San Francisco Marks 45th Anniversary of San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Relationship

Established in 1979 by Mayor Dianne Feinstein, the Sister City was the first established between the United States and China and today remains an integral component for diplomatic relations
April 22, 2024

SHANGHAI – Mayor London N. Breed joined Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng of the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, local government leaders, members of the Shanghai Sister City Committee, and the Mayor’s delegation on Saturday in Shanghai to mark the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco Shanghai Sister City relationship.  

The Sister City memorandum of understanding between the two cities will be signed and renewed next month in May when Mayor Gong leads a Shanghai Sister City delegation to San Francisco. Yesterday during the anniversary reception, Mayors Breed and Gong reemphasized commitments on behalf of San Francisco and Shanghai to advance mutually beneficial economic cultivation opportunities, cultural exchange efforts including exploring possibilities for student exchange programs, and tourism promotion.  

Over the years, the San Francisco Shanghai Sister City partnership has seen more than 200 collaborative projects across various sectors. Notable events include "Shanghai Week in SF" and "SF Week in Shanghai." The relationship has also facilitated interactions with future Chinese leaders and played a key role in San Francisco's participation in the Shanghai Expo 2010.  

“I am deeply grateful to be in beautiful Shanghai with Mayor Gong to mark the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Relationship,” said Mayor London Breed. “Our sister city relationship stands as a bridge between our nations, facilitating valuable exchanges that drive progress, innovation, and mutual understanding. We not only celebrate the rich history and achievements of our partnership but also reaffirm our commitment to a future built on mutual respect, understanding, and collaboration.” 

"Mayor Breed’s visit has been very productive, and I look forward to leading a delegation to visit San Francisco in May,” said Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng. “I believe that such exchanges and visits will enhance the friendly ties and promote better cooperations in economy, culture and commerce.” 

Currently, the Sister City relationship includes judicial and government exchanges, business management fellowships, and the development of a Chinese Garden in San Francisco.  

Mayor Gong will lead a Sister City delegation from Shanghai to San Francisco this May. 

“As we celebrate the relationship between San Francisco and Shanghai,’ said Daphne Fang, Chair of the San Francisco Sister City Committee. ‘I am so honored to be able to help connect Mayor Breed and Mayor Gong, and their delegations with various institutes for so many meaningful exchanges among the people of the two cities. I look forward to continuing this work together by collaborating with both cities.” 

In 1979, San Francisco initiated a pioneering Sister City relationship with Shanghai, a major business and financial hub in China. This partnership, the first of its kind between the U.S. and China, was largely the result of dedicated efforts by community leaders like Supervisor Tom Hsieh, Gordon Lau, and notably James Fang. Tragically, Fang passed away in August 2020, but his legacy continues through the diligent stewardship of his wife, Daphne Fang, along with significant contributions from Mrs. Florence Fang and Jim Wunderman of the Bay Area Council.     

This relationship, founded during Mayor Diane Feinstein's tenure, followed the normalization of U.S.- China diplomatic relations in the late 1970s. Feinstein led a delegation to Beijing and Shanghai, where she and Shanghai Mayor Wang Daohan agreed on a Sister-City relationship. The formal agreement was signed in early 1980, following President Carter's announcement of official diplomatic ties.   

LINK: Photo and Video of Mayor Breed meeting Shanghai Mayor Gong