Washington's Sister Cities with China

Washington-Sichuan Friendship State/Province (华盛顿-四川友好省州)- (Established: 1982)

WA-SichuanThe agreement of the friendship relations between the State of Washington and the Province of Sichuan was signed in Chengdu in October 1982 by Governor John Spellman and Governor Lu Dadong. In the three decades and more, Washington and Sichuan have engaged in numerous exchanges in business, trade, culture, education and tourism. In 2008, after the Sichuan earthquake, Washington members and supporters sent emergency relief funds to aid the survivors. In 2012-2013, observing the 30th anniversary of the friendship, members of Washington and Sichuan visited each other and held various activities of celebration. In November 2014, a new MOU between Washington and Sichuan was signed in Olympia by Lt. Governor Owen and Executive Vice Governor Zhong Mian of Sichuan, calling for more trade and investment between the two, including opening a Washington state business park in Sichuan, and a Sichuan industrial park in Washington. According to the website of the Sichuan Provincial Government, the current Washington State-Sichuan Province Friendship Association was formed in Sichuan in 2000, endorsed by governments on both sides. Serving as president of the Association is Carson Tavenner of The Tai Initiative. For more information, visit this web page or call 301-367-8969.

Seattle-Chongqing Sister Cities (西雅图-重庆友好城市)- (Established: 1983)

Seattle-ChongqingAs Seattle became interested in a Chinese sister ciy, a port city preferably, after WA and Sichuan became friendship state and province, China offered Chongqing, a river port city on the Yangtze. In 1982, a Seattle delegation visited Chongqing and signed a memorandum of understanding on sister city relations. The five official delegates were Jeanette Williams, president of Seattle City Council, and executive members of the Seattle-Chongqing Sister City Association: Jack Doughty, Betsy Geist, Sen. Jim McDermott and Gregory Tsang. In June 1983, with a Chongqing delegation in Seattle, Mayor Yu Hanqing signed the official agreement with Mayor Royer. In the following years, especially under Michael Craig as the president, the Association had many exchange programs with Chongqing, from technology to management, from medicine to education, even Chinasaurs at Burke Museum. More recent exchanges have been between Chief Sealth High School and Chongqing Nankai School and between Chongqing City and the Seattle Chinese Garden. Currently serving as president of the Association is Scott Heinlein. For more information, visit the website here.

Spokane-Jilin Sister Cities (斯波坎-吉林友好城市) - (Established: 1987)

Spokane Sister Cities AssnSeeing that Seattle got Chongqing of Sichuan province as a sister city and that West Washington businesses were signing agreements with Chinese companies, leaders of Spokane, the state’s second largest city, wanted also to develop a trading partner in China. They found one: Jilin city of Jilin province in China’s northeast. In 1986, Mayor Vicki McNeill led a delegation to Jilin and signed an intent with Jilin Mayor Wang Guangcai to pursue a sister city relationship. A year later, on May 29, 1987, Mayor McNeill and Mayor Wang, with a Jilin delegation in Spokane, signed the formal agreement. With it, Spokane leaders did not only make a trade decision but also a diplomatic one as they had turned down a sister city offer from Taichung of Taiwan. In November 1987, Whitworth University of Spokane and Jilin Teachers College (now Beihua University) also established sister school relations. In 2014, Spokane voters approved a $60 million plan to renovate Riverfront Park in Downtown Spokane and construct a Sister Cities Garden to celebrate the city’s sister cities including Jilin. President of the Jilin Sister City Society is listed as Danielle Xu. For more information, contact the Sister Cities Association of Spokane here.

Kent-Yangzhou Sister Cities (肯特-扬州友好城市) - (Established: 1994)

Yangzhou ParkIn 1992, when Mayor Dan Kelleher visited Yangzhou of Jiangsu province, he got criticized for using the city money. No matter. Exchanges began between the two cities. In April, 1994, his successor Mayor Jim White led a delegation to Yangzhou and signed the sister city agreement with Mayor Shi Guoxing. In the following year, to commemorate the sister relationship, Yangzhou presented Kent "The Chinese Friendship Pavilion," which is in Yangzhou Park, one of Kent's International Sister City Parks. In 1998, Kent presented Yangzhou with a Kent Park, including also a pavilion. Bilateral exchanges include the Youth Ambassador Program for teens of the two cities and a partnership between Highline College and Yangzhou Polytechnic University. For more information, visit the Kent Yangzhou Sister City Committee’s Facebook page here.

Tacoma-Fuzhou Sister Cities (塔科马-福州友好城市) - (Established: 1994)

Fuzhou TingIn October 1993, a delegation from Fujian province, China, headed by its Communist Party chief Chen Guangyi, visited Tacoma. Among members of the delegation was none other than Xi Jinping, then Communist Party Secretary of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian. A friendship province with Oregon since 1984, the Fujian group had been visiting in Oregon and came to Washington at the invitation of Governor Mike Lowry. They were in Tacoma to discuss sister city relations initiated by Connie Bacon, then executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma. Besides meeting with Gov. Lowry and making a presentation at the Frank Russell Co. on business opportunities in Fujian for American companies, the group also toured the Port of Tacoma, Vancouver Door Co. and Boeing. The sister city agreement was signed a year later in Fuzhou by Connie Bacon and Mayor Jin Nengchou. Exchanges have included the Tacoma-Fuzhou Trade Project and Dragon Boat Races in China. Fuzhou also donated the Fuzhou Ting in 2010 for Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park. Chair of the Fuzhou Sister City Committee is Greg Youtz. For more information, visit the web page here.

