USCPFA & Shanghai Communiqué commemorative events

A delegation of 13 USCPFA members were in China April 7-17 to participate in events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué. The Communiqué, signed by American and Chinese leaders during President Nixon s historic visit to China in February 1972, marked the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, and it remains as a foundation for US-China relations. The events were arranged by Youxie, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

What was the Shanghai Communiqué?  Read the text from the PRC Embassy web site.

The USCPFA delegation included people from all four USCPFA regions. There were 10 women and 3 men, and birth years ranged from 1922 to 1971. Delegates include five members of the 11-member National Board (Barbara Harrison, Charles Petersen, Barbara Cobb, Keith Krasemann, Elena Lu), one regional president (Bob Sanborn, MW), four chapter presidents (Edna Zhuo Las Vegas, Ruby Fong Sacramento, Marion Harcourt Central Indiana, Lillian Whitney Richmond), and three people active primarily at the chapter level (Linda Mealey-Lohmann Minnesota, Rose Ellen Stanbery an officer of the USCPFA Southern Region, and Denise Grissom Owensboro KY/Evansville IN).

Group Photo courtesy of Barbara Cobb. At Soong Ching Ling Residence and Foundation visit with a staff member (left) who showed us around.
A banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 13 opened the Shanghai Communiqué commemorative events. The menu used was the same served to President Nixon s party in 1972. Major speakers were Chen Haosu, Youxie President, and Dr. Henry Kissinger, honored guest. Dr. Kissinger is credited with smoothing the way for President Nixon s visit to China, and has maintained contact with China s leaders over the years; he is considered a good friend of China. During the banquet, USCPFA President Barbara Harrison informally gave Dr. Kissinger a USCPFA medallion engraved with his name. Kissinger s party of 8-10 included his wife Nancy and several China experts. The night of the banquet was Nancy Kissinger s birthday, and a birthday cake was presented and shared with guests at the head table.
USCPFA President Barbara Harrison presents a gift to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the Banquet in the Great Hall of the People.
Among other Americans invited to participate in the commemorative events was the coach of the American table-tennis team that visited China in 1971, Rufford Harrison, who was accompanied by his wife. (Remember Ping-Pong Diplomacy?) Important Chinese guests included Mr. Ji Chaozhu, the interpreter for Premier Zhou Enlai at his historic 1972 meetings with President Nixon, and Ms. Tang Wenshang, Mao s interpreter. The various delegations and individuals were involved in commemorative events in both Beijing and Shanghai. Delegation leaders, including USCPFA President Barbara Harrison, were involved in small receptions with Chinese leaders before several of the commemorative events.
On April 14, the delegation flew to Shanghai. In the afternoon, they attended a reception on the lawn of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and a Seminar on Sino-US Relations in the Institute s facility. Speakers included Ezra Vogel, a Harvard professor and one of Kissinger s party, and USCPFA President Barbara Harrison. The Mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Chen Liangyu, hosted a banquet on that evening in the Jin Jiang Hotel Grand Hall. This hall, site of the 1972 signing of the Communiqué, was also the site of a Shanghai Communiqué Commemorative Meeting on the next morning. Speakers in this morning meeting included Youxie Vice President Li Xiaolin, Dr. Kissinger, Mr. Ji Chaozhu (Zhou Enlai s interpreter), and USCPFA President Barbara Harrison.
After the Shanghai meeting, the party drove (about an hour) to Suzhou in a motorcade that included three vans (for USCPFA delegation, Youxie staff, and press), a limousine, and several cars, led and followed by a police escort with lights flashing. In Suzhou, the group had a briefing on Suzhou s recent rapid industrial development, then lunch, in one of Suzhou s two new industrial parks. After another ride of the motorcade (30-45 minutes), we arrived at Zhouzhuang, an ancient canal town near Hangzhou. We walked along the canal through the town as a group, led by Dr. and Mrs. Kissinger, crossed over on a beautiful arched bridge, and took boats on the canal back to the entrance, as onlookers waved. (The only sadness was that we didn t have time to stop and admire the town and the many shops in the ancient buildings. The trip to Zhouzhuang will have a full day on USCPFA s July and October tours!)

After a brief stop at a lovely pavilion built on a lake, the motorcade was reassembled for the two-hour drive back to Shanghai. We had a brief rest at the hotel, then drove (in a police-escorted motorcade) down to the waterfront and boarded a private boat for a dinner cruise on the Huangpu River. Speeches were short and congratulatory, and everyone agreed Youxie had done a great job in arranging the commemorative events. The night was clear and warm, with a light breeze, as guests strolled in the open on the upper deck. The lights of the famous Bund lit up the shore; their brightness hid the stars but not the slipper moon.

