I. Introduction to Seattle
“Seattle” was named after the chief of the most famous Indian tribe in the region. Founded in 1869, the city has a population of 590,000 and an area of 217 square kilometers. Located at Puget Sound, Washington, it is 182 kilometers from the United States-Canada border.
Seattle was expanded in the 1790s due to the gold rush in Alaska. After World War II, the city developed rapidly with excellent natural conditions. Seattle is now the center of Washington’s fishing and timber processing, high-tech manufacturing and health care, the financial, service, educational, tourism, and cultural center of the western U.S., the trade center of the U.S. Pacific region, as well as the collection distribution center for U.S. trade to the Far East. Seattle is becoming a center for computer high technology, biotechnology, electronics, and environmental engineering in Washington. The city owns 2,200 computer development companies, including Microsoft Corporation. Boeing is the largest employer in the region. There are 115 biotechnology engineering companies, with an average annual output value of two billion U.S. dollars.
In terms of convenient transportation, Seattle possesses two railways crossing the country, two expressways leading to North America without traffic lights, 35 domestic airlines, and 10 foreign airlines. Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, one of the five best airports in the United States, boasts 41 routes, including 15 international ones. Seattle embraces 23 commercial sea terminals and eight container terminals. As the 5th largest container port in the country, it ranks 6th in the world in container throughput.
It is also recognized as the city with the highest-quality life in the United States. With broad green space, it serves as a traditional conference and tourism center. Seattle is also the dramatic art center in the region, with 80 related companies. The Seattle Symphony is considered one of the best symphony orchestras in the country.
In June 1983, Chongqing formed sister city relations with Seattle.
II. Introduction to Chongqing-Seattle Exchanges
1. Important Mutual Visits
In February 2012, Chen Heping, then Secretary-General of Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, led a delegation to Seattle to visit Michael McGinn, then-Mayor of Seattle and held in-depth talks with local political and business personages on promoting friendly exchanges and business project cooperation between the two cities. In October 2012, He Shizhong, then Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC Chongqing Municipal Committee, visited Darryl Smith, then Deputy Mayor of Seattle, and issued the honor certificate of the “Award for Exchange and Cooperation of Friendly City with China” to Seattle on behalf of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. In September 2015, former Mayor Huang Qifan led a delegation to Seattle, the United States, and attended the 3rd China-U.S. Governors Forum. Huang met with Ed Murray, then-Mayor of Seattle, as well as heads of many well-known IT enterprises such as Apple Inc., HP, and Cisco to discuss cooperative development. In March 2012, Michael McGinn, then-Mayor of Seattle, led a delegation of 54 members to Chongqing. They visited former Mayor Huang Qifan and attended the Seattle Week series of activities held in Chongqing.
2. Economy and Technology
In 2009, the Robbins Company from Seattle was the winning bidder of facility bidding for the construction of Chongqing Rail Transit Line 6 (CRT Line 6). The company later provided two tunnel boring machines which were functioning well, making it a successful case of cooperation between sister cities in recent years. At present, the factory of a sole proprietorship has been set up by the company in Yongchuan District, Chongqing.
Microsoft, the company situated in Seattle, has its headquarters in Beijing and set a Chongqing office in 2005. In 2013, Chongqing Municipal People’s Government signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Microsoft to build the Global Delivery Center. According to the agreement, the Global Delivery Center would be invested and set up in Chongqing Economic and Technological Development Zone by Microsoft. It is also the second Global Delivery Center after the first one which was set up in India. Meanwhile, the total amount of services undertaken by Microsoft was more than USD 200 million and it also had 500 employees after three years of its establishment. The successful introduction of this investment project indicates that Chongqing has basically set up a benign ecosystem for the Microsoft service outsourcing industry. Moreover, the complete industrial chain of “Talents+Service+Operation+Delivery” is also achieved. In 2015, the activity aiming at jointly promoting the development of the Internet industry was carried out by Chongqing Municipal People’s Government and Microsoft. Chongqing has comprehensive cooperation with Microsoft in the Internet industry, including establishing the Chongqing-Microsoft Internet Research and Industrial Base and promoting the “Bending Mind to Studies” program.
