Vice President Xi Jinping Tells a Story about the Friendly Exchange between China and the United States
A Seldom-Heard Name of the Place, an Anecdote about of the Friendship
- Vice President Xi Jinping Tells a Story about the Friendly Exchange between China and the United States
For most Chinese people, "Guling" is likely to be a strange place name. But for Milton Gardner, who once lived in this town at the beginning of the last century, Guling, located between mountains in Fuzhou, Fujian, is a place that condensed his happiest childhood.
On the 15th of February, the lights were gleaming at Marshall Hall, Marriott Hotel, Washington D.C. Friendly organizations in the United States held a luncheon to welcome Vice President Xi to the United States. During his speech, Xi told the guests a touching story of the friendly exchange between the two countries.
In the spring of 1992, Xi Jinping, who was Secretary of CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee, saw in the newspaper an article entitled, "Ah! Guling", which told about an American couple, who were deeply attached to a place in China, Guling. They were eager to revisit the place, but their efforts ended in vain.
Milton Gardner was a professor of physics at the University of California. In 1901, he came to China with his parents. He had spent 10 years of his happy childhood in Guling, Fuzhou. In 1911, the Gardner family moved back to California, the United State. He always maintained the eating habits he developed in China. His biggest wish is to revisit his childhood hometown, but was unable to do so due to various reasons. Gardner kept uttering "Kuling, kuling" in the final hours of his life. His wife Elizabeth Gardner didn't know where Guling was. But to fulfill the dying wish of her husband, she had since made several trips to China in an attempt to find the small town. Her efforts ended in vain as she had few clues about its exact location. Later, an overseas student learned of the story and helped Mrs Gardner figure out that Guling is in Fuzhou, Fujian.
After reading the touching but regretful story, Xi immediately had government officials contact Mrs Gardner and invite her to visit Guling.
In August 1992, this regretful story finally had a happy ending. Mrs Gardner departed from San Francisco and arrived in Fuzhou by way of Beijing. Xi Jinping and Mrs Gardner met in Fuzhou. Although it was their first meeting, they were like old friends. Under the arrangement of Xi, Mrs Gardner came to Guling, the place that her husband loved so much during his lifetime. She saw the the beautiful place and it seemed that she had seen her husband wandering in the green mountains in the the intervening misty clouds.
"That day, there were nine 90-year-old childhood playmates of Mr Gardner sitting together with Mrs Gardner to talk about the past. She was very delighted," said Xi. There were more than 700 guests from the business and political communities listening to the story told by Xi. They were all deeply moved.
"I believe that among the people of China and the United States, there are many touching stories like this. We should further strengthen the exchange between Chinese and American people and cultivate the most solid basis of public opinion for the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the United States." Xi's narration about this moving story about China-US friendship has won warm applause from the presence of guests.
At the special moment when the friends from different sectors, who are concerned of the development of China-US relations, gathered together to recall their old friendship, Xi Jinping also specifically referred to the following set of convincing data, indicating the breadth and depth of China-US relations:
- Compared with 40 years ago when China and United states restarted relationship and 20 years ago when Mrs Gardner returned to China, personnel exchanges between China and the United States increased rapidly. Each year, there were more than 3 million people flying over the Pacific, shuttling between China and the United States and engaging in various activities and exchanges.
- "China and the United States have established 38 pairs of sister states and provinces and 176 pairs of sister cities."
- "At present, China is stepping up efforts to implement the 'Three 10,000' project, In four years time, China will provide scholarships for 10,000 American college students to study in China, 10,000 persons coming to study in China through 'Chinese Bridge' program, and sending 10,000 Chinese through government scholarship to the United States to pursue doctoral degrees in the U.S. The U.S. government is also actively implementing the plan of 'sending 100,000 Americans to study in China."
This indicates that China and the United States enjoy the broad prospects for local cooperation and there are also successors for people-to=people exchanges.
Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states. Communication with heart holds the key to the amity between people. The touching stories among the people of the two countries, like the strings of notes, are merged into a broad movement of China-US relations, which echoes along the two sides of the Pacific.
"I hope that there will be more people from all walks of life from the two countries joining the cause of China-US friendship. We should follow the momentum, ride the wind and waves, seize opportunities, strengthen exchanges, enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation, and continuously push forward the China-U.S. cooperative partnership." When Xi finished his speech, the audience broke into long and enthusiastic applause.