Chinese counsel visit a success on at least one front

On Thursday, a crowd of people gathered at the Nevada State Railroad Museum got a sense of what could be.

The Consul General of the People's Republic of China, Peng Keyu, was visiting for the first time, and was showered with gifts and words of welcome by the state's and city's highest officials.

The significance of the visit was two-fold. First, it was a chance to honor the 19th century contributions of the Chinese to building this region. Second, it may turn out to be a milestone in making the Chinese a part of the region's future, specifically in the form of a proposed $50 million museum complex that would honor Chinese workers.

Anyone who questions the importance of those workers, or the resistance they faced when they came here in the 1800s, need only read the Pages from the Past that appears in this newspaper. The entries from 120 years ago frequently detail the progress of the local anti-Chinese committee and spell out plainly the discrimination those workers faced.

Today that sentiment has changed and the counsel general was able to view an exhibit at the museum that details China's contributions to the area.

Some in the crowd Thursday were wondering if the counsel general would promise financial support from his economically booming country. While that was not the intent of the event, according to organizers, it may have been a first step toward that goal.

Backers of the plan realize it will take international support to make the museum a reality, along with contributions from Chinese-American communities throughout the country. Cheryl Lau, one of the project's backers, said Peng Keyu took notes on the project and its costs.

And she was also able to confirm another baby step in that Citibank has confirmed it will be a sponsor of the museum. The corporation has not pledged a specific amount.

If those things eventually lead to a museum groundbreaking, then Thursday will have been historic.

But even if that doesn't happen, it was a success in honoring those who helped make Nevada what it is today.


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