Monday, June 9, 2008

Chicago’s Sister City-Shenyang-May'08

Shenyang, the largest city in Northeast China, is the political, economic, and cultural center of Liaoning Province. It is also an important industrial base and a famous historical city. As the host city of the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition and venue for the football (soccer) matches of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Shenyang will soon be the focus of world-wide attention.

Shenyang is an old city with more than 2,000 years of history which can be traced back to Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC). It is the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and has many cultural relics which symbolize the prosperity and subsequent decline of China's last feudal dynasty. The most famous of these is the Shenyang Imperial Palace , which is of great historic and artistic significance and second only to the Forbidden City in Beijing in the extent of its preservation.

Shenyang is one of top 3 industrial cities in China.

Judith mission here is to meet with local CDC officials to set up a future video conference between the CDC and UIC experts on the subject of AIDS/HIV prevention, amongst the MSM group. MSM stands for Men who have Sex with Men. China is being faced with the reality that this exists. This will be an important first between the two cities.

We check into the very nice Sheraton Hotel, with room provided Internet service. We have a view of the Hun River, which my research indicates is one of the worst polluted rivers in China. We don’t really have time for sight seeing which we are actually happy about. One can see just so many pagodas or Buddhist temples without a diminishing return of appreciation. I did manage to get a photo taken of Chairman Mao. This is one of the biggest statues of him in China.
Otherwise we are in meetings with the CDC and two different NGO’s (Non Government Organizations) who exists to support the gay community in the area.

This is photo taken at dinner with the two head CDC officials on both sides of Judith and me. The two women on the left are from the Foreign Affairs Office of the U.S. Console and spoke very good English. They were our interpreters. Notice that I am the only male.
This was one of the gay community NGO’s
This was the other.
Preliminary discussions and some details have been worked out for the video conference. One of the obstacles is the time different of 13 hours in our DST period and 12 hours after DST is over. Chicago people will have to start at 8 or 9 PM, while China people will have to be ready at 8 AM the next morning.

We fly to Beijing for an overnight stay again at the Beijing Ruffles Hotel and room near the Presidential Suite where the King of Morocco was staying. There was a lot of security and each time a new shift came, we were given the once over.

Judith made arrangements to meet with her colleague Professor Xiao (incorrectly spelled in previous posts as Zhou) and her husband Professor Lin to have dinner together at a French restaurant called the Courtyard. The dining area overlooks the wall and one of the towers of the Forbidden City. They are quite a couple, in their 70’s with who have experienced the WWII, the Cultural Revolution, and the new Industrial Age.

Professor Lin and I are of the same temperament, liking physical activity and photography and are both engineers. Professor Lin’s specialty?? Earthquakes.


GETkristiLOVE said...

One of the biggest statues of Mao? Is there a bigger one? That was is huge!

Dad E said...

As if to demostrate their contol over Tibet, a monstor Mao statue was been built, 22 feet tall from a 16 foot pedestal. This may have been the tallest before then I am just not sure.