Jerry Brown gets assist from Yao Ming during Shanghai river cruise


SHANGHAI -- It was a quiet day for California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, beginning with a meeting of a ranking local Communist Party official and capped with a river cruise featuring former NBA superstar Yao Ming.

Just another day in China for Brown and his delegation of nearly 100 government and business officials.

The light schedule of the day was a welcome respite for a delegation that has bounced from government meetings to lavish meals this week. Many on the trip are holding side meetings with Chinese business officials, trying to drum up business for their companies back home.


There is a noticeable weariness setting in among the delegates, after six days of little sleep, marathon meetings and food and wine sessions to match. Some, like California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg have peeled off and headed back stateside, while others are pressing on, heading south to the province of Guangdong (formerly known as Canton), where Brown is expected to focus on environmental policy Monday.

Brown will leave Shanghai via bullet train Sunday morning for a brief stop in California’s sister province of Nanjing before joining flying south to join the rest of the delegation Sunday afternoon.

The governor started the day Saturday by meeting with Han Zheng, the party secretary of Shanghai. Carrying a copy of James Fallows’ “China Airborn” under his arm, Brown met with Han for about 20 minutes, covering a variety of topics ranging from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to traditional Chinese medicine.

Saturday night, Brown clinked glasses with Yao Ming, who has begun exporting Napa Valley wine to China under the Yao Family Wines label. The 7-foot-6 former NBA star was later mobbed by delegates snapping cellphone pictures with him as the boat prepared to get underway.

Brown, meanwhile, offered some advice for his guests before the cruise began. “Nobody fall overboard,” he said. “because we’re not stopping for you.”



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