The Chinese Consul General in Chicago, Weiping Zhao, will visit Eastern to talk about current issues and relations involving China and the United States at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Buzzard Auditorium.
The College of Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities is also going to host a reception before the lecture between 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. in the Rathskeller of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Zhao is the highest Chinese government representative in the Midwest and he will lead a delegation of four consuls who will meet and speak to the audience.
Ping Chen, the director of public policy at Eastern, said the lecture is being given because of the issues relevance.
“China is very much in the news because it is the second largest economic body, America being the first,” Chen said. “China is having all kinds of contacts in the military, economy and education.”
As the director of public policy, Chen’s job is to help the students and faculty know more about public policy.
“That is why we make it a mission to bring current events into the campus, things happening all over the world, terrorism, the economy, presidential elections,” Chen said. “Anything that we can get in touch with, if we can get them to come to campus we do.”
Chen said the consul general might not say things that the audience will agree with, but he is authoritative about the government of China.
“He is representing China. What he says is really what the Chinese position is, we won’t necessarily agree, we have our thinking and there’s their thinking,” Chen said.
Chen said they would like people to ask questions on what the Chinese perspective is.
“We don’t have to agree, but come out with a debate,” Chen said. “Like an election. They think their way, we think our way, but there is no harm for us to air it out.”
Zhao will speak for 20 minutes with 30 minutes for a question and answer session; he has agreed to answer all questions.
Since Eastern wants to have international students represented on campus, Chen thinks the talk is a good idea.
“EIU is in the process like any other university of wanting to have international students as paying customers,” Chen said. “So China naturally is one of the country from where we would like more students. So this will give us more of a focus on China.”
Two more delegations will also be coming directly from China. These are the Kaifeng University Delegation and a City of Guangzhou (Canton) delegation. The Kaifeng University Delegation will discuss the possibility of having a Lake Land College Campus in China, and the City of Guangzhou Delegation will speak about establishing a sister city relationship with Urbana.
Urbana has the largest Chinese student population in America, with 5,00 students.
“Everybody wants to meet the diplomat. It’s hard to get to see him if they want to see him independently. While he is here, it is easy for us to hear him and meet him on our campus,” Chen said. “Other people who want to meet him should come to EIUs’ campus. We welcome them.”
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]