Consul general welcomed

Updated: 2014-06-16 06:37

By MAY ZHOU in Houston (China Daily USA)

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Consul general welcomed

Congressman Al Green presents a cowboy hat to Li Qiangmin, Chinese consul general in Houston. [MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY]

More than 100 people attended an inaugural reception Friday hosted by Li Qiangmin, who assumed the office of Chinese Consul General in Houston a month ago.

VIPs in attendance included Congressman Al Green, Texas State Representative Gene Wu, Houston city council members Jack Christie and Robert Gallegos, US China Partnerships vice-chair of the board Dan Short and president Fan Bo, and many others.

Deputy Consul General Li Guixi emceed the event and read a welcome letter sent by former president George H. W. Bush from his summer home in Maine. In the letter Bush congratulated Li on his new important assignment, saying, "We welcome you to our hometown and I look forward to meeting you this fall".

Li opened his remarks with a Texas-style "Howdy!" greeting to the guests, calling Houston "a very warm and passionate city".

"I am most honored to be posted to America when China-US relations are in a new phase," said Li. "Governor Perry told me that an average of 1,500 people moves to Texas every day. I'm feeling lucky that I am one of them. There must be magic here."

Li said that in the five weeks since his arrival, he has visited three states and six cities in his consular district. "The impression I got when talking with local business leaders and government officials is that they all have strong wishes and enthusiasm for a stronger growth of our relations. I am most encouraged at the huge potential for cooperation between China and my consular district of eight southern states."

Both Green and Wu made welcoming remarks at the reception. Green presented a cowboy hat to Li, saying, "Consul general, when you say howdy, it will mean something. Now you are a new Texan and a constituent in my congressional district." Green expressed his desire to work with Li to better bilateral relations.

Wu presented a US flag themed coffee mug and a hat to Li as a welcome gift, saying, "You will have many a long day but remember to have some time for yourself, because I know the Chinese have a tradition of working too much."

Houston city council members Christie and Gallegos, and James Chen on behalf of Texas Governor Rick Perry, also presented official certificates to welcome Li to Houston.

Prior to his Houston post, Li, from provincial government of his native Hunan, had served as China's ambassador to Uganda, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's African affairs department, ambassador to Zambia and China's special envoy to the China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue.