Stephen Sham, mayor of Alhambra in Los Angeles, visited The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) On April 9. Mr. Sham is the first Chinese-American mayor of the city, and was re-elected consecutively in 2010 and 2014.

Joe Qin, Vice President of the University, hosted the meeting in English by raising to Mr. Sham questions he collected from the students. Mr. Sham first introduced federal and state structures of his city, focusing on how to help Chinese to raise their social status and life quality. Of course, as big fans of the American series “House of Cards”, students wondered whether American political battle is as fiercely fought as depicted in the series. Mr. Sham replied that there is a strict legislation process that closely supervises officials in the U.S., but gives civilians much latitude. He also told students that the political system should fit the cultural background and condition of a country, and there is no uniform definition of a “good” or “bad” system. In the Q&A session, Mr. Sham told students that the most important thing for them is to enjoy the campus life, seize the opportunity to develop interests, and get good grades.

After the meeting, Mr. Sham presented his souvenirs to students—the badge of the city of Alhambra. Student journalists Alan Zhang and Amie Ding conducted a personal interview with Mr. Sham, where he shared his secrets of getting along nicely with family members and the challenges he faced when starting up his own business. For students wishing to go to America to study, he stressed that not all students are suitable to study in America and they should make their own decisions. “It is a matter of personal choice”, he said.
Students showed great interest in this dialogue. Such exchange not only helps them to better understand American political and educational systems but also leads them to contemplate how to spend their college life in a more meaningful manner.