Mayor will lead Richmond delegation on trip to sister city in China
on September 27, 2023
A delegation of Richmond city officials will travel to sister-city Zhoushan, China, next month for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez sees the trip as a chance to show solidarity with Richmond’s Chinese community.
“Since COVID, the United States has seen a terrible rise in hate speech and violence against the AAPI community, particularly Chinese people,” Martinez said in an email. “Conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID run rampant, and I want to make clear to my community that Richmond does not support this awful behavior or way of thinking about a global tragedy.”
The delegation tentatively includes the mayor, the mayor’s chief of staff Shiva Mishek, councilmember Cesar Zepeda, and former councilmember Nathaniel Bates. It will also include Richmond-Zhoushan Commission Chair Stanley Li, Vice-Chair Margaret Lee, and members Alex Golovets, Bobby Winston and Joseph Kong.
The delegation will travel to China to ratify a two-year agreement between the sister cities and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their relationship, according to the Sept. 12 City Council agenda.
The delegates will attend the International Islands Tourism Conference in Zhoushan from Oct. 12 to 14.
Richmond City Council approved a total travel budget of approximately $15,000 in its Sept. 12 meeting for Martinez, Mishek, and Zepeda’s trips, according to the meeting agenda and project coordinator Trina Jackson-Lincoln.
Bates will cover his own travel expenses as will members of the Richmond-Zhoushan Commission, according to the same agenda. The city of Zhoushan will cover the delegation’s hotel accommodations.
Martinez hopes the trip can highlight his labor and green economy initiatives, specifically regarding the Port of Richmond.
“Two huge opportunities for Richmond are at its port (the maritime industry and offshore wind power) and tourism,” Martinez said in the email. “Zhoushan has managed to excel in both areas in a relatively short amount of time, and we have a lot to learn from their development activities. This is the primary goal of this trip.”
Zepeda said in an email that the delegation will visit Zhoushan’s Maritime Academy, “as we are looking to do something similar in Richmond.”
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