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Cablegate: Guangxi Opens Its Doors, but Does Not Roll Out the Carpet

VZCZCXRO1261
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0635/01 3220950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180950Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1100
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0341
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0878
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0341
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0283
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0274
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0273
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 0001
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0019
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0010
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0250
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0322
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0318

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000635

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, INR/EAP, DRL
BEIJING FOR FCS, FAS, and PAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD KTIP PGOV KIRF SOCI CH VN
SUBJECT: Guangxi Opens Its Doors, But Does Not Roll out the Carpet

GUANGZHOU 00000635 001.2 OF 002


This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Please handle
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: On his initial visit to the Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region, Consul General Goldbeck promoted trade and
investment, advanced the possibility of establishing an American
Corner and learned about Sino-Vietnamese cooperation on trafficking
in persons. He also discussed the plans of Nanning's
state-sanctioned Christian community to build a new church building
and met with International Visitors Program alumni. However, the
Consulate's relationship with the Guangxi provincial-level
Government remains uneven, with topics such as human trafficking and
religious freedom being non-starters. End summary.

Promoting U.S. Trade in Goods and Services
Plus Investment in Both Directions
------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) There are U.S. companies eager to compete for contracts
relating to Nanning's planned light rail project, the Consul General
told Nanning Vice Mayor Huang Huansheng November 5. Huang responded
that the city welcomed any forthcoming bids once the procurement
process starts. The process had not yet begun, however, because the
State Council had yet to issue its final approval. Railroad
officials at the meeting noted that the total planned investment for
Line 1 and Line 2 of the project would total RMB 23 billion (US$3.4
billion).

3. (SBU) In a meeting later that evening with officials from the
Nanning office of the China Council for the Promotion of
International Trade (CCPIT) and CEOs representing a number of
industries, the Consul General explored opportunities to expand U.S.
trade ties with Guangxi. Several businessmen present agreed that
many small and medium-sized companies in Nanning were interested in
diversifying their investments, with U.S. companies viewed as a
favorable option. In what hearkened momentarily to late-night
television advertisements, the businessmen cited two products -- a
vegetable-based hair pigment and an automobile paint that repairs
scratches spontaneously -- as particularly compelling new U.S.
inventions. The CG said the Consulate would look for opportunities
to expand FCS and ATO outreach to the region.

GC Visits Potential American Corner Site
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Cooperation and interaction can be expanded between
Consulate General Guangzhou and the Guangxi Nationalities University
of Foreign Studies (GNU), Vice President Li Zhengang told the Consul
General November 5. The Consul General offered Post's officers for
outreach activities at the university, observing that such events
would be in line with the university's tradition of international
exchange. Addressing Post's desire to establish an American Corner
at the university, the Consul General noted that the more than 60
Confucius Institutes in the United States currently had no
counterpart in China. Li said that he had not previously heard
about the American Corner concept, but the university's Office of
International Cooperation and Exchange Director Feng Guanghuo said
that the university was in the process of translating and studying a
U.S. document outlining common terms for the establishment of
American Corners. Following the meeting, the Consul General and the
Consulate's action officer for Guangxi toured the campus' main
library, a possible location for an American Corner. (Note: As post
understands it, four steps remain: 1) Consulate's action officer
visits GNU library to determine whether appropriate site exists; 2)
if so, PAS Beijing's Regional Information Resource Officer visits
GNU to confirm site's suitability; 3) with Beijing's concurrence,
Consulate and GNU negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding; and 4)
the signed MOU would require provincial-level approval by the
Ministry of Education. End note.)

China-Vietnam Cooperation on TIP "Excellent"
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Vietnam's Consulate General in Nanning continues to have
"excellent" relations with the Guangxi Public Security Bureau (PSB)
and both sides routinely share leads on trafficking in persons (TIP)

GUANGZHOU 00000635 002.2 OF 002


cases, according to Vietnamese Consul General Nguyen Anh Dzung. In
a cordial November 5 meeting, Nguyen told the Consul General that
the number of TIP cases was down since 2008, when China and Vietnam
resolved their border demarcation dispute. He explained that, while
the drop in cases was partially due to bilateral cooperation on TIP,
an apparent decline in the number of Vietnamese seeking work in
China also played a role.

6. (SBU) China's government is encouraging Chinese companies to
invest overseas, said Nguyen, who noted "very obvious" increased
Chinese investment in Vietnam. Nguyen commented that Vietnam's
economic growth was less stable than China's, which enjoys a broader
industrial base. Vietnam supported the late-October China-ASEAN
Expo held in Nanning by sending a Vice Premier as well as the
largest number of exhibits at the expo by any ASEAN member country,
said Nguyen.

Nanning Christians See New Church in their Future
---------------------- --------------------------

7. (SBU) Leaders of Nanning's Zhongshan Road Church for followers of
the state-sponsored Three-Self Church told the Consul General that
their current meeting place is insufficient to hold the large number
of faithful who attend Sunday meetings. The solution proposed by
the government, say the leaders, is to build a new facility --
complete with a planned "Christian square" public area at a
different location. The church has already raised RMB 3 million
(about US$440,000) for the new structure, with a goal of raising one
million more. According to the leaders, most of the money comes
from donations by church members and none of the money originates
from outside China. (More on this visit to follow septel.)

Maintaining Relations with IVP Alumni
-------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Four returnees from the Department's International Visitors
Program told the Consul General that America remains a top
destination for Chinese students to study abroad. Canada and
Australia are also popular destinations, both of which were viewed
as easier countries than the United States in which to remain after
completing one's studies. Interspersed with positive reminiscences
of their time in the United States, the program alumni also
discussed differences in Chinese and American views on the Korean
War, the Vietnam War, international cinema and the State
Department's policy on same-sex couples. They also expressed
surprise that no senior Guangxi provincial officials were available
to meet with the CG.

Some Issues still off the Table
-------------------------------

9. (SBU) Comment: Though this visit to Nanning achieved some clear
successes, there still remains some friction in Post's relationship
with the Guangxi authorities. Requests for meetings with the
Guangxi Public Security Bureau and the Guangxi Religious Affairs
Bureau to discuss TIP and religious freedom, respectively, were
denied. The provincial-level government, too, was unable or
unwilling to receive a courtesy call, offering as an excuse the
absence of the Vice Governor who handles foreign affairs. The
Consulate cancelled a planned media event at an orphanage after the
Guangxi FAO banned the media from attending and sought to prevent
Congenoffs from visiting the orphanage. End comment.

GOLDBECK

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