By MINLU ZHANG in Garland, Texas | Global Chinese Daily | Updated: 2022-06-01 10:56
The Chinese ambassador to the United States on Tuesday encouraged American students to learn Chinese, because a healthy bilateral relationship between China and the United States needs people who truly understand China and the Chinese language.
“For China-US relations to achieve long-term, stable and healthy development, and for the United States to formulate correct China policies, there must be people who really understand China, who know the Chinese language,” Ambassador Qin said. Gang.
Qin was warmly welcomed by students and teachers at an international school outside Dallas, Texas, where Mandarin Chinese is a required course for students.
“I encourage you to learn Chinese, just like how Chinese students learn English. Language creates communication, and communication leads to understanding and trust. With mutual understanding and trust, there can be better bilateral relations,” Qin told the International Leadership students. of Texas, Garland High School.
Over the past decades, China-US cooperation has “come a long way”, Qin said. “We have not only promoted the economic and social development of the two countries, but also made important contributions to world peace and development.
“But we face more complexities and challenges today, such as climate change, the Ukraine crisis, COVID-19. Countries need to stand together and work together, and cooperation between China and the United States- United is particularly important,” the ambassador said.
Unfortunately, in recent years, China-US relations have encountered unprecedented difficulties, he said.
Misunderstandings and misjudgments led to the decline of mutual trust, Qin said.
“The important reason is that very few people in the US government and academics are fluent in the Chinese language. Some Chinese experts don’t speak Chinese at all. They know very little about China. They only trust second-hand information and even misinformation. Qin said.
“Thus, our relationships have been deeply misled by misunderstanding as a result of widespread misinformation, second-hand and even third-hand information.”
Qin also recalled Deng Xiaoping’s trip to the United States in 1979. When Deng went on an icebreaking trip to the United States, Texas was one of the stops on the trip.
Kitty Van Dries, who was 15 at the time, was chosen to give Deng a white cowboy hat as a gift.
After 43 years, Van Dries presented another white cowboy hat as a gift to Ambassador Qin on Tuesday.
The cowboy hat “has functioned as a symbol of friendship between Chinese and Americans. It is amazing that 43 years ago, the girl who presented the hat to Mr. Deng Xiaoping is now here with us “, said Qin.
“I was very honoured,” Van Dries told reporters. She said Tuesday’s event was “a bit overwhelming, a bit emotional”. “Communication is what it’s all about, no matter what. … Deng Xiaoping had an interpreter. It would have been nice if I had known some Chinese, that would have been something. had to do it again, it’s a language I would learn,” said Van Dries.
“We hope that what we can do in the future, there will be a lot of Americans and especially Texans who can visit business people and government officials and speak the Chinese language,” said Eddie Conger, founder of the school and general superintendent.
“Our relationship between the United States and China has gone through several different transitions. The more we can speak in each other’s language, the better this world is going to be,” Conger said.
There are about 21,000 American children learning Chinese at the International Leadership of Texas, Conger told China Daily. By learning the language and especially the Chinese culture, “it only brings us closer together to be able to solve very important problems,” he said.
China and the United States, the two largest economies in the world, the two most powerful countries in the world, “if we can speak each other’s language…it helps us to be closer, to understand each other better. So there can always be friendly competition,” Conger said.