September 16, 2009

Chinese officials study Bristol's government

Four months ago, three officials from cities in Shandong Province that each house millions of people came to Connecticut to learn how local government works here.

For the past two months, they’ve been looking over the shoulders and getting advice from their counterparts in Bristol.

“The government is a small government” in Bristol, said Rong Gao, vice chairman of the Qingdao Youth Federation, “and it serves the people.”

The idea of serving the people resonated with all three of the Chinese visitors who said they are used to a system where government holds more power.

“The power of the government is big in China,” Gao said.

When he returns home next week, he said he’s going to try to organize volunteers because he’s learned from his American visit “how volunteer service really improves the standards of morals in the whole community.”

Last year, Gao helped organize volunteers in his coastal city of 8 million people to lend a hand with the sailing competition held there during the Beijing Olympics.

The three are part of a program sponsored by the U.S.-China Business Center at Central Connecticut State University that allows Chinese officials to learn public administration. It also serves to create connections for state businesses to extend their reach into a fast-growing Chinese market.

Mayor Art Ward said he’s glad the city had the chance to host the interns for a couple of months. They spent time with 17 departments of city government, they said, and talked to many municipal workers and residents along the way.

Groups of Chinese officials have been studying City Hall’s operations for several years through the CCSU program.

Mary Suchopar, the mayor’s assistant who coordinates it for the city, said it is mainly “about expanding some people’s horizons about other cultures” and ways of doing things.

“The department heads learn as much about the Chinese way of government as the Chinese do about the American way of government,” Suchopar said.

Keqiang Li, a senior engineer with the Shandong Province’s division of mining management, said he hopes that Bristol businesses will follow the lead of ESPN and Otis Elevator to develop in China.

“There are many chances for these businesses to enlarge their market in China,” Li said.

He said ESPN and Otis, which has a testing facility in Bristol, are well known in China.

Shengyong Dong, who holds a law enforcement position, said he’s been impressed with the commitment to environmental protection he’s seen in America. He said the Chinese can learn a lot about how to combat pollution from regulators he’s met in Connecticut.

Gao said that Americans “know very little about China.

He said programs such as the one at CCSU provide “a good window for the exchange of information and culture.”

Gao said that relations “must be solid, must be improved” because of the importance of both countries.

The Chinese men, who are all in their forties, said one thing they especially enjoyed in Bristol was attending a camp for children organized by youth services at the Pine Lake ropes course. They said the spot was beautiful – and Gao said he tried dangling on the ropes while he was there.

“We had many wonderful times,” Gao said, though all three said they are anxious to return home to their families after so many months away.

Suchopar said the Chinese men “always invite us to come over and visit” but so far nobody from Bristol has taken them up on it.

“We’ve never really taken advantage of sending someone over to reciprocate. Right now, it’s a good will thing,” she said.

After Gao wished Ward well in his election campaign, he invited the mayor to fly over.

“As soon as you send me airline tickets, I’ll come visit,” the mayor responded, laughing.


Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

I'll be happy to send Ward a one way ticket to China!

Anonymous said...

It's odd the City Council was never told about these visitors to our fair city. Was the Mayor afraid Councilman McCauley would tell these gentlemen how local government really works in America? God forbid the Chinese learn about Bristol's own "Gang of Four"!

Anonymous said...

These people probably are laughting there asses off about the way this city is run.

Anonymous said...

They'll probably go back to China and get executed now!

Anonymous said...

Just the type of juvenile, pointless comments that we've all (unfortunately) become very familiar with here on the blog. Too bad!

Anonymous said...

Did they get a tour of bristol. Bring them to the west end.Let them see real bristol our finest not working. SMOKING BOOZ AND DRUGS and our police not doing there job. Thats bristol politics.

Anonymous said...

They will go home and make a best seller comedy of course.

Anonymous said...

What will they learn here.

Anonymous said...

5:33 you should take life less serious. Remember this is bristol no real things happening here.

Anonymous said...

Send diane fergusson she could teach them.

Anonymous said...

Hope these officials never looked at this blog. It's pretty embarrassing to read.

Anonymous said...

China - will run our country some day. I am sure there was interns all over the country learning about our government. I wonder if we have interns in China? Ya right!

