Alameda Forges Ties With Jiangyin, China
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Dennis Evanosky

Students from Chinese Christian School sang and performed for visiting dignitaries last week when Alameda signed a sister-city agreement with Jiangyin, China

The Chinese celebrate National Day every year on Oct. 1 as a public holiday. This year Wang Xinan, mayor of the city of Jiangyin, was not home for the celebration. He and other delegates the People's Republic of China found themselves at a celebration in front of a city hall, not in China, but here in Alameda.

They were in town to celebrate Jiangyin's association with Alameda as its sister city. The Chinese Consul General in San Francisco, Gao Zhansheng, joined his countrymen in the ceremonies.

Members of the Chinese delegation joined Mayor Beverly Johnson, the city council and members of the community to enjoy songs by the children at Alameda's Chinese Christian Schools, traditional Chinese dances performed by beautifully costumed dancers and the appearance of a dragon. The raising of the American and the Chinese flags capped the festivities.

Not everyone in the crowd was celebrating, however. A tempest in a teapot ensued when one member of the audience tried to stop an associate of Arthur Lipow from distributing a paper entitled "Friendship with the Chinese People — Not the Chinese Government."

Lipow serves as co-chair of the Alameda Public Affairs Forum. In the document Lipow urged the people of Alameda to protest the city's decision to establish a sister city relationship with Jiangyin. "We do need unofficial 'people-to-people' relations and friendship between the people of China and the people of the United States, but this is not a way achieve this goal," Lipow wrote.

The mayors of the two cities made the agreement official at a signing ceremony at city hall the following evening. A dinner at Aroma Restaurant rounded out the two-day celebration.

Jiangyin, which the Chinese have nicknamed "Shade of River," boasts a history that reaches back some 5,000 years to the New Stone Age. Jiangyin lies on the Southern Jiangsu Plain. Numerous rivers and canals crisscross the region; these include the Yangtze River and the Grand Canal. Beautiful lakes dot the area; Lake Shaobai adds its special splendor. Jiangyin's natural resources include agricultural products and fish.

Jiangyin has numerous tourist attractions including Huaxi Village, where tourists can visit the

17-story "Golden Pagoda," and Huangshan Lake Park on the southern shore of the man-made lake.

The six-lane Jiangyin-Qingjiang Suspension Bridge spans the Yangtze River and links the southern part of the city to its northern part. Completed in 1999, the bridge's main span is 4,544 feet long — the world's fifth longest suspension bridge.

Alameda has also forged official sister-city relationships with Arita-Machi, the cradle of porcelain manufacture in Japan, and Lidingo, an island northeast of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.

Alameda also has a "Friendship City." Johnson and the city council visited the 3,000-year-old city of Wuxi on the Yangtze River Delta in China last year. Wuxi is officially Alameda's "Friendship City" because the diplomacy network Sister Cities International does not recognize the relationship.

 

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