Local Student Recommends Travel to Kansas City’s Sister City - Xi'an

Mulan Jiang, a local student, visited Xi’an in 2018 as part of the Kansas City Chinese American Association (KCCAA) Youth Hope Fund and recommends travel to Kansas City’s Sister City.

Every year, colorful dragon boats race down Brush Creek as hundreds gather in the Plaza to celebrate the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. In 1989, Kansas City became sister cities with Xi’an, China, leading to various cultural exchanges like the Dragon Boat Festival and the presence of Terracotta Warriors standing guard at the bridge in the Plaza. While traveling from Kansas City to Xi’an can take almost an entire day, a visit to our sister city is a truly unique and meaningful cultural experience. Xi’an is a city of contrast: traditional Chinese buildings with slanted tile roofs and red lanterns sit opposite of modern glass skyscrapers; over the ancient City Wall, a collection of drones lights up the night sky; and a KFC rests next to a small shop selling Rou Jia Mo, a “Chinese hamburger”.

While Xi’an may be less famous than Beijing or Shanghai, it offers a special blend of classic culture and industrial city. Stay in luxurious hotels like the Da Tang Xi Shi hotel, located right next to the beginning of the Silk Road, which was an ancient trade route between Europe and Asia. From there, you can easily access any number of delicious restaurants and shopping centers. Though it has many modern malls and shopping districts, Xi’an is primarily known for its culture. The most famous attraction that immediately comes to mind is, of course, the Terracotta Warriors, an army of thousands of clay soldiers that were created to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife. Considered one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors, or “Bing Ma Yong” in Chinese, are a magnificent and awe-inspiring sight to behold.

After spending half a day with the Terracotta Warriors, visit the Big and Little Wild Goose Pagodas, two ancient pagodas that housed Buddhist artifacts. Xuanzang, a Buddhist traveler, brought many figurines and writings back from India to Xi’an in the 7th century, and translated several key Buddhist works in the two pagodas. To go back even farther in time, the Banpo museum offers new insights in the development of the human species. An ancient Neolithic village, the museum includes the original archeological site with the buildings of the village, excavated artifacts and skeletons, and a detailed history of the Banpo people and how they connect to modern-day humans. It is a fantastic place to learn about archeology and anthropology and discover the beginnings of Homo sapiens.

When you get hungry, head over to the Muslim Quarter, a street lined with vendors selling snacks. While it is rarely known, Xi’an has a large Muslim population and various mosques located around the city, many worth visiting for their grand architecture. The Muslim Quarter features traditional Chinese and Uyghur (a Muslim ethnic group) foods like Liang Pi (cold noodles in with cucumbers, bean sprouts, soy sauce, and spices) and Yang Rou Pao Mo (bread soaked in lamb soup with thin noodles and various toppings). The steamed dumplings, some of which contain soup inside, are also a huge favorite. Be sure to plan out at least an hour or two to wander through the various stalls and sample the many foods available!

At night, head up to the Xi’an City Wall, which offers a gorgeous view as the city lights up with massive colorful screens like New York’s Times Square, drones that twinkle like stars, and laser beams that sweep over the skyscrapers. The City Wall, a historic fortification of the city designed to keep out invaders, includes a moat and is 14 kilometers or 8.7 miles in length. To go around the entire wall, you can rent bikes to ride around, an exhilarating and beautiful experience. You can often find couples taking wedding photos in traditional Chinese clothing around the gates, which are decorated with red and gold lights at night. With all these cultural sites, Xi’an offers a stunning view of China’s dramatic history while allowing tourists to enjoy modern amenities and the city life. Beyond the attractions mentioned here, Xi’an has much more to offer, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a longer cultural experience.

New Dragon Boat Event Exchange Program with Ankang, China



Teresa Chien, President of the Society for Friendship with China, and Joan Pu, board member of the Society, visited Ankang between September 22 and 24, 2017. On the same trip was Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wanger, Board Member Nancy Hill representing the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation as its President, and representatives of Economic Development Corporation, VisitKC, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and area businesses.

At the discussion forum on the morning of September 24, Ankang Deputy Mayor Zhao Jun introduced Ankang and commended the newly established relationship with Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Wagner gave a brief introduction about Kansas City. Joan Pu made a presentation on behalf of the Society about its mission, history, activities, and its founder – Bob Chien. Her presentation emphasized the annual International Dragon Boat Festival held on the second Saturday of each June. Representatives of Kansas City group also made presentations about their organizations. Presentations made by Ankang include “Ankang’s Dragon Boat Culture and Selenium Resources” by an Ankang University professor, investment opportunities in Ankang by Ankang Investment Bureau, and international education exchange programs by Ankang University.

