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Cablegate: Media Frenzy As Ambassador Revisits Adoption Site

VZCZCXRO0178
RR RUEHCN RUEHVC
DE RUEHGH #0472 3420818
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080818Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8404
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 9067

UNCLAS SHANGHAI 000472

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO CH CASC SOCI CPAS CVIS
SUBJECT: MEDIA FRENZY AS AMBASSADOR REVISITS ADOPTION SITE

1. U.S.-China relations received an emotional boost December 3
as Ambassador Huntsman and wife Mary Kaye brought their daughter
Gracie Mei to visit the city where they adopted her in 1999.
Yangzhou officials and the Yangzhou Children's Welfare Institute
spared no effort in preparing an ebullient homecoming for the
Yangzhou-born Gracie and her parents. Local and national media
followed suit, with extensive and positive stories highlighting
the ambassador's personal connection to Yangzhou, Jiangsu
Province, and China. End summary

------------------------------
Banner: Welcome Home Yang Leyi
------------------------------

2. The Huntsmans' visit to Yangzhou, a city of 4.5 million on
the north bank of the Yangtze river in Jiangsu province, was
their first since adopting Gracie ten years ago this month.
Yangzhou Party Secretary Ms. Wang Yanwen, calling Gracie by her
Chinese name "Yang Leyi," proclaimed her an ambassador of
Yangzhou. The Ambassador and family arrived at the Welfare
Institute to a drum corps welcome and proceeded immediately to a
tree-planting ceremony, welcome speeches by Yangzhou government
officials including Party Secretary Wang and the Institute's
Director Ms. Liu Aiping, and a tour through a newly-built
facility. The visit concluded with a press conference.

---------------------------------
Yangzhou Catches "Huntsman Fever"
---------------------------------

3. Chinese media at both the national and the regional levels
carried highly positive coverage of the Welfare Institute visit.
In addition to talking about the strength of the bilateral
relationship, the Ambassador noted that taking on his assignment
to China carried additional personal significance. Many stories,
especially by papers based in Jiangsu Province, hailed the visit
as opening a new door for cooperation between the U.S. and
Jiangsu. When asked about U.S.-China relations in the Jiangsu
context, the Ambassador talked about the importance of both
educational exchange and economic cooperation, ending by noting
his own "ties of the heart."

--------------------------------------
Exposure Could Generate More Donations
--------------------------------------

4. Director Liu told Consul General that the Institute had
previously welcomed back children who had been adopted by
non-Chinese families to similar fanfare. The Institute's budget
is largely dependent on government funding as part of the
Yangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau, she explained, but is also
supplemented by private donations. The positive media coverage
generated by high profile visits such as the Ambassador's could
result in increased donations to the Institute.

5. According to its website, the Yangzhou Children's Welfare
Institute was first established in 1968 and moved to its present
location in 1982. Foreign adoptions began in 1989. When asked by
Consulate EconOff whether recent trends pointed to growing
Chinese government preference for domestic families over foreign
families in adoption cases, Liu demurred, stating "our only
concern is that these children are accepted into a loving family
with sufficient resources to raise them."

CAMP

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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