This Lights of the Shore from the Cruise boat at night.
Midwest Board Member Keith Krasemann visits with Dr. Henry Kissinger aboard the cruise ship.
In addition to the commemorative events, the USCPFA delegation had a full schedule of activities. Youxie was our host and arranger of all the events.

On the first morning (April 8), the delegation joined Youxie staff and braved the cool weather and dusty wind to plant trees (pine, redwood, and hardwood) in the new China-US Friendship Forest on the outskirts of Beijing (in Changping County, near the Ming Tombs). Officials present, in addition to Youxie Vice President Li Xiaolin and USCPFA President Barbara Harrison, were representatives of Citi Group and Changping County Forestry Office. China has a serious problem with de-forestation and resulting loss of soil, which blows in the wind in Beijing and other cities. We experienced a couple of such sandstorms during the trip. China has undertaken to correct the problem by planting trees in strategic locations, and our tree planting was a media event covered by print and television reporters, and by Chen DeFu for the next phase of the US-China film documentary.

After the planting, we went back to Beijing and had lunch in the new sunroom on Youxie s compound, made more beautiful with live orchids. After lunch, the delegation gathered with Youxie staff to discuss the activities planned by our two organizations for the next year. On April 11, Youxie's sunroom was the site of a press conference on the Beijing Today segment of the film documentary; speakers included Youxie Vice President Li Xiaolin, USCPFA President Barbara Harrison, and film documentary producer Chen DeFu. A youth orchestra, with a full section of pipas (lutes), played for the enjoyment of those attending the press conference.
n Beijing, the USCPFA delegation met and discussed future exchanges with representatives of All-China Women's Federation and Beijing Municipal Youxie. Over dinner with representatives of the Soong Ching Ling Residence and Museum, we discussed USCPFA sponsorship of a US exhibit of photographs and artifacts from the Museum. Meeting with Nick Young in the courtyard of his hutong office, we agreed to subscribe to his quarterly publication, China Development Brief, which will go to the USCPFA President, the four US-China Review editors, and the newsletter editors of each region + Hawaii subregion. We also made a courtesy call at the American Embassy. Charles Petersen and Barbara Cobb had dinner (and bowled a game) with members of the Beijing Photographers Association, which has provided two photo exhibits for the U.S. through USCPFA and Beijing Municipal Youxie. (An exhibit of photos from China s western region is planned for 2003.)
At the Soong Ling Ching Residence and grounds.
The delegation visited two Chinese gardens in Beijing (Prince Gong s residence at Beihai Park and Yuanmingyuan, the old Summer Palace in the northern suburbs near Beijing and Tsinghua universities) to see what might go into a Chinese garden being considered for Minneapolis. We were privileged to visit the beautiful campuses of both these universities (complete with a pagoda and willows by the lake), and a Tsinghua architecture professor went with us as a guide to Yuanmingyuan.
From Peking and Tsinghua Universities
Some of the Ruins at Yuanmingyuan.
On an overnight trip to Tianjin (April 9-10), we visited the Tianjin Economic Development Assistance (TEDA), which was started as an economic development zone and has become a city with a population of 40,000. TEDA provides assistance to foreign firms who invest here, and includes schools and residences. About 40% of the capital in TEDA comes from the US, and the remainder from Korea, Japan, and European countries.
The Hometown Restaurant with Roller Skaters.
Dinner was at the Hometown Seafood restaurant on the outskirts of Tianjin, where you selected your fish from one of the many open tanks, and were served by waiters on rollerskates! After dinner, we were treated to a dance performance by the children of the Cathay Future Children s Palace.
The Clock in Tianjin.
At Nankai University

While in Tianjin, the delegation also visited Nankai University, where one of the delegates (Linda Mealey-Lohmann) had taught in 1983-84 in a joint program with the University of Minnesota. Lunch at the Goubuli (translation: no dogs allowed) Restaurant was followed by a trio of musicians, and a browse through Tianjin s old town Culture Street shops rounded out the visit.

This beautiful young lady was part of the Cathay Future troupe that entertained for us with a mix of Chinese and western song including Jingle Bells.
Tianjin is a very surprising city of near 10 million people but still retains much of its past charms in the culture street full of wonderful shops. We had far too little time here.
And Finally, what trip would be complete without our very own Emperor Mr. Keith sitting on the throne.
This trip Report text was written by Barbara Cobb. All photographs, except where otherwise noted, taken by Robert Sanborn.

Copyright USCPFA