Anonymous said...

Ward as a mentor? Please I can't stop laughing. Ward has no idea how to run govt. how can he teach these men? Get real.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:34 PM:

Your obviously a thug with an 8th grade education. Stay off the blog!

Anonymous said...

Come on now..we all need a standard. In this case China needs to know if Obama's attack on American freedom is working.

The Chineese know that the US is rapidly turning to socialism, they see the comrade mentality of our labor unions on the State level..they needed to see if there is a trickle down effect at the local level.

Looking at Bristol's government, I am sure they are convinced. Government by the Unions is alive and well in Bristol.

Anonymous said...

8:52 WHATS THE PROBLEM THE TRUTH HURTS. EDUCATION has nothing to do with it. Maybe you should take some reallity classes.

Anonymous said...

Bristol is in a sad state no way around it. If the truth bothers you stay off the blog.

Anonymous said...

"a thug with an 8th grade education"

-That would be a description of our State Senator actually.

-Hey Ward you can't see Russia from here but perhaps you can see China. What could the Chinese learn from this buffoon? Really.

NOT mine said...

So ..... Communists come to Bristol to see just how successful Communism can be in America .

Everyone ... please take a moment of silence and contemplate the leaderships' most recent 'achievement'.

Anonymous said...

8:29 AM, Open your beady little eyes and look around. The entire Country is in a sad state. Bristol's actually fared better than quit your bellyaching.

Anonymous said...


Yes, Bristol is in better shape than most, but not because of anything Ward has done. He inherited a good status, but certainly has done nothing to keep it going.

Next year will be disastrous thanks to Artie.

But he sure does campaign well!

Anonymous said...

Ward is so cheap - if the city would pay for his trip to China he would go. Maybe we should, one-way ticket.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Coming to see successful communism in America?

Yes, yes. This is the same nation that has opened its doors heavily to Wal-Mart!

People who scream socialism need to get an education on what socialism means.

Because you all sound like idiots.

Anonymous said...

"He inherited a good status"

...well, I guess if you call the middle of the worst recession since the great depression "good status"...

What a putz!

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:25 AM

The word reality has one "L" in it. Also, whats with the half CAPS and the half lower case letters? Were you angry at the beginning of the thought, and then not so angry at the end of it? Get an education and stay off the blog! Are you blogging from prison?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


He inherited a balanced budget, he inherited a huge Fund Balance (which he has squandered),and he was made aware of the impending financial situation but did nothing about it!

And still is doing nothing!!!

Anonymous said...

Ward has gained so much weight with the good living that he is starting to take on an Oriental look.

Anonymous said...

5:54 PM:

Your grammer is atrocious (big boy three syllable word) and the "i" in the words "is" should be in caps. Your computer most likely has a spell, grammer and punctuation check feature on it, maybe you should learn how to use it. It is extremely difficult to take you comments seriously when it looks like you were educated in the Ozarks! This will be my last comment to you. I am done. Maybe you should post on the Bargain News website?

Anonymous said...

"YOU HAVE NO LIFE AND TO LATE TO GET ONE. iS THIS SPELLED RIGHT." "TO LATE" should be "TOO LATE," and your sentence sounds like a line from a Tarzan movie.

Anonymous said...


He may have inherited a balanced budget, but he inherited it during he worst recession in decades. He did what was necessary to keep Bristol afloat. As far as being "made aware of the impending financial situation," so were the country's best financial analysts and advisers...and they were also unable to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...


No one expected Artie to address the global economic situation.
A smart person works with what he/she has control and influence over.
There were many things that couold have been started in early 08 that would have ameliorated the current position the city currently is in.

With your logic, why do anything at all, now or in the future: let it resolve itself.

Sounds like Ward himself

Anonymous said...

Ward was on the council for 14 years - was he sleeping?

Anonymous said...


some of the best financial people (Dodd, Franks etc.) DID NOT WANT to do anything. They were benefitting, and still are.

Ward could have done more, still could do more, but frankly, doesn't have a clue as to what to do.

In some ways, he contributed to the situation for as councilman under Nicastro, he failed to keep up the city infrastructure, so cutting back even a little now is more harmful.

And he made sure his friends were taken care of, then and now.

Anonymous said...