Lakewood-Danzhou Sister Cities (力湖-儋州友好城市) - (Established: 2006)

Lakewood and Danzhou agreementLakewood may have been incorporated as a city only in 1996, it certainly didn’t wait long, not to say court, to get a Chinese sister city: Danzhou in the northwest of the tropical province of Hainan. In mid Feb. 2006, Mayor Dr. Claudia Thomas of Lakewood took a delegation to Danzhou. The group met with municipal as well as provincial leaders and visited local schools, factories, farms and businesses. While there, on Feb. 20, Mayor Thomas and Mayor Zhu Chunrong of Danzhou signed the sister city agreement. President of the Lakewood Sister Cities Association is Connie J. Lacadie. For more information, visit the website here.

Tacoma-Mianyang Friendship Cities (塔科马-绵阳友好城市) - (Established: 2006)

Tacoma and Mianyang headlineIn March 2006, supported by Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park Project Foundation and Sichuan Province, the City Council of Tacoma through a resolution designated Mianyang of Sichuan a Friendship City. In April 2006, Mayor Bill Baarsma and a delegation visited Mianyang and signed in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, the friendship agreement with Mayor Tang Limin of Mianyang, with Sichuan Vice Governor Zhang Zuoha and Washington’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Owens in attendance. For more information, contact City of Tacoma here.

University Place-Jiangyou Sister Cities (大学城-江油友好城市) -
(Established: 2007)

University Place and Jiangyou streamerExchanges between the City of University Place and the City of Jiangyou of Sichuan began in 2005. As the main broker, Ron Chow of Tacoma made a dozen trips to Jiangyou, laying the ground work. Between November 12-13, 2007, Mayor Gerald Gehring led a University Place delegation to Jiangyou and signed the friendship city agreement with Mayor Song Kaihui. In the aftermath of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, University Place along with other cities raised funds for the victims in Jiangyou. President of the University Place Sister Cities Association is Ron Chow, who also heads the Washington State Sichuan Province Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the blog page here.

Renton-Linyi Sister Cities (雷顿-临沂友好城市) - (Established: 2007)

Renten and LinyiIn May 2006, led by its then president and CEO Bill Taylor, the Renton Chamber of Commerce and the City of Renton welcomed a delegation from Linyi of Shandong province, China, headed Mayor Lian Chengmin. Taylor, who previously had spent three years in China, was interested in exploring opportunities for mutual economic development between Renton and Linyi. His interest was shared by both sides. Mayor Lian met with then Mayor Kathy Keolker and invited her to visit Linyi. In her March 2007 State of the City address, Keolker announced that Renton was exploring a sister city relationship with Linyi. In November that year, Mayor Keolker, together with Bill Taylor and other representatives from the Renton Chamber of Commerce, visited Linyi and signed the friendship city agreement with Mayor Zhang Shaojun. Since then, the Chamber has organized several trips to China and exchanges have taken place in the fields of vocational education, commerce, logistics, etc. Most recently, in May 2013, a healthcare delegation from Linyi visited Renton. Besides meeting with Mayor Denis Law and Lynn Wallace, then President and CEO for the Renton Chamber, the group visited regional and local hospitals as well as Renton Technical College and their Allied Medical Training programs. For more info, contact City of Renton here.

DuPont-Qionghai Sister Cities (杜邦-琼海友好城市) - (Established: 2010)

DuPont and Qionghai headlineIn November 2006, DuPont Mayor Steve Young and a group visited Qionghai, of Hainan province, China. With the desire to promote friendly exchanges between the two peoples in business, industries, education and tourism, Mayor Young and Mayor Fu Xuanchao of Qionghai signed a letter of intent and a Memorandum on establishing sister city relations. On June 3, 2010, a delegation from Qionghai came to DuPont. Vice Mayor Zhu Huayou, who headed the delegation, and Mayor Tamara Jenkins put their signatures on the “Agreement on the Establishment of Sister-City Relationship between City of DuPont, Washington, USA and Qionghai City of Hainan, PRC.” For more information, contact City of DuPont here.

Auburn-Guanghan Sister Cities (奥本-广汉友好城市) - (Established: 2013)

Auburn and Guanghan headlineAs the newest pair of sisters, Auburn and the City of Guanghan of Sichuan province began friendly exchanges in November 2009. In March 2010, China Civil Aviation School in Guanghan and the Green River Community College signed a memorandum of friendship school relations. By November 2011, the two cities had signed a letter of intent on establishing friendship relations. In early May 2012, Mayor Pete Lewis and an Auburn delegation visited Guanghan. On June 4, 2013, Deputy Mayor Li Yubo led a Guanghan delegation to Auburn and signed the friendship city agreement with Mayor Pete Lewis. In 2014 Auburn High School and Guanghan High School became sister schools. Teacher and student exchanges are now in the planning stages. For more information, visit City of Auburn website here.

Tacoma-Wuhan Friendship Exchange Cities(塔科马-武汉友好交流城市) - (Established: 2016)

Wuhan and Tacoma headlineOn April 5th, 2016, Mayor Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, along with her delegation, visited Wuhan, China and signed with Mayor Wan Yong of Wuhan the agreement to establish a friendly exchange city relationship between the two cities. The formal recognition of the bilateral relationship followed a number of earlier business and educational exchanges between Tacoma and Wuhan. One prominent business project is the development a mixed-use town center in Tacoma proposed in 2015 by Boshengshiji of Wuhan. Education exchanges have seen Tacoma schools hosting students from Wuhan in 2015 and 2016. It was Luo Xunkun, CEO of Boshengshiji, who invited Mayor Strickland to Wuhan. For more information, visit City of Tacoma Sister Cities program here.