Thunder Bay's newest sister city, Jiaozuo, China, is offering Thunder Bay its support in fighting the COVID-19 virus. In a message to Coun. Peng You of Thunder Bay city council, Jiaozuo Mayor Xu Yixian and Secretary General Wang Xiaoping have asked if they could help by, for example, donating masks or other supplies.

A strong relationship has been developing between Thunder Bay and Jiaozuo when official Sister City status happened on May 26, 2017. The original connection began via our decades-long local history of taiji. Jiaozuo is home to the Chen Village, known worldwide as the 'birthplace of taiji.'

In May 2019, three beautiful bronze statues were installed at our Taiji Park, donated and shipped free of charge by the City of Jiaozuo.

In February of 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, the Peng You Taiji Association and Chinese Canadian Association immediately held a fundraiser and generously raised $3,000 in cash which was quickly sent to Jiaozuo to assist them with their crisis.

This was the very first cash donation they received from outside of China. Within days, Mayor Xixian sent a thank-you letter. Being a city of almost four million people, the amount was not particularly significant but the gesture was greatly appreciated.

Now Jiaozuo is returning the favour.

While we fight against this disease, the need for appropriate equipment is going to increase very quickly so this extra help could save lives.

A pandemic is a world crisis which can only be beaten by co-operation - by fighting it together.

Hopefully, we will also find it a little uplifting to know that on the other side of the world there are people from a vastly different culture that support us.

Brian Nieminen


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