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Bilateral relationship’s benefits celebrated in Houston

Enlarged font  Narrow font Release date:2018-10-30  Source:china daily  Browse number:15106
Note: The sentiment to continue to foster the friendship between the US and China was evident at the 12th Annual Gala of the U

The sentiment to continue to foster the friendship between the US and China was evident at the 12th Annual Gala of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association (USCPFA) Houston chapter on Friday, as more than 200 people attended.

Nancy Li, board chairman of the USCPFA Houston chapter, shared photos taken by Kathy Berkman, a trustee at the Holocaust Museum Houston, when she was invited by USCPFA to visit China in 1978. Now 40 years later, USCPFA has 55 chapters across the US.

“Many people like myself have benefited from the good relations between the two countries, realized their dreams both professionally and personally,” Li said. “Today we can’t avoid the topic of the current situation the two countries are facing. It is more critical and more important for organizations like USCPFA to promote communications and exchanges.”

La Port Independent School District won a scholarship award for its 10-year exchange program with Nankai High School in Tianjin. According to Li, the China program has impacted and changed many young lives from both countries in the past 10-plus years.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales won the Friendship Ambassador Award. He visited China a number of times when he was a City Council member and mayor pro tem of Houston.

“I have developed love for the people and culture there. As we look forward, I hope both countries find ways to manage the disagreement and continue to build what we see here tonight — opportunities in education, business and culture,” Gonzales said.

Consul General of China in Houston Li Qiangmin emphasized the mutually beneficiary bilateral relationship when addressing the gathering.

“The normalization of our bilateral relations has provided an opportunity for China to adapt to international norms and integrate into the international community. At the same time, China’s development has delivered tangible benefits to the US side,” Li said.

Li said that American corporate giants such as Ford, Apple, Walmart and Coca-Cola have profited from their operations in China.

The trade with China has given American families access to higher-quality products at lower costs, resulting in average annual savings of $850 for each American family, according to industry calculations.

Citing history that the American Flying Tigers helped China fight against Japanese aggressors, Li said he recently learned that during World War II, when Allied pilots crashed in battlefields, the pilots’ rescue rate in China was among the highest, at 80 percent.

“The US and Chinese people mutually protected each other’s lives. This kind of sentiment keeps the two peoples together, and this precious friendship must be passed down,” Li said, encouraging members of USCPFA to continue to support the friendly exchanges between the two peoples.

Bernard Harris, a former NASA astronaut and CEO at the National Math and Science Initiative and Vesalius Ventures, shared stories of his time as an astronaut career and his involvement with China.

Besides showing beautiful photos of sunrises and northern light from space, Harris singled out a picture containing the Great Wall.

“During my second mission I got a chance to see the Great Wall from space. The only man-made thing you can see from space during the day is the Great Wall. You can only see it at a certain time from the orbit when the light is shining off from the top of the wall and produces a shadow,” Harris told the audience.

Harris was invited to China to speak years ago when China was accelerating its space program. “I always thought I would go back. Now my colleagues and I have been doing things in many places such as Dubai and India, but the most interesting things we are doing are in China,” he said.

In the past, healthcare in China was primarily managed by the government, but that has been changing in recent years, according to Harris.

“A lot of Chinese institutions are now reaching out to figure out how to run the system,” he said. “Some are being bought by private companies. We use our expertise to help them to upgrade their healthcare system.”

In 2014, his company Vesalius Ventures co-founded the Tianjin Telemedicine Association and launched the first China International Telemedicine Summit. Since then, he has helped connect scores of Chinese and US medical centers to start various projects from medical city planning to R&D, to accelerators/incubators to joint hospitals.

In 2016, Harris helped bring the first US China Innovation and Investment Summit to Houston to connect Chinese investment with American technologies.

“We are blessed with China. Despite what is happening [between the US and China], there are still opportunities there. We plan to remain there and be involved. Personally, I think if we bring technologies to China, it will help Chinese people and their healthcare system. We not only help Chinese people but also the relationship,” Harris said.

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