The U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan is Building for the Future

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On Friday February the 10th, 2017, the Consul General, Mr. Joseph Zadrozny, welcomed Wuhan Social to the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Consulate office in Wuhan, to be located at the Minsheng Bank Building on 396 Xinhua Road in Hankou. The project has long been anticipated since the first announcement in 2012 so we were delighted to hear that construction work is starting this month while completion is expected by the summer of 2018. When the consulate opens, it will feature a first-of-its-kind public use facilities including a lecture hall and library open to the public.

Distinguished guests attending the Ceremony included Vice Mayor Shao, Director General Yan representing the Hubei Provincial Government, as well as David H. Rank, the Acting Ambassador to the United States.

A glance at history teaches us that the first U.S. Consulate in Wuhan opened in 1863, following the Treaty of Tianjin, and was being housed in several buildings during the early years. The post became a Consulate General in 1903 and in 1915 the U.S. Consulate moved to the iconic red-brick baroque building on Yanjiang Avenue.

The red-brick baroque U.S. Consulate General in 1915

When China’s capital moved to Wuhan in 1937 for the short-lived Republic, the consulate building temporarily served as U.S. Embassy to China. The Consulate General in Hankou officially closed in December 1949.

It was waiting till November 20, 2008 for the re-opening of the U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan, located in The New World Trade Building in Hankou. The Consulate General in Wuhan covers Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, until now providing emergency services to American citizens (Passport, Report of Birth Abroad and Notary Services), promote trade, and enhance commercial cooperation between the U.S. and Central China.

More recent services include eVUS (holders of a U.S. 10-year B1 Business, B2 Tourism, or B1/B2 business/tourism visa need to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System at www.evus.gov before planning their travel to the United States) and STEP (American citizens travelling to Central China are advised to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Programhttps://travel.state.gov)

“In 2008 the consulate had just one diplomat, the Consul General, until 2012 when a Public Affairs Officer position was added.” the Consul General explained to an audience of around 200. In 2018, and after the new facilities open to the public, the Consulate General will have 30 diplomats and over 80 local staff.

“What does “Building for the Future” mean to the people of Wuhan and Central China?” I asked the Consul General.
“First, it will be an expansion in services for both Chinese and American citizens. Second, “Building for the Future” means an increased focus on expanded commercial ties between the U.S and Central China. And thirdly, “Building for the Future” means more opportunities to promote mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and Central China.”

The future Consulate General will provide us with full consular visa services as well as a multi-purpose room that will be used for hosting events on American culture such as lectures, movie nights, art and music. There will also be an American Space resource center with computers, books, and other information on English language and study in the U.S. An Agricultural Trade Office will be opened later this year, promoting quality American agriculture products like apples and cherries, pecans and almonds, American wines and spirits.

Consul General, Joseph Zadrozny, has served Wuhan since 2014, and Wuhan Social has asked him to look back at his three years of service in Wuhan.

Wuhan Social: “What is your best memory of three year service in Wuhan?”

Consul General:Wuhan will always be a special place for me and my family, for all the friends we made here.  One of my main goals during my two and half years here has been the growth of our consulate.  I’m personally very proud of the progress we have made on expanding our consulate and I know that the new facility we just broke ground on will have a long-term positive impact for the people of Wuhan and central China.  So, as far as memories of Wuhan, our Groundbreaking Ceremony represents such a milestone this will be one of my best memories of my time here.

Wuhan Social: “Having served in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and now Wuhan, how do you look at Wuhan’s future?“

Consul General: Wuhan continues to be a strategically important city located at the crossroads of China’s transportation system.  I’m excited for our consulate to be part of Wuhan’s continued growth and expansion as a global city.   We are “building for the future” with Wuhan.

Wuhan Social: “Wuhan Social is a portal for foreigners visiting, studying, and working in Wuhan. What message do you have for our followers and readers?”
Consul General:  Wuhan Social is that next step in making Wuhan a global city, and serves as the “map” to discover all the fascinating things Wuhan has to offer for the foreign residents and visitors.  I love what WuhanSocial is doing and congratulate you on your success.

Wuhan Social wishes the U.S. Consulate General all the best with the construction work on the future consulate, and we eagerly look forward to the grand opening in the summer of 2018.

The current U.S. Consulate General is located at the New World International Trade Tower I
No. 568, Jianshe Avenue
Hankou, Wuhan 430022
Tel:027-8555-7791
E-mail: USConsulateWuhan@state.gov

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Luc Pauwels
Luc Pauwels came to China in 1999 to train primary and lower secondary school principals. He is now a primary school principal in Wuhan