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Cablegate: Ngos, Education, and Mutual Understanding: Building Civil

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RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGZ #0075/01 0410538
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100538Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1369
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0457
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1122
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0393
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0384
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0383
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0450
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0337
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0061
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC 0138
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0248
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0425
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0421
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC 0123

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000075

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, EAP/PD, EAP/TC, INR/EAP, S/P
STATE PASS USTR AND EXIM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO ECON PGOV ELAB SOCI SCUL PREL OPRC CH
SUBJECT: NGOs, EDUCATION, AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING: BUILDING CIVIL
SOCIETY IN GUILIN AND LIUZHOU

GUANGZHOU 00000075 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: The Consul General's February 1-3 visits to Guilin
and Liuzhou focused on developing civil society through
strengthening NGOs and forming educational partnerships. The CG
visited Guangxi Normal University officials and librarians, as well
as administrators of the Liuzhou Minority High School to discuss our
mutual desire to expand bilateral educational and cultural
exchanges. He separately met with two influential NGOs -- Xingyu
Special Education Center in Luizhou and the Golden Phoenix
Foundation in Guilin -- to learn more about their innovations to
spread educational opportunities to disadvantaged communities. The
CG commended them on their success and underscored that civic
engagement at the grassroots level as one of the most effective
means to produce lasting change. He also visited the Flying Tigers
Heritage Park under construction near Guilin, where the World War
Two-era American Volunteer Group fought battles to defend Guangxi;
he expressed appreciation for local efforts to protect and promote
our common histories. In both Guilin and Liuzhou and despite
bilateral frictions, the local Foreign Affairs Offices demonstrated
a significant willingness to strengthen partnerships and advance
common goals. Liuzhou's active sister city partnership with
Cincinnati is one apparent reason for local receptivity.
Surprisingly, the trip received unprecedented Chinese media coverage
in Guangxi and beyond. End Summary.

Promoting Education and Cooperation
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) The CG's visit to Guangxi Normal University and Liuzhou
Minority High School February 1 and 3, respectively, emphasized the
effectiveness of building bridges through education. Guangxi Normal
University is the second largest university in Guangxi Province and
has over 40,000 students. Vice President Cai Changzhuo, a published
expert on American Studies, stated that the school hopes to become a
premier international institution. Cai expressed excitement about
President Obama's call to have 100,000 American students studying in
China, said Guangxi Normal hopes to house a large number of those
students, and announced they are expanding their international
student center to accommodate more students. Guangxi Normal sends 10
students a year to study in the U.S. The CG emphasized the
importance of these exchanges and welcomed the call for more
outreach between the university and the Consulate. The school also
was enthusiastic to establish an American Corner.

3. (U) During the visit to Liuzhou Minority High School, the CG met
with school administrators to discuss the uniqueness of their
institution and how they are using education to transform their
community. Ethnic minority students comprise 47% of the school's
population. The curriculum is mainstreamed but includes several
bilingual and a few minority-focused courses. The high school
asserts its university entrance rate is 94%. For half a century the
school educated only women; in 2007, males were admitted. The
school's outreach programs still address the unique challenges that
some students, particularly young women, must face. For example, one
minority group has a custom that women drop out of school and marry
at the age of 16. The school has launched a fairly successful public
outreach campaign to persuade these women to finish high school and
possibly pursue higher education. Today 600 students apply each year
to enter the school and are able to pay educational costs with a
mixture of government funding and outside donations. One of the key
contributors to this donation effort is the Cincinnati Chamber of
Commerce, since Cincinnati and Liuzhou are sister cities. Each year
Cincinnati also sends 10 student volunteers to teach oral English
during the summer. The CG commended their efforts and strong Sister
City relationship, stating that he looked forward to strengthening
cooperation.

Bottom Up: NGOs Build Civil Society in Guangxi...
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU)The CG commended Xingyu Special Education Center Chairwoman
Peng Nianxiu for her groundbreaking work helping children and
families affected by autism. Xingyu (literally "language of the
stars," might connote "Special Stars") was established in August
2004 to help children diagnosed with autism and their families.
Chairwoman Peng was inspired to found the center when her own son

GUANGZHOU 00000075 002.2 OF 002


was diagnosed with autism, stating it took nearly six years for her
son to be properly diagnosed and even then resources were scarce.
Xingyu is the first autism-intervention service in Liuzhou: in
total, nearly 60,000 inhabitants of Guangxi Province are affected by
autism. The center faces many challenges, such as sufficient
financial resources as well as a stable and qualified staff. The
center will soon relocate to a new government-sponsored
rehabilitation center--proving it positively affected public opinion
and won government support for its service.

...and Guilin
-----------

5. (U) The Golden Phoenix Foundation in Guilin is another example of
how local engagement can bring about effective change. Golden
Phoenix founder Luo Ping said his mother, a teacher in a rural
village, inspired him to start a program to encourage young, rural
women to pursue higher education. Golden Phoenix strives to
transform the lives of young women by exposing them to a broader
world, focusing not only on education, but also civic engagement and
volunteerism. Stable funding is a chronic issue for this small and
new NGO, but they work with local government and international
organizations to keep the organization active. The CG agreed to
investigate ways in which the Consulate can partner with Golden
Phoenix to provide more outreach and programming to their students.


Flying Tigers: Fight for Freedom a Common Cause
-------------------------- -----------------------

6. (SBU) The CG visited the construction site of the future Flying
Tigers Heritage Park to be built on a site where the Second World
War-era American Volunteer Group fought battles to defend Guangxi.
There he also met with local representatives to discuss the history
behind the location and plans to build a proper memorial to honor
the service of the Chinese and American heroes who served. On his
visit, the CG focused on the history the U.S. and China share and
how this common history can help China and the U.S. increase mutual
understanding and address shared goals today. CG Goldbeck applauded
efforts to protect Flying Tigers' history, noting the sacrifices of
both our nations to preserve freedom. The project is set to be
completed in two years.

Media Reaction Exceeds Expectations
------------------------------------

7. (SBU) The CG's trip to Guilin and Liuzhou garnered the most media
coverage in recent memory of any Consulate Guangzhou programming
outside of Guangzhou city. To date, 106 articles have been published
and estimated readership/audience is about 700 million. Most
coverage focused on the CG's visit to and remarks about the Flying
Tigers Heritage Park, as well as IPR cooperation (reported septel).


Comment: A Positive and Continuing
Partnership in Guangxi
------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Comment: The CG's trips to Guilin and Liuzhou apparently
touched a chord with local audiences despite recent frictions over
arms sales, the Dalai Lama, etc. Part of the success could also be
attributed to positive comments regarding local IPR cooperation and
to local receptivity to American tourism in Guilin (reported
septel), in addition to building upon broader existing positive
people-to-people connections. Guangxi is relatively poor and less
frequently visited, two factors which perhaps add to its
receptiveness. Contrary to the typical hesitancy frequently
encountered at other institutions, the Guangxi University's
administration immediately expressed interest in an American Corner
and openly acknowledged that the only obstacle to an American Corner
would be provincial-level resistance. End Comment.
GOLDBECK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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