My Impression on Fujian
My impressions of Fujian Province are very, very positive. I admire your dedication to build positive relationships with other countries through trade and commerce. I see that China’s efforts to continue to raise the remaining 70 million people out of poverty is strong and moving forward in Fujian Province. Your respect for your bountiful natural resources and attitude toward protection of the environment is emulative. And the positive working relationship between your Central Government, Provincial Government and the local areas is obvious and impressive as evidenced by your rapid economic growth rate and beautifully designed cities including landscaping, parks, transit systems, cultural heritage sites, museums, etc.
Everyone we met was very proud of their city and region and that is a good reflection on the leadership of this area, as well as the inherent attitude of the residents who clearly love this region.
As the Executive Director of the Southern Oregon China Connection – a chapter of the Oregon China Sister State Relations Council – and as one of the founders of Northwest Seasonal Workers Association in 1976 – I want to define my interests and hopes as an Economic Liaison.
Through my work with and representation of the lowest wage workers in Southern Oregon – farm workers and forestry workers – I have a deep understanding that no area can have a healthy and prosperous economy without the workers themselves having sufficient income to support the economy – particularly the small and medium local and regional businesses. For this reason, I see that we must use what we, in Southern Oregon, have in our local region – wondrous natural resources of farm and forest land – to create living wage jobs, support our businesses and build prosperity in our region.
I believe that building ties with investors in China and promoting investment and trade with our state can be part of accomplishing this vision.
My experience here in Fujian Province has reinforced my knowledge that China with your responsive governmental and decision-making processes – specifically China’s Central Government’s positive working relationship with the provinces and cities – is a model for emulation for the world.
This experience has also reinforced that Fujian Province’s Sister State relationship with the State of Oregon is a productive and positive model for other states in the U.S. and for other regions in the world who want to build Sister State relations with China.
These relationships require dedicated people who are willing to take a leadership role in working with the people of their states, provinces and cities to cultivate and develop Sister State and Sister City relationships. I see that the Department of Commerce of Fujian Province, the Foreign Affairs Office of the Fujian Provincial People’s Government, NSB, et al, are developing that leadership through the training seminars like the one we just held.
As we talked about at today’s final forum, the key is continued communication, follow-up and report backs. To this end, the development of a newsletter is a very positive step and a good way to keep us all up to date.
It is also my position that continued recruitment and training of new leadership and liaisons to add to our ranks is necessary, especially in the face of key personnel who have developed strong ties with China not being continuously available, because of job or position change. The more Sister State liaisons we have trained – either in our own states, provinces or cities OR those who have the advantage of participating in the training here in Fujian Province – the better. This means the Liaison Officers must invest in others who are interested, energetic and desire to be part of the Sister State efforts, so we can not only recommend them as future liaison officers, but assist in their training.
Finally, I must point out that I am speaking from a certain position – that of a participant who comes from a state with a 31-year history as a sister state with Fujian Province. Not all of the countries, provinces, states and cities enjoy such a history and some of our liaison officers will be going back as the ‘single voice promulgating the Sister State relationship’. This means we must develop a process for the stronger and more developed sister states to assist those less developed sister states who need our attention, solidarity and direct practical efforts.
I am very grateful that we came together as an international group of people. This “brought to life” China’s efforts throughout the world and provided an internationalist view of China’s outbound investments, friendship and exchanges. Not only that, but we all became good friends and strong allies through this remarkable experience – and I believe that we agree – we all love and admire China and Fujian Province and all our friends we have made in this short, but momentous time.
(By Charlotte Christensen)