Shanghai honors contribution of devoted expats

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong presented medals and certificates to this year's winners of the Shanghai Honorary Citizenship and Magnolia Gold Award.

Filmed by Tang Dafei. Edited by Zhong Youyang and Zheng Qiong. Special thanks to Jin Xiaoxing.

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong presented medals and certificates to this year’s winners of the Shanghai Honorary Citizenship and Magnolia Gold Award on Sunday.

The honorary citizenship, the highest award, was granted to Michio Fujimoto, an 86-year-old Japanese who has been promoting Sino-Japanese friendship and contributing to Shanghai’s culture, tourism and environmental protection for about 30 years.

Among his achievements are a youth exchange program and the Jiading Wisteria Garden.

When Fujimoto was mayor of Wake Town in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture 28 years ago, he set up a foundation with 50 million yen  to promote Sino-Japanese youth communication. It sponsors middle school students from Wake to visit counterparts in Jiading District.

He also raised 2 million yen and donated 120 wisteria of more than 30 species to create a wisteria park in Jiading, which is visited by about 500,000 people each year.

Even after retirement in 2002, the exchange program continues and he comes to Shanghai at least twice a year at his own expense to prune the wisteria and teach wisteria and grape cultivation.

Ying extended the gratitude of the Shanghai people to Fujimoto at the awards ceremony on Sunday.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Michio Fujimoto, 86, was granted the honorary citizenship yesterday for his contribution to the city’s culture, tourism and environmental protection in the past 30 years.

“You have made such great contributions to Shanghai that you fully deserve the Shanghai Honorary Citizenship,” Ying said. “I hope you can continue to help promote Sino-Japanese friendship and exchange between Shanghai and the rest of the world.”

Fujimoto said he was glad to see that Japanese students are coming to Shanghai, and Shanghai students are going to Japan. He believes that such exchanges are helpful for promoting peace and development in East Asia and the development of Sino-Japanese friendship.

He also said that when he saw how much people loved the Jiading Wisteria Park he knew he had done a right thing.

“I will continue to do whatever I can to make contributions to the development both in Japan and China and I wish happiness to the people of Shanghai,” he said, adding that he loves Shanghai as the second hometown and wishes to leave half of his ashes under the wisteria in Jiading in the future.

The 10 Magnolia Gold Award winners, from the US, Ukraine, Ireland, Canada, Japan and India, include managers in business, finance and service industries and experts in the fields of science, medicine and culture.

Bivash Kumar Muherjee, a senior Indian expert at Shanghai Daily, was one of those honored. He has been in Shanghai for almost 20 years and he said he loves to see the changing face of Shanghai, with incredible advances “on par with the greatest cities in the world.”

“I would like to continue here as long as I can,” he said. “I just want to be here and see the changes.”

His family had stayed in the city with him for five years but returned to India recently for children’s education. But he said they already began to miss Shanghai and hope to come back soon.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong shakes hands with Bivash Mukherjee, a senior expert of Shanghai Daily, during the annual awarding ceremony of the Magnolia Gold Award on Sunday.

Patrick John Ledwidge, deputy chief executive of Ireland’s Cork City Council and the city’s director of Services for Strategic Planning and Economic Development, spoke Shanghai’s vision of becoming an international economic, financial, trade and shipping center by 2020, to function as a globally influential scientific innovation center by 2030 and to become an extraordinary global city by 2040.

“All of my fellow laureates have made contributions to the development of Shanghai through the partnerships which we, and our organizations, have developed over the years with our counterparts in Shanghai. These partnerships have also increased our understanding of each other. This is invaluable in itself,” he said.

“Having watched Shanghai develop over the past 14 years, I have no doubt that this will all come to pass.”

He said Cork already has a very productive range of cooperation with Shanghai in areas such as education, health, recreation and public services and will continue to build on them into the future together.

He also confirmed that Ireland and Cork will be well represented at the first China International Import Expo that will be held in Shanghai in November.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Patrick John Ledwidge, deputy chief executive of Ireland’s Cork City Council and the city’s director of Services for Strategic Planning and Economic Development, poses for photo with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong after winning the Magnolia Gold Award.

David Andrew Jones, president of SPD Silicon Valley Bank who has been in Shanghai for five years, said the city is young, forward-looking, energetic and smart.

“What impressed me most in the past five years is the commitment the city has made to its future, understanding how important innovation companies are going to be to the economy for years and years to come. They are doing everything they can to help that. A group of young innovation companies are being part of its economy,” he said. “I hope that Shanghai will always play the role that it plays today in China’s economy and the world’s economy, being a center of innovation.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

David Andrew Jones, president of SPD Silicon Valley Bank, poses for photo with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong after winning the Magnolia Gold Award.

Shanghai began to honor foreigners, who have made outstanding contributions to the city, with Magnolia Silver award in 1989. It set up the Magnolia Gold Award in 1992 and Honorary Citizenship in 1997. More than 1,500 foreigners have received these awards in total.

A total of 50 foreigners were given the Magnolia Silver Award on September 12.


2018 Honorary Citizen of Shanghai

Mr Michio Fujimoto, Japan, Former Town Mayor of Wake Town of Okayama Prefecture and Chairman of Okayama Prefecture Common Donation Party.


2018 Shanghai “Magnolia Gold Award” Recipients 

Mr Patrick John Ledwidge, Ireland, Deputy Chief Executive of Cork City Council, Director of Services for Strategic Planning and Economic Development.

Mr David Andrew Jones, USA, President of SPD Silicon Valley Bank.

Mr Sergii Kirzyk, Ukraine, Senior Expert of Shanghai Aircraft Design and Research Institute, COMAC.

Ms Ying Du, USA, Chairperson & CEO of Zai Lab (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

Mr Shoo Kim Lee, Canada, Scientific Director of Institute of Human Development, Child & Youth Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Mr John Yi-Chang Lin, USA, CEO of Shanghai eBay Network Information Services Company.

Mr Paul Richard Lindblad, USA, President of Wacker Chemicals China.

Mr Paul Yee Mak, USA, President of Mary Kay (China) Co Ltd.

Mr Hiroo Mori, Japan, Chairman of Shanghai World Financial Center Co Ltd.

Mr Bivash Kumar Mukherjee, India, Foreign expert of Shanghai Daily.

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