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Steiner, Sanchez Secure Chinese Student's Visa

July 29, 1998|YUNG KIM

A young woman in China has a Republican supervisor and a Democratic congresswoman from Orange County to thank for clearing the way for her to study in the United States.

William G. Steiner, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, was on a cultural exchange trip in Tianjin, China, last week with a choral group from Laguna Niguel when he found himself in the middle of an immigration controversy.

On July 22, workers at Tianjin's foreign affairs office asked for help in acquiring a student visa for Mu Yang, a local 18-year-old, who had received a five-year scholarship to attend Drexel University in Philadelphia in the fall. But the American Embassy in Beijing had denied her a visa.

To make matters worse, Yang had skipped the Chinese national college entrance exams earlier in the month because of the offer from Pennsylvania.

"I have three daughters of my own; I'm a pushover," Steiner said. "I met her [Yang] and her mother a day later, and they were wonderful people. . . . I didn't promise anything, because I thought I would have to return home and make calls."

But Steiner immediately called Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove, a member of the National Security Commission, and asked for help. Sanchez said she made some calls, "and within four hours we had a meeting arranged for [Steiner] at the embassy."

On Friday, Steiner was in Beijing, explaining the situation to an official at the embassy. Two days later, Steiner returned home to hear the news.

"I got the message Sunday night from the foreign affairs office that the visa was granted," Steiner said. Yang "couldn't believe it. I invited her to come to Orange County on her recess. It's not that far away."

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