Naperville's mayor and China's consul general for the Chicago consular district exchanged handshakes, gifts and statements of pride during a recent meeting in which the Chinese man was granted honorary Naperville citizenship.
Mayor George Pradel said he was proud to welcome Chinese Consul General Zhao Weiping in an effort to strengthen business relationships and friendships as part of the Chinese Community Outreach program he launched last year.
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"We extend our friendship to you as we experience a spirit of mutual understanding and respect," Pradel said while reading Weiping's honorary citizenship proclamation.
Weiping, who has been consul general for the Chicago district since last year, represents a region that includes Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Bill Liu, who is chairman of Chinese community outreach for Pradel's office, invited Weiping to visit the city and receive honorary citizenship.
The city already offers a Chinese webpage to help Chinese-American residents access municipal information.
Weiping thanked Pradel, Liu and city council members for the "kind gesture" of honorary citizenship.
"This award means friendship, growing friendship between China and Naperville," Weiping said. "This award also means responsibility, responsibility for me to work hard for this relationship."