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A Chinese Garden in a Sister City

Updated: 2015-06-19 11:31
By Chang Jun in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

A Chinese diplomat gets reminded of home in the heart of a bustling American metropolis

For Luo Linquan, Consul-General at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, his one-day trip on June 12 to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon, was like a memory-refreshing homecoming.

"Today we are celebrating the 27th anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Suzhou and Portland, and the 15th anniversary of the Lan Su Chinese Garden," said Luo at a welcoming banquet in his honor hosted by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. "I thank people from all walks of life in Portland for their continuous efforts at strengthening our friendship."

Arranged around a central pond, the walled 40,000-square-foot garden features an extensive plant collection arranged in harmony with stone structures, ponds, walking paths and traditional Chinese pavilions, towers, corridors and bridges.

Regarded as an oasis of urban tranquility and an escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland, Lan Su Garden is the product of a collaboration between Portland and Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and has embodied the spirit of their Sister Cities relationship since 1988.

Boasting elegant and delicate gardens dating back 1,000 years, Suzhou has been designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage site.

In 1999, the Suzhou city government decided to give a garden to Portland as a gift - an act of generosity that took hundreds of artists and craftsmen working around the clock 14 months to design, construct and ship piece by piece from Suzhou to Portland, and install.

Strolling around what he calls the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China, Luo said he was emotionally attached to Lan Su Chinese Garden the same way he was to the gardens of his hometown of Suzhou.

"This garden symbolizes the profound beauty of Chinese culture by welding architecture to the natural environment in a perfect way," said Luo. "It serves as a witness to the friendship and fruitful cultural exchanges between our two cities."

About 20 million tourists have visited the Lansu Chinese Garden in the past 15 years, said the garden management. Both cities believe they should work more closely in order to push forward cooperation in such fields as green technology and tourism.

There, said Luo, "the potential is huge."


 A Chinese Garden in a Sister City

Luo Linquan, consul general at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, makes a toast at a banquet in his honor on June 12 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the 27th anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Suzhou, China, and Portland, Oregon. Joining him are Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife.



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