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Cablegate: Guangzhou Begins Asian Games Campaign to Promote Its

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RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0642/01 3240517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200517Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1109
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0346
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0885
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0277
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0278
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0287
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0012
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0326
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0322

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000642

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM AND INR/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI PREL ETRD PGOV SENV CH XA
SUBJECT: Guangzhou Begins Asian Games Campaign to Promote Its
International Image

GUANGZHOU 00000642 001.2 OF 002


(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly. Not for release outside U.S. government channels. Not
for internet publication.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Guangzhou held its one-year countdown
celebration for the November 2010 16th Asian Games, kicking off an
effort to use the Games to advance its image as a modern,
cosmopolitan city and a worthy destination for tourists and foreign
investment. The countdown ceremony capitalized on the 2009 United
Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council Meeting in
Guangzhou to further raise the international profile of the event.
Over 5,000 international and local participants attended the
November 12 multi-media extravaganza. Already an economic
powerhouse, Guangzhou hopes the Asian Games will give the city the
international recognition commensurate with its status as a global
trade and manufacturing center, doing for Guangzhou on a smaller
scale what the Olympics did for Beijing. Post plans (see final
para) to capitalize on the Asian Games to capture goodwill and
promote U.S. trade and investment opportunities. END SUMMARY.

Kicking Off a Big Year for Guangzhou
------------------------------------

2.(SBU) Over 5,000 people, including representatives from each of
the 45 participating National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and many
UCLG participants, attended the official November 12 countdown
celebration for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, which was widely
covered by the region's media. The 16th Asian Games set for
November 12-27, 2010, will bring together teams from 45 countries,
around 12,000 athletes and tens of thousands of guests and
spectators. Guangdong Party Secretary Wang Yang and Sheikh Ahmad
Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait and President of
the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), jointly launched the November 12
countdown ceremony. The program performances featured top
Guangzhou-based artists, as well as those from different regions of
Asia, and sought to amplify the theme of harmony, Asian diversity,
and goodwill.

Foreign Local Officials Add International Luster
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. (SBU) The city also took advantage of concurrent United Cities
and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council Meetings, co-hosted by
Guangdong and Guangzhou to further raise the profile of the Asian
Games. Guangdong and Guangzhou's senior officials, Beijing
luminaries, and 600 international delegates attended the UCLG's
series of conferences, speeches, banquets, and ceremonies November
12-14. Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua invited participants to
attend the Asian Games and noted that over the past 30 years,
Guangdong had "tied knots" with 88 provinces and cities from 37
countries, hosted more than 1,300 groups totaling over 30,000 people
and sent 800 delegations abroad. Highlighting the province's
remarkable economic performance over the last 30 years, Huang
pointed out its strength in the global economy as the 11th largest
world trader if taken as an independent economy. The United States
was represented by state aQ local delegations led by Hawaii
Governor Linda Lingle and San Francisco City Administrator Edwin
Lee, as well as the Consul General. The Consul General met
separately with Governor Lingle to discuss trade and investment
opportunities for Hawaiian firms in south China and ways to further
promote Hawaii as a destination for Guangdong tourists.

Importance to Guangzhou: We Don't Get No Respect
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (SBU) Guangdong and Guangzhou officials see the Asian Games as a
critical part of a long-term strategy to raise the profile of the
city as an international center and tourism destination. Officials
in South China often complain that it is overlooked by international
visitors and delegations who favor Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Hong
Kong. Citizens and officials alike view the Asian Games as an
opportunity to display its strength and vibrancy on an international
stage -- to put Guangzhou on the map and gain the world's attention.


5. (SBU) The city has already invested US$1.7 billion to construct
the Asian Games Town -- a village that will house the athletes and
media and which incorporates extensive green technology -- along

GUANGZHOU 00000642 002.2 OF 002


with infrastructure projects city-wide to improve the city's
accessibility and living standards. Many buildings are currently
swathed in construction scaffolding; fresh paint and road repairs
abound as the city gets a face lift in preparation for the games.
Guangzhou's 14 million residents will also benefit from the
construction of what will become Asia's largest train station, new
metro lines, significant renovation of roads, and new IT
infrastructure allowing free Internet access city-wide. In
addition, Guangzhou hopes to benefit from environmental clean-up
efforts, China's largest vacuum system garbage collection that is
under construction and the radical improvement of public English
signs. The Games will also stimulate and strengthen local business
and international trade ties. However, given the global economic
crisis, Guangzhou's government has made fiscal responsibility a
priority and wants to distance itself, albeit respectfully, from the
"expensive" Beijing Olympics.

U.S. Interests and CG Guangzhou Asian Games Action Plan
--------------------------------------------- ----------

6. (SBU) The high priority provincial and city officials place on
the success of the Asian Games and the high level of attention we
expect from the public across south China make this a unique
opportunity to advance U.S. interests here. Post plans to leverage
local public, press and government interest by demonstrating U.S.
public support through a series of public diplomacy and media
programs that we believe will be warmly received and help improve
the United States' image in south China. Post has developed a
year-long public diplomacy plan to demonstrate its support and
encourage volunteerism. For example, Consulate Guangzhou plans to
hold a month-long Weekly Forum series of presentations at local
universities on U.S. sports culture and the Asian Games. The CG
plans to host a reception for visiting American coaches and local
counterparts in the run-up to the Games. Consulate Guangzhou and
American community volunteers will support events and make goodwill
gifts for the Games. Post has already enjoyed favorable press
coverage from the Ambassador's inclusion of the Asian Games in his
remarks during his recent visit. We believe public U.S. support for
the Asian Games will strengthen relations with local and provincial
governments as well as encourage greater mutual exchange and
international understanding. U.S. firms are also pursuing trade and
investment opportunities, including opportunities to participate in
high-tech green projects.

GOLDBECK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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