China’s President to (Re)Visit Tacoma

Next week Tacoma will play host to a pretty high profile visitor when Chinese President, Xi Jinping, comes to town on September 23. This isn't the first time he's been to Tacoma. Before he was president, Mr. Xi visited Tacoma as a regional Communist Party official in 1993. The sister city relationship between Fuzhou and Tacoma was announced the next year in 1994. The visit is meant to generate good will, and build China's relationships in the US. The Chinese president will meet with Port of Tacoma commissioner Connie Bacon, and pay a visit to Lincoln High School before flying to the other Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama.

The Wall Street Journal today takes a look at President Xi's return to Tacoma - their thoughts on what the Chinese hope to gain from the visit, and on Tacoma's relationship with China. "With High School Visit, China’s Xi Jinping Aims to Woo U.S.," reads the headline. The WSJ article has a few interesting things to say about the Chinese president's visit, as well as about Tacoma's relationship with China.

“He wants to create an image of being close to the people, including in contacts with ordinary Americans,” said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based historian and political commentator. “He wants to win the affection of the American public.”

The article says that "China accounts for most of the commerce through Tacoma," which is described as an "industrial port city." There's the port, and then also the EB-5 visa program, which the developers of the Convention Center hotel will use. The WSJ article also makes a vague reference to "a mixed-use development on a 6.4 acre site in the city’s Brewery District," also being considered as an EB-5 project.

The 20+ year-old sister city relationship that Xi played a part in bringing about has helped strengthen Tacoma's trade relationship, and the hope on Tacoma's part is likely that Xi's return visit will do the same for EB-5 and other foreign investment.

It will be interesting to have the Chinese president in town, and we're curious to hear what he has to say, particularly in his visit to Lincoln. But the real question is this: last time he visited Tacoma, Xi had spaghetti and meatballs at Connie Bacon's house - what will he eat in Tacoma now that he's president? the full Wall Street Journal article here.

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President Xi hopes to find at Lincoln High School ordinary students doing extraordinary things—young people working to engage the world who ask thoughtful questions about the meanings of science and democracy.  Some Americans use jingoism to attack perceived violations of the liberties of the Chinese people by the Communist government and yet mainland China’s economy is roaring capitalist success story.  Communism is a way to analyze a society; it is not a malignant anti-freedom social disease. President Xi comes to Tacoma on equal footing with his American hosts; he is not in Tacoma to build a railroad.  Other Chinese who make big investments in Tacoma plan to stay.  Just as he has not come to lecture Americans on their own shortcomings as a society, so he instead places his focus on what bright students are doing to become more engaged with the world.  China will not be so much of an enigma and mystery to Americans if they take time to learn of its rich story, as China has learned of the ideas of Western science and democracy.  President Xi’s visit to Lincoln High School is a testament to the importance he places on education to enlighten and advance a society.  The Chinese Reconciliation Park at the scenic Old Town waterfront is a bridge to heal a long-gap of mistrust between two nations.

September 19, 2015 at 8:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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altered chords

Let’s make a list of things you are not allowed to do in China:

1) look up anything on google
2) get on facebook
3) criticize the government

On the other hand, I am thrilled that someone is investing in Tacoma.

September 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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