating profits of $2.48 million. The program airs in Japan, the United States and Europe. Chinese football is the popular sport and tourism highlights Wulingyuan as a “World Heritage Site”, the Yueyang Pagoda, Mount Heng, Zhangjiajie, Hong Jiang, and Fenghuang County in Xiangxi.
During the Zhou Dynasty, Hunan became the State of Chu and attracted the Han Chinese who began rice farming. Tea is the other major agricultural production. In the 2000 census, of Hunan’s 64,400,700 people and 41 ethnic groups – the Han numbered 57,540,000. Minority groups known as Bai, Dong, Hui, Miao, Tujia, Uyghurs, Yao, Zhuang, and others comprised 6,575,300. The Dong, Miao, Tujia and Yao are descendants of immigrants during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the Southern and Northern Dynasties.