By Greg Hugh, staff writer
Zhao Weiping, newly appointed Consul General for the Peoples Republic of China in Chicago, visited with representatives of the Chinese community and Chinese newspapers in Minnesota in July.
The meeting was organized by Vincent Mar, a board member of the Chinese American Association of Minnesota. Accompanying Consul General Zhao from the Chicago Consulate were Wang Yun - Consul of Cultural Affairs and Wang Ruibin - Consul of Political & Press Affairs.
More than 20 leaders from different Chinese organizations attended the welcome dinner held at Little Szechuan in St. Louis Park. During his introductory remarks, Mar commented that the Consulate was committed to continuing the Chinese visa program and the Consulate will send a group to Minnesota to assist in visa matters so those needing Chinese visa services will not need to travel to Chicago. The next time this service is available in Minnesota will be Oct. 12, 2013. Watch for details online at www.chinainsight.info.
Although appointed in February 2013, Consul General Zhao had wanted to schedule his first visit to Minnesota to include a visit with Governor Mark Dayton. Unfortunately, scheduling difficulties meant he would have to accomplish that on a return trip as he didn’t want to put off a trip to Minnesota any longer. Zhao stated that he was very impressed by the diversity of local Chinese organizations and the great services they provide the local Chinese community. According to Zhao, the mission of the Consulate is to safeguard the legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the consular district and provide consular services related to passport, visa, notarization and authentication, as well as to promote the exchanges of and cooperation in extensive areas between China and America's Midwest.
Consul General Zhao also commented that the Internet had made it faster and easier to know what is going on in China. He said his sincere hope is that their website will enable the public to learn about their services as well as China's development, its friendly relations and cooperation with America's Midwest, the main focus being the Consulate’s services. He further noted that his consular district covers nine states: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, where there are more than 300,000 Chinese nationals or Chinese Americans and about 50,000 Chinese students from Mainland China.
During their brief inaugural visit to Minnesota, the Chicago Consulate group also met with Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and Dean of International Programs for the University of Minnesota system; staff members of the China Center and the Confucius Institute; students from China studying at the University of Minnesota; representatives from the Minnesota Trade Office; Saint Paul Mayor Christopher B. Coleman; representatives from Arts Midwest and representatives from the U.S.- China Peoples Friendship Association-Minnesota.
Consul General Zhao’s Biography
For more information about the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, visit http://www.chinaconsulatechicago.org/eng