Rekindling ties on the ping-pong table

By He Qi and Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2021-04-10 17:29
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[Video by He Qi]

Thirteen US citizens residing in Shanghai and neighboring provinces and 13 Chinese amateur table tennis players partnered one another to play friendly doubles matches at the International Table Tennis Federation Museum and China Table Tennis Museum in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon.

The friendly competition was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ping-Pong Diplomacy, an event in 1971 that saw 15 members of the US table tennis delegation visit China. That was the first time in 22 years that a US group visited China.

That historic trip on April 10, 1971, which saw the US delegation play friendly matches in Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, was credited with reviving Sino-US relations.

The event on Saturday was also attended by officials and diplomats from the US and China, including US Consul General James Heller and American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai President Ker Gibbs, and some 50 journalists from local and foreign media agencies.

In his video address at the opening ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai extended his congratulations for the successful hosting of the event, noting that Ping-Pong Diplomacy has always been significant to the history of China-US relations.

"We must pay tribute to the older generation of Chinese and American leaders for their extraordinary strategic foresight and high art of diplomacy, and appreciate all those who participated in this part of history," Cui said.

According to Cui, this event went beyond sports exchanges and had a far-reaching impact on shaping China-US relations and the world, China and the US can and must transcend their differences and find a way to win-win cooperation.

He added that China and the United States share a common responsibility of maintaining world peace, stability and prosperity, and that people-to-people exchanges have always been an engine and lubricant of China-US relations.

"China is willing and ready to work with the US in the spirit of mutual respect and friendship, with the view of helping each other achieve greater success through mutually beneficial cooperation and healthy competition," he said.

Sheri Cioroslan, former president of USA Table Tennis, shared her memories in a video speech on Saturday.

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