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March 2, 2005

Distinguished Professor from China to Speak at ULM

Chinese Professor is an expert on Monroe Native Lt. General Claire Lee Chennault

Professor Changzhu Liu (pronounced "Leo") of China will make his first-time visit to the University of Louisiana at Monroe next week. His association with Monroe stems from his long-time respect and interest in Lt. General Claire Lee Chennault and Chennault's family. Liu's visit also promotes educational and cultural interaction between the Monroe region and Chengdu in the Sichuan Province of China.

Liu will speak to ULM students about the political climate in China at 11 a.m. Monday, March 7 in the auditorium (room 134) of the Hemphill Airway and Computer Science Building on ULM"s campus. Dr. Mingsheng Li, assistant professor of finance at ULM, will act as Liu's English interpreter.

Chennault, a boyhood native of Gilbert who lived in Monroe in later years, is still revered in China (and especially by Liu) for his World War II heroism that limited air strikes by the Japanese against China.

Throughout his distinguished military career General Chennault possessed a visionary attitude concerning such important areas as tactics and training methods. He exhibited significant foresight concerning a mutually beneficial relationship with China. Many in China view General Chennault as a hero because of his leadership and personal commitment to their country. General Chennault proved instrumental in protecting China during World War II, leading the famed "Flying Tigers" and the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force against the Japanese in China and Burma.

Professor Liu taught Chinese early in his career and went on to become an education research specialist. He is well known for his achievements as a member of a Chinese democratic party that actively participates in shaping China's politics and economic development.

Liu also serves as an active member of the CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) in their work as lobbyists to Beijing.

"He has been interested in General Chennault since he was a boy," said Kenny Zheng, from China is a friend and colleague of Liu's.

Zheng went on to say, "In college, Professor Liu became very impressed and knowledgeable about General Chennault because one of his English teachers served as one of the translators for General Chennault's team in [World War II]."

Zheng married an American whose family lived in Monroe for many years. Zheng and his wife taught English in China for two and a half years and maintained a friendship with Professor Liu.

Once Liu learned that Zheng had a connection to Monroe, he was very excited about the possibility of visiting the city.

"On one occasion, my father-in-law asked me if I knew about General Chennault," Zheng said. "I knew he was a great hero in China. He told me there was a museum honoring the Flying Tigers in Monroe run by General Chennault's daughter. As we shared this information with our friend Professor Liu, he became so excited and immediately said he needed to invite Rosemary (Chennault Simrall) to visit China. Rosemary and her daughter Nell (Calloway) were able to come to China, and she could look with her own eyes at the land her dad saved from Japanese capture."

Rosemary Chennault Simrall recalls being treated like a visiting dignitary, as the residents of Chengdu especially have a long memory and lasting gratitude for General Chennault as an individual who did so much to preserve their region.

Among the other honors she received, Simrall was presented the "Lifetime Honorary Co-Chairperson of the General Claire L. Chennault & Governor James A. Noe Research Institute of the Sichuan Dong Hua Academy for Science & Humanities Integrated Research, Chengdu, China."

And in a reciprocal manner, Liu will visit Monroe and ULM. This is the first visit to the U.S. for Liu and his wife, Yuanli Wang. They will also visit Washington, D.C. and New York to learn more about this country and to sightsee.

By Sara Palazzo

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