The forum finished with the ceremony of signing the Memorandum of Understanding for Culture, Sport, Tourist, Educational, and Business Exchanges between Kansas City and Ankang. A major portion of the MOU is the Cultural and Sport Exchange Program -- both cities will participate in each other’s dragon boat events. Ankang will send a dragon boat racing team to Kansas City in 2018; and Kansas City will send a team to Ankang in 2019. Mayor Pro Tem Wagner and Teresa Chien signed the MOU representing the City of Kansas City, MO., and the Society, respectively. Ankang’s signers were Deputy Mayor Zhao Jing and Ankang Sports Bureau Director Chen Yuan’an.

The Kansas City group visited Ankang’s Dragon Boat Cultural Park, as well as Ankang Museum, Ankang High-Tech Zone, Ankang Selenium Research Institute, and picturesque Ying Lake during its stay. The group also met with a local businessman, whose business includes a selenium-rich tea farm, hotels, and a construction company. The businessman is interested in looking for business opportunities in Kansas City.

President Teresa Chien Visited Xi’an to Enforce the Sisterhood Tie


Teresa Chien, President of the Society for Friendship with China, and Joan Pu, a board member of the Society, visited Xi’an – Kansas City’s sister city since 1989 — between September 20 and 22, 2017. They met with Mr. Zhao Haomai, Deputy Director of Xi’an Radio, TV, and Cultural Bureau, on September 20.

Teresa Chien and Joan Pu introduced the Society for Friendship with China, its mission, history, and activities at the meeting. They discussed with Mr. Zhao about a plan initiated by Xi’an to send a troupe to perform at Kansas City’s Dragon Boat Festival in 2018. The Radio, TV, and Cultural Bureau plans to apply for a grant from the Cultural Ministry, which provides funding to promote Chinese culture around the world. Teresa Chien also proposed that Xi’an send performers to Kansas City’s Dragon Boat Festival regularly, such as annually or every other year. Mr. Zhao expressed his enthusiasm to the sister-city relationship. He suggested that, besides dancing and music performance, other art forms including paper cutting and folk painting by farmers are also good candidates to perform at the Kansas City’s Dragon Boat Festival.

While in Xi’an, Teresa Chien and Joan Pu were joined by a group of Kansas City representatives led by Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner and participated in the Euro-Asia Economic Forum. Society’s board member, Nancy Hill, was part of the group and representing Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation. The Kansas City group was invited to the forum and its roundtable discussion because of the Kansas City-Xi’an sister cities’ relationship.

On behalf of the Society, Teresa Chien donated $200 through the International and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Xi’an municipal government to a no-income farmer who adopted an abandoned child with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain.

Kansas City Officials Announce “Marathon Exchange Program” with Xi’an, China


KANSAS CITY, September, 2013 – From Arusha, Tanzania, to Xi’an, China, 13 sister-city relationships serve an integral role in Kansas City’s cultural and economic advancement. Spanning the globe, each affiliation presents a distinct opportunity for exchanging awareness and interest in many areas, even in the world of sport.

In the spirit of building upon Kansas City’s relationship with Xi’an, the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation is pleased to announce a “marathon exchange program” between the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds and the Xi’an City Wall International Marathon. A cooperative agreement beginning this year, the top local male and female finishers at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds will earn a chance to compete in the Xi’an City Wall International Marathon in the following year. The same arrangement applies to the top local finishers at the Xi’an event this November, with their top male and female runners invited to compete in Kansas City.

“We’re confident this is a top local prize unlike any other in the United States,” said Kathy Nelson, President and CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation. “For two area runners, it’s not only a rare chance to experience an overseas marathon; it also represents an opportunity to immerse oneself in a whole new culture.”

This unique undertaking is the result of collaborative discussions among the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation; Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. and Ivy Funds; the Kansas City-Xi’an Sister Committee; and the Society for Friendship with China.

“As with our other sister cities, Kansas City greatly values its relationship with Xi’an,” said Scott Wagner, Councilman, City of Kansas City, Missouri. “Effectively nurturing this dynamic relationship requires exploring innovative and engaging mutual pursuits, which we feel we’ve accomplished here.”

Now in its ninth year, the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds has enjoyed exponential growth as one of the premier running events in the Midwestern region. As the race looks to broaden its community reach, this joint running venture with Xi’an is a fitting step.

“What an extraordinary means for extending Kansas City goodwill well beyond our city limits,” said Tom Butch, President of Waddell & Reed, Inc. and Ivy Funds Distributor, Inc./Chairman of the Board, Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation. “As title sponsor for the marathon, we are deeply privileged to be a part of something so profoundly special.”

