Columbia, Maryland’s newest sister city is Liyang, China

September 11, 2018

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 — The community of Columbia, Maryland now has a fifth sister city — Liyang, China, which is located in southern China, 150 miles west of Shanghai.

Liyang Mayor Huaqin Xu and Columbia Association President/CEO Milton W. Matthews signed the sister city agreement on Monday, September 10 during a ceremony at Historic Oakland in Columbia.

“From Columbia’s beginning, there has been a focus on celebrating the diverse cultures of our residents and fostering international understanding,” said Matthews. “We hope that the Sister City program with Liyang will foster engagement between our communities.”

The relationship between Columbia and Liyang will allow residents to meet and explore each others’ cities for the mutual benefit and understanding of both. The Columbia/Liyang sister-city program will foster global engagement and peer-to-peer exchanges at every level — cultural, educational and municipal — resulting in travel abroad programs for youth and adults, artistic and cultural exchanges, economic development and tourism promotion.

“We share the philosophy of trust and friendship — communication and exchange build the foundation for that friendship,” said Xu. “Columbia is the eighth sister city relationship [of Liyang]. The number eight represents luck — and it also represents the bright future of the relationship between our cities.”

The search for a Chinese sister city began four years ago, when members of the approximately 8,000-member Chinese-American community in Howard County came to Columbia Association asking to partner with a sister city in China.

Eight different cities in China were discussed as possibilities. The committee decided on Liyang, which was seeking a sister city on the East Coast of the United States. Liyang has a population of approximately 889,000 — a small city by Chinese standards. Liyang is a leader in education, tourism, technology and finance, and like Columbia it has high standards for education and the preservation of green spaces.

Liyang joins an expanding family that also includes Columbia’s sister cities in Cergy-Pontoise, France (since 1977); Tres Cantos, Spain (since 1990); Tema, Ghana (since 2014); and Cap-Haitien, Haiti (since 2016).

For additional information, please contact Laura Smit, program manager for CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs, at 410-715-3162 or

CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs foster international understanding and celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia. The goals of the International Exchange Program include developing new exchanges with Columbia’s five sister cities. CA also develops multicultural programs for the community such as the World Languages Café, the International Book Club, and CultureFests that celebrate cultures from different countries and regions of the world. To learn more, visit

Share this post