Based on a suggestion by a frequent Honk Kong visitor to Greenville, Mayor Alan Gaffner and the city council have agreed to initiate a process whereby individuals could be named honorary citizens of Greenville.
The visitor is Dr. Eddie Lau, a famous fashion designer who assists Chinese students coming to America for education.
Dr. Lau has been in Greenville several times and earlier this year City Manager Dave Willey represented Greenville in Hong Kong at a business program. Airfare and hotel expenses for the one-week trip were paid by the International Fellowship Fund, and the city covered Willey’s incidental expenses including meals.
Lau was in Greenville a few weeks ago and talked with Gaffner and Willey. The honorary citizen topic was discussed by them, noting that in China actions by any governmental body are considered very important.
Gaffner told WGEL Lau was introduced to Greenville officials by Greenville University President Dr. Ivan Filby. Dr. Lau is a main conduit for Chinese students traveling to America and enrolled in GU. He said Lau is excited about the SMART Center that is being developed by GU in Greenville. Mayor Gaffner also told us Lau’s group is interested in making financial contributions to the city to be put into projects.
Gaffner said Lau believes there are tourism possibilities for Chinese people to visit Greenville to see agriculture and then see attractions in St. Louis and Chicago.
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Mayor Gaffner stated Lau and his contingent are not part of the protests occurring in China that challenge freedom and democracy.
While no honorees were selected at Tuesday’s meeting, the council unanimously approved the honorary citizen designation.