Despite being half a world apart, with population densities of equally disparate proportions, Kansas City and Xi’an do share common ground as communities that strongly support economic and cultural growth.

“We have much we can learn from one another, and this program represents one more tremendous way for sharing and understanding our mutual interests,” said Bob Chien, President of the Kansas City-Xi’an Sister City Committee.

To learn more about the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds, visit www.kcmarathon.org. To learn more about the Xi’an City Wall International Marathon, visit www.xianmarathon.com.

Xi’an City Wall International Marathon – Here we Come!


Xi’an City Wall International Marathon is one of China's most famous international races with more than 30,000 participants from more than 50 countries, notably for its start at the best-preserved city wall of China. Held annually at the first Saturday of every November, the Xi’an City Wall International Marathon offers a chance to experience Xian's golden fall and combines views of the ancient Chinese capital among a modern landscape. The Xi’an City Wall International Marathon provides a spacious, smooth competitive route, with mild autumn climate and a high-level of organization and management and the passion of local Chinese runners.

Xi’an Sport bureau invited 10 delegates from Kansas City to join this year’s race.

Kansas City delegation will lead by City Councilman Scott Wagner and Four Marathon runners of 2012 KC Marathon winner to Xi’an this November 2, 2013. Other member of this delegation’s member is from our sponsor Waddell and Reed, Kansas City Sport authority and our Xi’an Sister City Committee.

Chinese Firefighter Completed Visiting Kansas City


On July 19, 2013, the Chinese Firefighter Delegation from Wuhan, Hubei, has successfully completed visiting Kansas City, MO, South Platte County Fire District, Overland Park Fire Department, and Olathe Fire Department.

The Chinese Firefighter Delegation was invited over by Mr. Michael Newburger, director for South Platte County fire district with the help from the Society for Friendship with China. Our international Committee Chairperson Carol Wei implemented many details for the visit. The Chinese Firefighter Delegation was headed by brigadier Mao Hanbin, the President of the Fire Protection Association of Hubei Province of China. More than two hundred of fire fighters from Kansas City, MO fire department, South Platte County fire district, Overland Park fire department, and Olathe fire department participated in various activities that lasted for a week. The local firefighters demonstrated their skills in a live fire drill for the Chinese guests and showed them the special equipment they use in fire rescue and their dedication to save peoples’ lives in very dangerous conditions.

Scott Wagner and John Sharp, Councilmen for KCMO welcomed the Chinese firefighters along with KCMO Fire Chief Berardi and Chief Neeley. Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland also met the Chinese delegation and exchanged gifts. This international exchange deeply enhanced the ties and friendship between Greater Kansas City area firefighters and the firefighters from Wuhan China.

Chinese Firefighter Exchange with Kansas City

  Request from Mr. Michael Newburger to have a Chinese Firefighter exchange with Kansas City, Missouri.

Committee Chairperson Carol Wei help us invite the Fire Protection Association of Hubei Province is coming to Kansas City on July 14. They will be here for a week visiting Great Kansas City.

Chinese Firefighter Delegation headed by the President of the Fire Protection Association of Hubei Province.
Mr. Michael Newburger is Kansas City’ host, City Councilmen Scott Wagner and John Sharp with Fire Chief Berardi and Chief Neeley as co-host in Kansas City.

The Society is appreciated for the service of Carol Wei on Wuhan project right after the Xian’s puppeteer’s visit.

Puppeteers from Xi’an, China

A group of five puppeteers from Xi’an, China, performed for the Families Blessed with the World’s Children on June 9 and for children at Children’s Mercy Hospital on June 10. They were accompanied by Teresa Chien and Carol Wei of the Society for Friendship with China, Inc. Selections of Chinese folktales, such as “Iron-Fan Princess,” “Butterfly Lovers,” and “Meeting at the Flower Pagoda,” were performed for the Chinese children adopted by American families to help them understand Chinese traditions and culture. Jun Liang, one of the puppeteers, took the dual role of being both the narrator and a performer. Changzheng Tan, an alumnus of Qing Hua University, interpreted for the performance.

The performance at Children’s Mercy Hospital was also very well received. Children patients, accompanied by nurses or their parents, watched the shadow puppet show with great interest. The audience burst into hearty applause after each program. The representative of the Children’s Mercy Hospital gave the thumbs up to the performance afterwards. He praised Chinese art, recognized the accurate translation by Changzheng Tan, and thanked the artists and the organizer of the charity activity, the Society for Friendship with China, Inc.


Photos by Dan Gilbert

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