BEIJING - Gov. Jerry Brown arrived in Beijing on Tuesday evening for his week-long trade mission to China, marveling at the pace of construction under China's one-party rule and suggesting - however wistfully - it is a lesson he could apply in California.
"Boy, you've done a lot of building," the Democratic governor said. "When I get back to California, the bulldozers are going to roll."
Brown last visited China in 1986. He has praised China for its construction of more than 5,000 miles of high-speed rail infrastructure in recent years, while he has spent decades calling for a high-speed rail system in California, only about to begin construction this year.
Brown said he is aware of political concerns in Washington about China.
"I know there are a lot of politics that go on in Washington, but we're from California and we're not interested in politics," Brown said.
He said the state is only interested in business: "We're a green state, and we like greenbacks."
Brown's remarks came just hours after his flight from California landed in Beijing, China's capital city. He addressed delegates over a lavish dinner at The China Club, a former palace.
He spent much of the evening in conversation with a Chinese investor sitting beside him.
Brown's United Airlines flight out of San Francisco was delayed, and a representative of the airline, a sponsor of the dinner, drew laughs when she apologized to him.
Brown, who turned 75 on Sunday, was also presented a birthday cake.
The Democratic governor will open the business portion of his trade mission with a news conference on Wednesday morning, followed by meetings with Chinese officials and a reception Wednesday evening at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.