Brown leads trade delegation to China

Updated: 2013-04-05 11:53

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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California Governor Jerry Brown will lead a trade and investment delegation of 75 members on a one-week visit to China beginning next Wednesday.

Brown and the delegation will visit Shanghai next Friday when the California-China Trade & Investment Office will reopen after a similar one closed in 2003. The office is to be funded with $1 million in private-sector funds raised by the Bay Area Council, a business group in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Brown's stops in China also include Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

On Thursday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he had secured a $100,000 donation in his ongoing trade trip to China. The donation will be used to retrofit Chinatown's Tung Wah Hospital, which is also called San Francisco Chinese Hospital. Qiu Yuanping, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, announced the donation earlier this week at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Lee said he was happy to use the donation for a neighborhood hospital that provides bilingual services for Chinese immigrants.

Over the decades, Chinese immigrants who have moved to San Francisco without a stable job have been unable to afford medical insurance. Many prefer to visit the San Francisco Chinese Hospital in Chinatown where they can be understood and comfortable.

"It is great to hear the Chinese government will financially support the (San Francisco) Chinese Hospital's retrofitting because my old parents never walk out of Chinatown since we settled down in the United States 14 years ago," said Fiona Wang, who works for a Chinese neighborhood salon in the city.

According to, the history of the hospital dates back to the start of the 20th century, when it was built to replace the Tung Wah Dispensary in Chinatown that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake:

"The first Chinese people to San Francisco were forced to settle in Chinatown. Isolated from the rest of the city, they did not have access to the services provided by San Francisco institutions. Schools and hospitals were not open to the Chinese people for decades. Even during the bubonic plague outbreak at the turn of the century, the city's health department quarantined Chinatown rather than open health facilities to afflicted Chinese. The only facility available that practiced western medicine was the Tung Wah Dispensary - a dispensary staffed by Christian missionaries," the website says.

In 1925, the San Francisco Chinese Hospital opened with 60 beds. In 1979, a fire ravaged the hospital and a new hospital was needed. The current hospital sits right next to the site of the original.

"The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation really should let the Chinese people at home and abroad benefit from the process of national development," Qiu said.

In his meeting with Lee, Qiu briefed the mayor's delegation on China's recent two sessions, the country's annual political meetings.

Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao met with Lee in Beijing on Tuesday vowing to enhance China-US cooperation.

Li called on the two sides to strengthen exchanges and cooperation at the local levels and to build on relations between the great powers.

Lee said on Tuesday that San Francisco will make positive efforts in promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation with China in culture and science.

"We have already seen not only a lot of visits but actually hundreds of types of investment that are coming from China to the San Francisco Bay Area," Lee told China Daily in an interview before his trip.

"I would love to promote this in San Francisco - that would complement our economy and job creation, and so we're looking for ideas how to sustain that effort," he said.

Lee's two trips to China this year are aimed at spurring trade and encouraging cultural exchanges.

During his ongoing trip, the Chinese-American mayor journeyed to Beijing and Guangzhou before visiting his ancestral village in Taishan, Guangdong province. He plans to revisit Shanghai on his second trip, scheduled for June.

(China Daily 04/05/2013 page1)