Leaders of Alhambra and its new "friendship city," Rizhao, recently had a television exchange that aimed to introduce the history, culture and landscape of both cities to a Chinese audience. During an episode last month of the Chinese talk show "City One to One," Alhambra Councilman Stephen Sham; the general manager of Pacific Alternative Energy, and a USC professor of material science and electrical engineering spoke with representatives of Rizhao through satellite transmission and simultaneous interpretation.
Alhambra and Rhihao, which have similar size and climate, became one of the 161 pairs of sister cities between China and the United States in Sep 21, 2009. Since then city officials and delegations from both sides have paid multiple visits to each other to foster mutual learning. During the Pasadena Rose Parade of 2011, Alhambra and Rizhao co-produced a float that highlighted their international friendship.
"By developing friendship with other cities, I encourage people in Alhambra to go outside of the city and the country to learn about other cultures and see what's going on in the world," Sham, who has visited Rhizao twice since September 2009, said in a phone interview.
Rizhao is a coastal town in the Shangdong province of China, the name of which literally means "where the sun shines" in Chinese. The city is known for its beautiful landscape, clean-energy technology, green tea production and local art forms which depict the life of farmers and fishermen in China's rural regions. Last year, the United Nations Habitat program recognized Rizhao as a leading city in well-executed urban planning for improving the economy while emphasizing clean energy and vigorously promoting the use of solar, methane and wind power.
“City One to One” is China Central TV Station’s only talk show that discusses city lifestyle topics. Each 45-minute episode presents the achievements that Chinese cities have made in international communication and cooperation by featuring interviews with city officials, experts and scholars, and local representatives.
Guests representing Rizhao included Zhao Xiaowei, Mayor of Rizhao city; Ruan Fengshi, archaeologist from Shan Dong University; Wei Benhe, local painter; Ronald, an English teacher in Rizhao Institute of Professional Technology; and Mr. Zhai Mo, esteemed marine navigator.
Rizhao's local painter Wei talked about the city's unique farmer's painting which had been exhibited in Alhambra last year. The USC professor discussed differences between the US and Chinese education systems and methods. At the end of the show, Alhambra Councilman Sham and Rizhao Mayor Zhao Xiaowei exchanged gifts. Sham presented pictures of the 2011 New Year Pasadena Rose Parade in which both cities participated. Rizhao Mayor Zhao Xiaowei presented Alhambra with a Chinese calligraphy work with a poem he composed:" the sun shines the east, the star flashes the opposite, the pacific wave connects friendly cities; the water may go low or dry; but the mountain stays green forever" (translated from Chinese).