|Consul General Hong Lei Attended "Year of China" Gala hosted by Global Minnesota|
On June 16, 2018, Consul General Hong Lei attended the “Year of China” Gala hosted by Global Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A total of over 400 people including US Representative Tim Walz, Global Minnesota President Carol Engebretson Byrne, honorary chair of the gala Kaimay Yuen Terry, and guests from local government, business, educational and cultural communities attended the event.
In his speech, Consul General Hong Lei said that the practical cooperation and friendly exchanges between China and Minnesota in economy, trade, education, culture and other fields have reached new heights in recent years. China has become Minnesota’s second largest trading partner and second largest export market. Minnesota-based multinational companies such as Cargill, Medtronic, 3M, and Ecolab have enjoyed strong development in China. China has become an important strategic market for them. More and more Chinese enterprises are also exploring business opportunities in Minnesota. Over the past 17 years, Chinese companies have invested US$ 2.8 billion in Minnesota, creating nearly 3,000 jobs. Currently, nearly 5,000 Chinese students are studying in Minnesota’s universities. Some charter schools in Minnesota have developed immersive Chinese language programs and achieved gratifying results. In the past two years, the Chinese Art Troupes have continuously held “Happy Chinese New Year” performances in Minnesota. In October last year, the Minnesota Timberwolves went to China to play the NBA preseason games and were warmly welcomed by Chinese fans. China and Minnesota have established a strong partnership, and "Year of China" will definitely drive this relationship further forward.
Consul General Hong Lei said that Minnesota’s relationship with China epitomizes the development of China-US relations. As two major powers, China and the United States are each other's largest trading partners with close trade and economic ties and increasingly frequent personnel exchanges. China-US friendship and cooperation meets the interests of the two peoples and the expectation of the international community. China-US friendship and cooperation also stands for an irreversible trend. China and the United States should be partners rather than rivals. As the world's largest developing country, China takes pursuing its own development and improving Chinese people's lives as its top priority, instead of challenging the US leadership. The United States imposing tariffs on Chinese imports undermines interests of both nations and cripples the world trading system. China firmly opposes such behavior.
In their speech, President Carol Engebretson Byrne and Chair Kaimay Yuen Terry thanked the Chinese Embassy in the United States and the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago for their support of the event. China has a long history, a splendid culture and enjoyed rapid development. US-China relations are very important to Minnesota. The peoples of the two nations should strengthen mutual exchanges and understanding and promote cooperation in various fields, which is also the very purpose of holding these "Year of China" events.
Red lanterns at the gala brought a rich Chinese element to the event. Attendees engaged in cordial exchanges and shared stories about their relationships with China. The Chinese community living in Minnesota staged wonderful Chinese cultural performances including lion dance, Guzhen performance and folk dances.
The “Year of China” Gala is one of Global Minnesota’s “Year of China” series events. Since last year, with Chinese Consulate General’s strong support, Global Minnesota has organized China-themed forums, sister cities exchanges, trade promotion events and other activities, attracting a large number of participants from all walks of life in Minnesota and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.