There are three important sister relationships that the Minnesota Chapter has worked diligently on over the years: Minnesota and Shaanxi Province, Minneapolis and Harbin, St. Paul and Changsha. Read below for a more in-depth discussion of each relationship.
Minnesota’s Sister Relationships in China (pdf)
The sister-city relationship between the State of Minnesota and the Shaanxi Province was established in 1982, as the result of tireless efforts of USCPFA-MN members beginning in the 1970’s. The official sister-city agreement was signed by then-Mayor Al Quie and Shaanxi Governor Yu Ming Tao during a signing ceremony at the Minnesota State Capital.
2012 marked the 30-year anniversary of this important sister relationship. In June 2012, the Governor of Shaanxi Province invited Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, for an official celebration to visit Shaanxi Province during Governor Dayton’s China Trade Mission trip. Prior to that, in 2011, at the invitation of Governor Dayton, Shaanxi Governor Zhao visited Minnesota. This led to a number of celebrative programs including the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit (Oct. 28, 2012-January 20, 2013) organized by one of the most prestigious art museums in U.S., the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (“MIA”), and a number of trade and tourism forums. USCPFA-MN continues to play a significant role in facilitating these events and furthering both U.S. and Chinese peoples’ friendship.
Amy Xu, Shaanxi Committee Co-chair and Mary Warpeha, Minnesota Chapter Co-chair
Harbin-Minneapolis Sister City Committee
Harbin and Minneapolis established Sister City relations in 1992. Harbin, with a population approaching 10 million, is the Capital of Heilongjiang in northeast China. Harbin is world famous for its Snow and Ice Festival held every winter, as well as its Summer Music Festival.
The relationship between Harbin and Minneapolis has a rich history and a bright future. Both Minneapolis and Harbin are on the 45th parallel and share similar climates. There have been numerous exchanges during the last 20 years. As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, a delegation from Minneapolis attended Harbin’s January Snow and Ice Festival in early 2012. In July, Mayor Song of Harbin visited Minneapolis during the Aquatennial Celebration, and in September a TV crew from Harbin shot footage of locations in Minneapolis and conducted interviews to be used in a documentary about Harbin’s Sister Cities.
We feel the potential for this relationship is bright, and welcome your involvement in our future work.
Ben Zhou & Kit Spangler, Harbin Committee Co-Chairs
Changsha-St. Paul Sister City Committee
The sister-city relationship between St. Paul and Changsha, Hunan, was initiated by the Midwest China Center (later known as the Midwest Asia Center) in 1985 and resulted in the signing of the sister-city agreement during then-Mayor George Latimer’s trip to Changsha in 1988. USCPFA-MN was involved in the hosting of delegations from Changsha to St. Paul, from the beginning of the relationship, including hosting a farewell banquet for the first official delegation from Changsha to Minnesota in December 1990. Shortly thereafter, USCPFA-MN became the anchoring organization for the sister-city relationship.
As early as 1998, Changsha delegates and thirty-eight students, ages seven to thirteen visited St. Paul. In 2006, Changsha artist, Master Lei Yixin, participated in St. Paul’s Minnesota Rocks! International Stone Carving Symposium, by Public Art St. Paul, and created the beautiful “Meditation” sculpture that is located at Phalen Park. In addition, in 2006, students from Changjun High School visited St. Paul for twenty days, staying with local students’ families. In the beginning of April 2007, Sibley High School visited Changsha. The Sister-City relationship celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008 and highlighted several important milestones.
We look forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary in 2013.
Neil Bray, Changsha Committee Chair