Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pittsburgh Resident Meets Chinese Premier on Train – Blog Posting Makes Him Chinese Media Sensation

By Thomas Buell, Jr.
GlobalPittsburghNEWS

On the eve of major U.S.-China diplomatic talks in Beijing, Pittsburgh-area resident Andrew Hang Chen recently found himself face to face with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao chatting about politics and foreign policy, and his blog posting about the event became a news sensation in China and among the global Chinese community.

Chen, who was back in his native country on business, ended up sitting next to Wen on a passenger train from Beijing to Tianjin, where Wen was scheduled to speak at an economic forum on May 13, 2010. After writing about the meeting – during which the men talked for about 20 minutes on topics ranging from the world economy to farming conditions – on his Chinese-language blog, Chen found himself swamped with attention.

Chen's posting caught the attention of a public thirsty for information about their government, and within 48 hours it had been read more than 2.5 million times and Chen was featured on some of China’s largest internet news outlets, including Sina, Tencent, Soufun, Netease, and reprinted by several other publications including Tianjin Daily and Changjiang Daily.

More than 20,000 readers posted responses to the articles, with many simply writing to express good wishes to Premier Wen. One reader even created a video clip based on the article and pictures, posted on Tudou Net, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.

Two days after the blog posting, Phoenix TV, one of the most influential TV station in the worldwide Chinese community, featured Chen’s blog on its "Reading Newspaper Everyday" program. The posting was described as the first blog article to be fully reprinted in Chinese government-controlled mainstream newspapers.

Chen said he had the impression that Wen, who is seen as one of the most accessible leaders in the Communist Party, felt it was important to meet with regular citizens and let them know his honest feelings.

"I told the Premier, 'I live in America,'" Chen wrote in his blog. "'Seeing the economy of my home country in fast and steady growth, I'm very proud to be a Chinese person living overseas. I'm willing to improve the business communication and understanding between China and the United States. The fast growth of Chinese economy is a big challenge. It demonstrates the diligence and wisdom of the Chinese people.'

"The Premier said, 'Yes, the American President said he was under pressure with 6 million unemployed. However, there are 150 million migrant workers in China, and we need to have job placement for 200 million people. The progress of China needs double efforts of all of us.'"

"The Premier said, 'There are some reports about Chinese industry protection against foreign companies lately. As long as the foreign companies setup and register in China, follow the Chinese law, they can get equal growth in China. No matter if the project is for the government or in the private sector, they have equal opportunities. As overseas Chinese, you should improve communication with the mainstream community.'

"I said 'Yes, indeed. One seminar organized by the Bar Association of the Allegheny County invited me as panelist at the end of May, regarding Google's exit from China and Chinese intellectual property. I will deliver your message to the mainstream media in America.'"

Chen, who said the meeting was totally coincidental despite suggestions in China that the event had been staged, said Premier Wen was very friendly and signed autographs and shook hands with many passengers.

"The train was finally approaching the destination," he wrote in the blog. "The Premier stood up, all the passengers also stood up and clapped hands. Premier Wen was as nice as an old teacher. This made me forget this was the Premier managing a country of over one billion people."

Chen came to the United States from Beijing in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2005. He is president of Foreopen LLC, and president of American Chinese Business Associates, which provides business consulting services for companies in the United States and China. The purpose of his trip to China was to expand direct air cargo routes between Pittsburgh and China. Chen also works with GlobalPittsburgh, a non-profit organization, to attract university students to the Pittsburgh area. He can be reached at chen@amcba.com or by calling 412-805-1868.


----------------------------------------
Below is a direct translation of Chen's blog posting, which can be found (in Chinese) at:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5e164d360100ih5d.html

Coincidence Prime Minister Wen

On the train to Tianjin from Beijing today, I met Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Prime Minister, and he sits right across from me.

The train took off from Beijing South Railway Station at 2:30pm on May 13, 2010. I went to Tianjin to meet one large Chinese airline, to get direct air cargo flight to Pittsburgh International Airport. On the train platform, there are a lot of security guards, there are a few cars that were restricted from passengers to walk by. Apparently there are some important figures on the train. The passengers next to me complained that the ticket purchasing was not convenient because of the security. In China, the difference between government officials and general public. However, nobody knows who the “big figure” is.

A few minutes after the train started, a group of people walk from the car next to us. The guy sit across from me said, “It seems like the Minister of Railroad is there.” As the group approaching us through the passengers, I realized it was the Premier Wen Jiabao that was in the middle.

