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The regional security officer and assistant regional security officer from the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai present American mini-hamburgers to a lieutenant of the Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) at a small celebration held in appreciation of the PAP’s support of consulate security, February 8, 2018. (U.S. Department of State photo)

Chinese New Year – China’s most important holiday – is a celebration marking the end of the coldest days. It is a time many spend with family and friends to welcome new beginnings and fresh starts. At the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, members of the Regional Security Office celebrated the holiday — and the beginning of something new — in a unique way.

During this celebration, up to 400 million people in the country will travel to visit relatives. When Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents learned that some of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) soldiers and officers who provide security support at the consulate would be on duty during the holiday, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) and Assistant Regional Security Officer (ARSO) held a ceremony last week to thank PAP for their service and celebrate Chinese New Year… American style.

“PAP plays a crucial role in assisting with security at the consulate,” said Special Agent Sean McClanahan, Consulate General Shanghai RSO. “We wanted to show the officers and soldiers how much we appreciate their contribution to our mission while sharing our culture and honoring theirs.”

The RSO and ARSO purchased American mini hamburgers and presented the feast to the PAP officers and soldiers on duty. Though McClanahan has been assigned to the consulate since 2015, at the small celebration McClanahan discovered the Chinese New Year might indeed be the start of something new at the consulate.

“The ARSO used to play basketball in high school, and we found out many PAP soldiers and officers are huge NBA fans,” said McClanahan

At the get together, Special Agent Ian Norris, Consulate General Shanghai’s ARSO, challenged the PAP guards to a basketball game against the Regional Security Office, the local guard force, and the Marine Security Guards.

“PAP accepted the challenge. They joked that former NBA player Yao Ming lives in Shanghai and may join their team,” said Norris. “Even if Yao Ming can’t make it, I think that would be a great game. Definitely something new here.”

U.S. Department of State

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