Indiana-China Sister City: Bloomington, Indiana & Jiaxing, Zhejiang

Bloomington

Photo from www.indiana.edu

BY ECHO LU

            Bloomington is the county seat of Monroe County in the southern region of Indiana. It is the seventh largest city in Indiana and the fifth largest outside the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

            According to the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington is known as the “Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana.” The city was established in 1818 by a group of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia who were so impressed with “a haven of blooms” that they called it Bloomington.

            The population was 80,405 at the 2010 census.

            Bloomington is the home to Indiana University Bloomington (IUB), largest campus among all nine of Indiana University campuses. Established in 1820, IUB has 42,630 students, as of September 2014.

            Bloomington is also home of the Kinsey Institute and the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute.

            The city has been designated a Tree City for more than 30 years, as of 2014. The city was also the location of the Academy Award winning 1979 movie Breaking Away, featuring reenactment of Indiana University’s annual Little 500 bicycle race. Monroe County’s famous limestone quarries are also featured in the movie.

            The Bloomington and Monroe County region is home to major employers representing a diverse collection of fields, including education, the life sciences, advance manufacturing and technology.

            Bloomington is a regional economic center anchored by Indiana University and home to a diverse business community involved in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology, health care, and the arts. Bloomington’s concentration of employment in the life sciences is six times greater than the U.S. average, and employment in the technology sector has grown by over 80 percent in recent years.

            The city has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of “America’s Best Cities for Doing Business” and as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 50 “Hottest Small Cities for Entrepreneurs”. Additionally, Forbes Magazine ranked Bloomington No.3 in its “Best Places for Business Careers” feature.

            Bloomington is home to several professional and amateur theater companies, among the most notable are: the Indiana University Dept. of Theatre & Drama; Cardinal Stage Company; the Bloomington Playwrights Project; Theatre of the People; and the Indiana University Auditorium, which is a 3,000 seat performing arts venue which bring in national tours of musicals, plays and other live entertainment.

           The city has four municipality sister cities, they are Posoltega, Nicaragua; Santa Clara, Cuba; Luzhou District, New Taipei, Republic of China; Jiaxing, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China.

            In June 1992, Mayor of Bloomington visited Jiaxing. The two cities’ officials signed the intention of setting up a friendship relationship between the two cities.

            In May 1994, Mayor of Jiaxing visited Bloomington. On May 20, 1994, officials from both cities signed an agreement formalized the friendship relationship between Jiaxing and Bloomington.

            In September 1998, Director of Foreign Affairs from Jiaxing visited Bloomington.

            Jiaxing is a prefecture level city in northern Zhejiang province. Lying on the Grand Canal of China, Jiaxing borders Hangzhou to the southwest, Huzhou to the west, Shanghai to the northeast, and the province of Jiangsu to the north. At the 2010 census, its population was 4,501,657 and its built-up area made of two urban districts was home to 1,201,882 inhabitants.

            The prefecture level city of Jiaxing administers seven county level divisions, including two districts, three county-level cities and two counties. Among them, Haiyan county has a sister city relationship with Batesville, Indiana.

            Jiaxing is well known as the “hometown of silk”; hence it is a famous producer of textiles and woolens. It is one of the world’s largest exporters of leather goods. There are mechanical, chemical and electronic industries there.

            Jiaxing is an important energy base in East China. Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, the first self-designed nuclear power station in China, and Fangjiashan Nuclear Power Plant are located in Haiyan County.

            South Korea tire maker Hankook Tire has a production facility in Jiaxing Development Zone for cars and light trucks. Hankook Tire (Jiaxing) Co., Limited was opened in 1996.

            Established in 2003, Jiaxing Export Processing Zone is a state-level export-processing zone approved by State Council. It has a built-up area of 2.98 k㎡. Its development goal is to become the export-processing base for IT, IC, mechanical and electrical, electronics and other high-tech industries.

           The two cities have not been in touch for while, on the government website of Bloomington, Jiaxing was not found in the sister city section.

For more information about the sister city relationship between Bloomington and Jiaxiang, please go to http://www.sagamoreinstitute.org/bloomington-jiaxing/.

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