Minnesota-Shaanxi Committee Welcomes You
I am honored to be the new Shaanxi Committee Chair. 2015 marked the 33rd anniversary of the Minnesota-Shaanxi Province sister relationship. I heard about this sister relationship a long time ago when I was on the other side of the globe. Never did I dare to imagine that I could be part of this fantastic group of people who are promoting friendship between these two “sisters” from this side of the globe.
I am originally from Beijing, but went to Xi’an for my bachelor education for 4 years. I also worked in Xi’an and other sites in Shaanxi Province with the Global Volunteers (a Saint Paul based NGO) China project for 3 years from 2000 to 2002. Since 2000, I have been working on various projects related to promoting mutual understanding between peoples of the U.S. and China.
I am so pleased to now have this opportunity to contribute what I can to USCPFA-MN in order to strengthen the ties of friendship between Minnesota and Shaanxi. I look forward to working on various projects as Chair of this USCPFA-MN Committee. Please join the Shaanxi Committee and contact me with any ideas you may have for future events.
Rui Huang (黄睿) / Tammy, Shaanxi Committee Chair
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A Selection of Our Past Events (slide show)
Origin of Sister-City Relationship
Minnesota and Shaanxi have a long and wonderful relationship. Our commonalities include unique cultural centers, expanding industrial centers, important agricultural areas and prestigious large universities – Xian’s Jiao Tong Da Xue and the University of Minnesota. We appreciate Shaanxi’s long, rich history with its many historical and famous sites including the Terra Cotta museum, the restored City wall, Hua Shan and more throughout the Province.
We also appreciate the people we’ve met and the deep relationships we’ve developed there. In fact, the former National USCPFA President and Minnesota Chapter member Barbara Harrison said it best in describing her experience on the National USCPFA “Silk Road” Tour in 1990. After traveling along the old Silk Road in Western China for many days, when Barbara finally arrived in Xi’an, she said it “felt like home.” And that’s true for many of us – Xi’an and greater Shaanxi feel like “home” to us.
Extraordinary individuals made this relationship happen 30 years ago. USCPFA is an all-volunteer group that was founded in 1974 as a national organization with a mission of working on people-to-people diplomacy between the people of the US and the people of China. The Minnesota Chapter of USCPFA was the driving force that brought about the sister relationship between Minnesota and Shaanxi in the early 1980s.
USCPFA-MN has had many wonderful members who worked tirelessly over many years to foster, create, and sustain this relationship: Joyce & CC Hsiao, Fred & Millie Ptashne, Bill and Garnett Kirchner, Barbara Harrison, past President of USCPFA National, Fred & Jennie Hsiao, CJ Liu, Ming and Jim Tchou, Jolie Klapmeier, Howard Knutson, Larry Coleman, and Charles Petersen.
On the China side, we recognize Mr. An Wei and Mr. Bai Anping, directors of the Sister Relationships in the Foreign Affairs Office in Shaanxi Province, and Ms. Liu Xianlian who have maintained long-standing friendship with us. We are grateful for the support from the entire staff of the Sister City Department of the Shaanxi Foreign Affairs Office in working with USCPFA-MN to promote the sister relationship.
How did this great sister relationship begin? Between 1979 and 1981, the Hsiaos and Ptashnes, and other dedicated USCPFA-MN volunteers, spent countless hours to make this dream a reality. Joyce and CC initially proposed the idea for a sister relationship to USCPFA-MN, and Fred Ptashne, the Chapter President, enthusiastically approved the idea. This was followed by an official trip to Shaanxi by Joyce and CC Hsiao to meet with Vice Governor, LI Lian Bi to discuss details about creating the sister relationship and a letter of support from Minnesota Governor Al Quie to Shaanxi Governor Yu Mingtao suggesting the formation of a “Friendship State-Province Relationship. USCPFA-MN played a vital role in helping Governor Quie develop the Friendship Agreement. In September 1982, Joyce Hsiao took the lead for USCPFA-MN in hosting the advance delegation from Shaanxi, including Mr. He Ke Jing, who traveled to Minnesota to make arrangements for the formal signing ceremony.
All of this ultimately led to the one-week visit by Governor Yu Ming Tao and five other Shaanxi dignitaries to Minnesota in October 1982 for the official signing of the Friendship Agreement. This delegation was one of the highest level delegations to ever visit the U.S. at the time.
The signing ceremony took place in the State Capital on October 19, 1982. The official document was signed by Minnesota Governor Al Quie and Shaanxi Governor Yu Ming Tao. This photo shows the members of the Shaanxi delegation, which included LI Lian Pi, HE Ke Jing, SHEN Xi Bang, ZHU Jing Qi, and YU Zhi Zhong. “Among the USCPFA-MN members present were Fred and Millie Ptashne, CC and Joyce Hsiao, CJ Liu, Jennie and Fred Hsiao, Ming and Jim Tchou, Meiling Hsu, and Meiling Saunder.
USCPFA-MN helped co-sponsor a banquet at the Radisson South Hotel to celebrate the delegation’s visit and the establishment of the sister relationship. Governor Yu presented a beautiful handmade embroidered scroll made in Xian to Minnesota and Minnesota presented Governor Yu with a hand-carved wood Loon, Minnesota’s state bird. Chapter member CJ Liu wrote a poem for the occasion titled, “On Minnesota-Shaanxi Friendship.” In turn, Governor Yu wrote a poem for CJ Liu later that week in appreciation of his stay in Minnesota and the new Minnesota-Shaanxi relationship. In their speeches that evening, the Governors expressed their hope for future trade, education, technology, and sports exchanges, and asked USCPFA-MN to play a key role in those efforts. LI Lian Pi invited “Minnesota” to visit Shaanxi.
Historical Photos of Shaanxi Relationship (slide show)
Sights of Shaanxi & Xian (slide show)
Information about Shaanxi & Xian
For more information go to Wikipedia: