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August 9, 2011

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US Consulate's millionth visa

THE US Consulate in Shanghai yesterday celebrated issuing its millionth US visa since 2004 and three Chinese residents won trips to Hawaii and Guam in a lucky draw.

US Consul General Beatrice Camp described the occasion as "an important milestone" and said it was a reflection of the ever-growing cooperation in various fields between the United States and China.

"As President Obama said during his 2009 visit to Shanghai, cooperation between China and the US is rooted in the studies we share, the business that we do, the knowledge that we gain and the sports that we play," she said yesterday during a brief celebration at the city's visa application office.

"This growth in Chinese travel to the US is contributing to that cooperation," Camp said.

In the past 12 months alone, the Shanghai consular section had processed more than 260,000 visas, the consul general said.

She said more than 800,000 US visas were issued throughout China during that time, with over 30 percent of them in Shanghai.

"We are delighted that so many Chinese citizens are going to the US to study, travel or do business," she said.

Chinese students now constitute 18.5 percent of all international students enrolled in US colleges and universities, according to the US Institute of International Education.

An IIE report said that nearly 40 percent more students from China were studying in the US in 2010 than the year before, as China overtook India as the leading country with natives studying in the US.

About 130,000 Chinese were studying on US campuses last year, it said.

Yesterday was also the last day of Camp's three-year service as consul general. She will be replaced by Robert Griffiths, an economic affairs counselor at the US Embassy in Bangkok, who is due to arrive later this month.

"I am sorry to leave this dynamic city," Camp said yesterday. "It has been a great honor to work with the consular staff so dedicated to finding new ways to improve our operations."

She congratulated the three lucky-draw winners, including two Shanghai residents, for winning the travel tours.

They were picked from 20 candidates randomly selected from successful visa applicants yesterday.

"I am super excited. I might make the trip with my wife during the New Year's holiday," said Daniel Ji, a local Apple engineer.

He won a five-day trip for two to the Pacific island of Guam, a US territory. The other two winners will be enjoying a holiday in Hawaii.


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