Consul General celebrates Nixon's China anniversary


The Consul General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco has a big job in this key post. He oversees China's relations in California and four other western states.

Chinese Consul General Gao Zhansheng says China and America have come a long way since the historic visit by former President Richard Nixon 40 years ago

"Forty years ago, our bilateral trade was negligible," he said. "Nowadays, China, America are becoming each other's second largest trading partner."

The U.S. census on foreign trade shows China is right behind Canada as a multibillion dollar trading partner with America.

President Nixon's visit to China was the key that unlocked a door to a secretive country. His trip changed the course of history for the global political landscape. Consul General Gao was a first year college student in China at the time.

"It was totally a great shock," he said. "The president of our enemy will visit China."

The consul general says that new friendship helped begin rapid development in a country emerging from thousands of years of feudalism. There are now wealthy capitalists in the communist country and America is on their radar.

A new report says there is a growing interest in luxury services like travel.

"China's people are getting rich; they have more money in their pocket," Consul General Gao said. "I'm expecting an explosion of Chinese tourists coming to America."

San Francisco is a destination for many of those tourists. Consul Gao says it feels like home to him.

"About 200,000 Chinese or Chinese Americans, that is about one-fourth of the total population," he said. "We have here, American Chinese mayor, American Chinese president of board of supervisors."

There is more people to people contact than ever before, between China and America.

"Last year, about 3.3 million visits were made between China and America," Consul General Gao said.

The door President Nixon gently pushed opened 40 years ago, is now revolving frequently. China's President Hu Jintao visited with President Obama in Washington this year, talking about hot topics, including national security, human rights and, of course, trade.

Xi Jing Ping, China's vice president, is in line to become China's next president. He also met with President Obama this year.

"China and America, our two great nations and peoples, have achieved a lot, in the past 40 years," Consul Gao said. "I do believe, that by joining our hands, more closely, we can achieve much more than we can imagine, in the years to come."

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.