3. Educational Cooperation
In March 2012, Chongqing Municipal Education Commission signed the memorandum of cooperation with Seattle to strengthen exchanges between students in the two cities. In July 2012, a group of 20 middle school students and five teachers from Seattle came to Chongqing for a two-week cultural exchange activity.
In 2010, the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission together with the University of Washington and school districts in Seattle set up a Confucius Institute in Washington, USA. Meanwhile, Chongqing Nankai Middle School, Chongqing No.8 Secondary School, and Chongqing Renmin Primary School also cooperated with three primary and middle schools in Seattle to set up three Confucius Institutes.
Chongqing Nankai Middle School and Desales High School became friendly schools and since 2002, a one-month exchange activity would be carried out between students and teachers from both sides every year. In January 2013, the women’s basketball team from Chongqing Nankai Middle School visited Seattle and had a friendly match with the basketball team from Desales High School.
Southwest University has cooperated with the University of Washington in Seattle to jointly construct a Sino-American Southwest University International Joint Research Center for Drug Activity Evaluation. In 2016, Chongqing Medical University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, and the University of Washington conducted a joint research project, focusing on medical care for the aged. Researchers from China and the US have visited each other many times and the project is processing smoothly.
4. Cultural Exchange
The Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing and Burke Museum in Seattle have become friendly museums to cooperate with each other in the discovery and protection of the Three Gorge relics. In 2007, Chongqing Library and Seattle Public Library, SPL conducted a book exchanging activity. In 2012, during the visit to the US, He Shizhong, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Chongqing Municipal Committee, donated books related to the culture and history of Chongqing to the Seattle Public Library, SPL. In the years 2003 and 2008, Chongqing TV Station came to Seattle for interviewing and shoot the special edition of sister cities in Seattle. In April 2009, two journalists from Seattle also went to Chongqing to take a documentary about Chongqing.
In September 2015, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US, Chongqing art troupes paid a visit to Seattle and San Francisco. The performance and display given by the troupes in the Confucius Institute in Washington attracted thousands of visitors for viewing and experiencing. The performance at Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College was greatly welcomed.
5. Other Cooperation
To commemorate Chinese former president Hu Jintao’s successful visit to Seattle in 2006 and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of sister-city relations between Chongqing and Seattle, Chongqing donated the Knowing the Spring Courtyard with the project cost reaching 3.53 million yuan to Seattle. Since the project broke ground, Yu Yuanmu, former Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress, Gary F Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China, and Brad Owen, former Lieutenant Governor of Washington, had paid an inspection visit to the construction site. In May 2011, the project was completed and handed over, and Ling Yueming, former Vice Mayor of Chongqing, attended the opening ceremony.
In March 2012, Chongqing and Seattle jointly held the Green and Low-Carbon Building Technology Forum in Chongqing at which experts and scholars of the two cities had in-depth exchanges on policies, technologies and typical cases about green and low-carbon building. Wu Gang, former Vice Mayor of Chongqing, and Michael McGinn, former Mayor of Seattle, attended and addressed the forum. Chongqing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and Seattle City Government signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in Green and Low-carbon Building Field.
6. Anti-pandemic Cooperation
After the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, in March 2020, Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle, sent a letter of sympathy to Tang Liangzhi, Mayor of Chongqing, and Mayor Tang Liangzhi sent a letter of reply to express appreciation. As the virus raged across the United States, Chongqing Municipal People’s Government donated a batch of medical supplies to Seattle to support its anti-pandemic efforts, including 16,808 N95 medical face masks and 5,584 medical isolation gowns. Mayor Jenny Durkan sent a letter of thanks to Mayor Tang Liangzhi.