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The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the relations between Hubei and Ohio was held in Columbus
2019/10/05

After the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States in 1979, Hubei province and Ohio state first twinned with each other, becoming the first pair of sister province and state between China and the United States. In 2019, on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, Hubei and Ohio also celebrate the 40th anniversary of their ties. A few days ago, Zhao Haishan, vice governor of Hubei province, led a delegation to visit Ohio to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the relations between the province and the state with Ohio's Lt. Governor Jon Husted and local communities. Consul General Huang Ping attended related events.

On September 20, the opening ceremony of "Hubei-Ohio week" and the economic and trade fair jointly hosted by Hubei and Ohio governments opened at the Hilton Columbus Downtown. Vice governor Zhao Haishan, Lt. Governor Husted, Consul General Huang Ping, President and CEO of Ohio Business Roundtable Tiberi, Vice President of Jobs Ohio Andrew Deye, over 250 Chinese and American politicians, businessmen, scholars as well as overseas Chinese gathered together to commemorate the friendship in the past 40 years and discuss the cooperation in the future days.

In his speech, Zhao Haishan said that Hubei and Ohio have created many records of "first" in the last 40 years. In 1979, They became the first sister province and state between China and the US. In 1980, China held the earliest "Hubei Export Commodities Fair" in the United States. In 1982, Paike-Hubei Seals, the first joint venture between the Chinese province and the US states, was founded. The first science and technology collaboration protocol between China and the US was signed by Hubei and Ohio in 1988. The friendly exchanges between Hubei and Ohio, which are conducive to initiating a new episode in China-US relations, greatly stimulated the economic and social advancement of the province and state.

According to Zhao Haishan, Hubei is currently concentrating on establishing an international free trade zone and a logistics hub to becomes a leader in China's inland opening up. Ohio boasts more than 20 fortune 500 companies, a strong economy and rich resources of innovation. It is hoped that the Hubei and Ohio will deepen collaboration in the industries of automobile, intelligent manufacturing, information and communication, new energy, modern agriculture and service, enhance opening integration and eco-friendly development, further expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, jointly open up the next 40 years and even longer cooperation, and create a better future for the two places.

On behalf of Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted warmly welcomed the delegation from Hubei province. He cited figures from The China Quarterly September 1982 issue,said that trade volume between Ohio and Hubei exceeded $30 million in two years after establishing the relationship. Cooperation between them had been successful. Over the past 40 years, Ohio's trade and investment in Hubei and the whole of China has been expanding. China is now Ohio's third-largest export market and eighth-largest source of international investment. Many Chinese corporations, including Fuyao Glass and Johnson Electric, have invested massively in Ohio, creating thousands of jobs.

According to Husted, Ohio and Hubei share similarities in strategic locations, manufacturing strength, and innovation ecosystems. Ohio has a thriving university system, high-quality human resources, and a good business environment. Ohio welcomes more Hubei and Chinese enterprises to invest and do business here.

Huang Ping congratulated Hubei and Ohio on the 40th anniversary of their twinning. He said that local cooperation is an important pillar of China-U.S. relations, which is even has greater significance under the current circumstances. Over the past 40 years, Hubei and Ohio have led the way in China-US sub-national cooperation, with a total trade and investment of more than $25 billion and rich exchanges in education, culture, sports, and other cultural fields. 16,000 Chinese students are studying in Ohio, and thousands of Ohio teachers are teaching English to Chinese children through online platforms like VIPKID. These achievements and cooperation forms are completely beyond people's imagination 40 years ago, and the future cooperation between the two places has unlimited prospects.

Huang Ping said that there are only a few days before the 70th National day of the People's Republic of China. At the new historical starting point, China will further deepen reform and open up wider to create a better business context for foreign investors. Over 400 million middle-level-income people in China provide more opportunities for the United States. He hoped that Hubei and Ohio will make further efforts to develop friendly relations at the local level and make new contributions to consolidating and upgrading the overall China-U.S. relations.

Paul Schroeder, professor of Case Western Reserve University, looked back fondly on Ohio's friendship with Hubei through rare historical photos. In 1979, he accompanied Jim Rhodes, Ohio Governor of the time, taking a trip to Beijing. They occasionally decided to visit another province, thus the story between Ohio and Hubei started unexpectedly. During the past 40 years, he has visited Hubei, where becomes his second hometown, more than 50 times. He hoped the younger generations will carry on the touching friendship between Ohio and Hubei.

At the celebration ceremony, Vice governor Zhao Haishan and Lt. Governor Husted signed the confirmation letter of Hubei-Ohio friendship. The economic authorities of Hubei and Ohio also hosted a special trade fair to promote the trade and investment environment of the two sides. More than 30 Hubei enterprises conversed with their Ohio peers. Six contracts were signed on site.

On the same day, the Hubei delegation held an international seminar about Chu culture at Ohio State University. More than 50 people including American scholars and translators of Chu Ci, experts of Chu culture, and representatives of Chinese and American college students attended the event.

In the evening, the delegation held the Imperial Bells of China concert at Jo Ann Davidson Theatre, Vern Riffe Center in Columbus. Ancient instruments used in this concert, including Chime bells, Bianqing, Xun, Chi, Jiangu, and Se, are the reproduction of the antiques in Duke Zeng's Tomb, which have a history of 2400 years. Each bell has two sounds presenting an interval of a third, decorated with patterns of humans, animals, dragons, flowers, and geometric figures. The grand and exquisite set of the instrument has a broad sound range.

At the concert, Hubei artists performed not only Chinese music such as A Melody of Chu and Osprey, but also classic western songs including Oh! Susanna and Auld Lang Syne. With the ancient oriental instruments, they created a feast of music for the audience. Celebration on that day culminated with applause from the audience, which paid tribute to Chinese artists from afar and the 40-year friendship between Hubei and Ohio.

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