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City seeks applicants for trip to China





The city of Hays and the Sister Cities Advisory Board are seeking delegates to attend an April 6 trip to Xinzheng, China, that would last 10 days.

The estimated cost per person is $3,350, but it might be lower. The deadline to submit an application of a short statement of interest and commitment of availability is Jan. 31. A $1,000 deposit is required Feb. 14, and the balance is due Feb. 28.

Famous stops along the trip include the Great Wall of China and the terracotta army sculptures.

The two towns have been Sister Cities since 2004, and representatives from both cities have visited each other through the years. The trip aims to reaffirm the shared relationship and celebrate the ancient Emperor Yan's birthday April 12.

Xinzheng, located within an agricultural and aviation-manufacturing region, has a population of 600,000. Fort Hays State University has a partnership with the city's Sias International University, and its students will serve as guides for the trip.

Commissioner Eber Phelps proposed the trip feature a trade mission component because others have criticized the Sister Cities in the past. Business professionals are welcome to join the delegation and build rapport with Chinese businesses.

"I think it's a shrinking world, and we need to do all the things we can to encourage understanding of each other culturally and every other way," said Mayor Kent Steward.

Ann Leiker, chairwoman of the Sister Cities Advisory Board, read an excerpt from the 2004 agreement finalizing the two cities' union.

"In the spirit of mutual friendship, it is our intent that this relationship will contribute to promoting better relations between the two countries and consequently to the peace and prosperity of the world, Leiker said.

Applications can be submitted at city hall, 1507 Main.