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Chinese delegates visit Hinesville
Sister city agreement updated, renewed
Vice Mayor JianWu Zhang and Mayor Thomas after signing ceremony
Yichun, China, Vice Mayor JianWu Zhang and Hinesville Mayor Thomas shake hands after an agreement-signing ceremony Monday at Hinesville City Hall. - photo by Photo by Randy C. Murray

Read more about Yichun, China:

JianWu Zhang, delegation leader and vice mayor of Yichun, China, Hinesville’s sister city, signed a new agreement Monday morning with Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas.
The Chinese delegation arrived Saturday then spent the rest of the day and Sunday touring the community while meeting with elected, education and business leaders.
Translator Lily Yang formally introduced members of the delegation to community leaders in the Hinesville Room just prior to the signing ceremony.
The new agreement promotes the continued exchange of education, cultural and economic cooperation between the two cities, Thomas said.
“The purpose of this visit is to deepen the relationship with our sister city,” Thomas explained. “We’ve been visiting each other since 2008. ... On behalf of the city of Hinesville, I want to say ‘thank you’ to our guests.”
According to information provided by Hinesville’s public-relations office, the city of Yichun is different than Hinesville in size, population, education, culture and economy.
Yichun’s 7,220 square miles is about one-eighth the size of Georgia, and its population of 5.5 million is half that of the entire Peach State. Yichun actually is a district made up of three cities and six counties in the Jiangxi province.
According to an industrial-promotion pamphlet presented to business leaders by delegation members, Yichun promotes itself as the National Garden City, People’s Satisfaction City and National Model City of Forest Coverage.
“This kind of engagement is essential to gaining momentum for cooperation,” explained Zhang through translator Shane Keng. “It helps build a broad-based relationship, but not just in one area.”
Following the signing ceremony, the two mayors exchanged hand-crafted gifts. The gift Thomas received was made of hand-carved bamboo. Individual gifts also were exchanged between the delegation and community leaders.
The delegation met again later in the morning with a smaller group of local industry and elected leaders at the Dorchester Village Civic Center, which is just beyond Tradeport East in Midway.
At the center, Hinesville representatives watched two video presentations about Yichun — one that focused mostly on its geography and culture, the other on its numerous industries with particular emphasis on its lithium industry.
Following that presentation, Zhiyong Luo, head of the Association of Asian Center for Lithium Industry, told guests that China holds about one-fourth of the world’s supply of lithium, stating that both the provincial and nation government supports their five-year plan to promote the lithium industry in Yichun.
“Our goal is to become the No. 1 lithium producer in the world,” Luo said through his interpreter, who touted their massive production of lithium batteries and advanced technology in lithium-powered vehicles. “It would be our pleasure next time Mayor Thomas visits our city to let him ride one of our lithium-powered buses.”
The two cities first signed a friendship agreement in April 2008 with a delegation from Hinesville visiting Yichun in November 2008 and another visit in September 2010.
In addition to promoting exchanges in culture, art, education, tourism, sports and trade, the two cities agreed to reciprocate visits at least every two years.

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