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Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing Municipal Government
2022-02-24  |  

[Overview] Washington, D.C. (the District of Columbia), located along the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is the capital and political center of the United States. It covers 176.7 square kilometers and has a population of 702,000.

[Politics] The city of Washington is under federal jurisdiction. It has no representation in the Senate and has only one non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. The Congress reserves the right to review and veto any law passed by the city council.

Washington is governed by the city council and the city government. The city council serves as the city's legislative body. It is comprised of 13 members elected for a four-year term, including one representative elected from each of the eight wards, and five members (the Chairman included) elected at-large. The mayor, locally elected for a term of four years, serves as the city's chief executive. The current mayor, Muriel Bowser, took office in January 2015 and was re-elected in November 2018. She is the first woman re-elected to a second term as the Mayor of Washington.

[Economy] Washington is the political center of the United States. Government procurement and government-related services contribute a large part to the city's economy. About 29% of the city's jobs are provided by the government. In recent years, Washington's economy has become increasingly diversified, and the service sector, especially finance, education, health care, and tourism, has developed rapidly.

[Education] Famous universities in Washington include Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Trinity Washington University. Washington has the most educated population in the United States, with more than 50% of the residents having a bachelor's degree or higher.

[Culture and Tourism] Washington has rich historical and cultural resources. It has the world's largest museum system, and most of its museums offer free admission to visitors. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, and The Washington Ballet. Washington is one of the media centers in the U.S. and the world. The Washington Post is one of the earliest and most influential daily newspapers in the United States.

[Relations with Beijing] On May 15, 1984, Washington officially became Beijing's sister city. In recent years, the two cities have maintained close ties and enjoyed extensive exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, culture, tourism and education. In 2016, as recommended by Beijing Municipality, Washington won the Exchanges and Cooperation Award at the China International Friendship Cities Conference.

Economy and Trade: In 2015, Washington held the Invest in Washington Forum in Beijing. Representatives of the city's high-tech and real estate companies attended the forum and briefed the audience on their projects. The event attracted more than 160 Chinese companies.

Culture: In November 2019, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the sister-city ties between Beijing and Washington, the two cities jointly organized the Beijing Day Cultural Festival in Washington, which attracted more than 1,500 visitors. The celebration included a guqin concert, a Beijing Cultural Fair, the Charming Beijing photo exhibition and other activities to showcase the unique charm of Beijing in diverse ways. The cultural festival brought an atmosphere of joy and happiness to visitors in the winter. In 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser gave a painted panda statue to Beijing as a gift on behalf of the city of Washington. The statue, a symbol of friendship between the two cities, is now exhibited in the Children's English Reading Room of the Capital Library of China.

Tourism: In 2013, Washington joined the World Tourism Cities Federation initiated by Beijing, with its representative acting as the Federation's deputy secretary-general. In 2015, Destination DC held the Washington-themed exhibitions and tourism promotion conferences in Beijing. In 2016, as part of the China-U.S. Year of Tourism, the Charming Beijing Photo Exhibition was held at Union Station in Washington.

Education: In 2012, Beijing Yucai School signed a sister school agreement with Washington Alice Deal Middle School. By 2018, the two schools had launched 11 faculty and student exchange visits. A total of 314 teachers and students participated in the exchange program, further consolidating the friendship between the two schools.