All the passengers are very excited when they see the Premier. The Premier shakes hands with everyone around him. In no time, he came to me, I shake hands with Premier Wen, his hand was firm and friendly.

The Premier dressed very simple, with a grey jacket, his face is kindly, cordial and dignified. He is almost 70, and he has very good spirit, quick thinking, and willing to listen.

The Premier shook hands and talked to surrounding passengers. When he saw there is a seat empty in front of me, he said, “let me sit here.” He sits right there with 3 passengers surrounding one small table. I cannot believe it was the Premier sitting right in front of me!

One Muslim old migrant worker from Xinjiang Province came and greet the Premier. The Premier asked, why don't you work in your home town, and choose to come to Tianjin? The worker said, When it is not busy at the farm, I come out to work. I come to Tianjin for a construction project. It is part of the “Sending Water from South to the North” project. This is the second time he come to Tianjin.

I told the Premier, I live in America. Seeing the economy of my home country in fast and steady growth, I'm very proud as oversea Chinese. As the president of American Chinese Business Associate, I'm willing to improve the business communication and understanding between China and the United States. The fast growth of Chinese economy, is a big challenge. It demonstrates the diligence and wisdom of the Chinese people.

The Premier said, “Yes. The American President said he was under pressure with 6 million unemployed. However, there are 150 million migrant workers in China, and we need to have job placement for 200 million people. The progress of China needs double efforts of all of us.

The Premier said, there are some reports about Chinese industry protection against foreign companies lately. As long as the foreign companies setup and register in China, follow the Chinese law, they can get equal growth in China. No matter the project is for the government or in the private sector, they have equal opportunities. As oversea Chinese, you should improve communication with the mainstream community. I said: “Yes, indeed. One seminar organized by the Bar Association of the Allegheny County invited me as panelist at the end of May, regarding Google's exit from China and Chinese intellectual property. I will deliver your message to the mainstream media in America.

The Premier looked out of the window. There are farm lands passing by, with farmers working. The Premier said, “The world climate was abnormal last year, the winter is cold and long. The crops need to be taken good care of this Spring, with well fertilizing, and cultivating the seeds, then the harvest can still be secured."

The Premier said, “there will be another round of heavy rain in the Southeast.” When he said that, the Premier looked straight outside, with gloomy face. It reminded me one picture of the Premier visiting the drought cracking land in Yunnan. He was squatting by the cracking landing, and it was the same gloomy face.

The captain of the train, alumni of the Premier, college sophomore of Beijing Normal University, all stopped by to greet the Premier. The Premier has quick thinking. He was familiar with all different industries.

One passenger sit next to me asked for autograph from the Premier. The Premier laughed as said, “Let's not doing autograph and talk more. It will take half an hour if the autograph get started.” The passengers all value the time to talk to the Premier, and stopped requesting.

As the train is close to the destination, one passenger from the far side squeezed by, and requested for autograph, and the Premier granted the request. The passenger was too excited, and could not find a piece of paper. He passed his train ticket. The Premier laughed, and said, “That's not too good, let's find a piece of white paper.” The Premier took over the paper, and write down his name seriously: Wen Jia Bao. Each character was written very slow and very seriously.

The train was finally approaching the destination. The Premier stood up, all the passengers also stood up and clapped hands.

The Premier Wen was nice just as an old teacher. This made me forget this was the Premier managing a country of over one billion people. The Premier is really people first.

Later on, I finally realized, I wrote one letter to the Prime Minster Wen from America in last April. It as a letter regarding the real estate of China, and I expressed some of my opinions about Chinese real estate strategies. When I met the Premier, I just forgot about that. As a matter of fact, that letter was for the decision makers of Chinese real estate industry, and I wonder if the Premier Wen read that or not. As I met the Premier today, he sit across from me, listen carefully, talking quietly, as if he is an old friend.

With such close distance conversation to the Chinese Premier Wen, it was really one coincidence, and I was so lucky. I full-hearty wish the people-first Premier Wen good health, and my home country great prosperity.

4 comments:

  1. 「不可能」這個字詞,在聰明人的字典中是找不到的。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  2. 無一事而不學,無一時而不學,無一處而不學。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great opportunity you had and its great to see that you had it. I only wish more people had that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks bro for this information, visit too in my blog, please :)

    ReplyDelete