With artwork from Chinese artists on display at the UTC Fine Arts Center, university officials and city leaders met with a Chinese diplomat this week to promote friendship and the Sister Cities program.
Duan Jun, first secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., visited Chattanooga on Tuesday and Wednesday. Duan is responsible for coordinating local relations between Chinese and American cities.
"It is about friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation," Duan said. "Sister Cities can really foster and promote a friendship between the peoples, cities and communities. That is what our relations are based on."
UTC Asia program co-director Richard Rice said positive relations with China are very important. While many American companies have vested interests in China, he said, the hope is that some Chinese companies will come to America.
Bob Edwards, of the Chattanooga Sister City Association, said Chattanooga has been a sister city to Wuxi, China, since 1982.
He said relations with China are important as the Asian country gains economic strength. Aware of China's rising importance in the world, several area high schools now offer classes in Mandarin Chinese, he said.
"I think we're waking up to the future China holds," Edwards said.
IF YOU GO
There will be two lectures today in the Focus on China series at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
* At 12:15 p.m., Bob Swansbrough will give a lecture called "Tibet: Modernization or Marginalization?" at the University Center Signal Mountain Room.
* At 5:30 p.m., a lecture on Chinese art will be given by Patricia Karetzky in the Fine Art Center, Room 356.