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Festival brings call from envoy for better bilateral ties

By MINLU ZHANG in Houston | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-06-06 10:49

China's Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang celebrates Dragon Boat Festival with overseas Chinese in a Chinese School in Houston, Texas, on Friday. [Photo/us.china-embassy.gov.cn]

On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, China's Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang visited Chinatown and a Chinese School in Houston, Texas, and celebrated this traditional Chinese festival with the overseas Chinese.

"Today is the Dragon Boat Festival, welcome the ambassador to taste our freshly made zongzi," the local overseas Chinese said.

"Well, it tastes great, very authentic!" Qin said.

Ambassador Qin on Friday visited Houston's Chinatown to learn about the development of overseas Chinese in Houston, as well as their living conditions and main appeals.

Qin watched a lion dance performance, a traditional dance that is most often seen in Chinese festivals. He followed the lions to a grocery store in Chinatown, where he learned the situation of its operation, supply chains, local prices and inflation situation.

In a Chinese school outside Chinatown, Qin was impressed by the children in the school learning Qu Yuan and Confucius.

"I hope that you will learn Chinese and Chinese culture well in Huaxia Chinese School, carry forward the traditional virtues of the Chinese people, learn all kinds of knowledge and skills, exercise a strong body, grow up happily and healthily and realize your dreams," he said.

In a welcome banquet organized by the overseas Chinese community in Houston, Qin said in the history of China-US exchanges, Houston is "a special place".

About a month after the official establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, then vice-premier Deng Xiaoping paid a historic visit to the US. Houston was an important stop, the ambassador said, pointing out that 10 months later, the first Chinese consulate in the US was established in Houston.

There are more than 200 Chinese-invested enterprises in Texas. In 2018 Texas became the US state with the most exports to China, attracted the largest number of Chinese investments in the US, and has as many as 19 pairs of sister provinces and cities in China, the ambassador said.

"The two sides have maintained close exchanges in various fields including culture, education, science and technology," he added.

However, this friendly and cooperative situation was destroyed by "an unpredictable disaster", Qin said.

In July 2020, the US closed the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, which "seriously damaged China-US relations and seriously affected the normal exchanges and cooperation between the southern states of the US and China", said Qin.

The envoy said this is his first visit to Texas since he took office, and it is also the first visit by a high-level Chinese official delegation since the Chinese Consulate General in Houston was forced to close in the past two years.

"The people of Texas are warm, honest, hospitable, and have friendly feelings toward China. They all hope that China-US relations will improve as soon as possible.

"This once again strengthened my belief: the foundation of China-US relations lies in the people, and the hope lies in the people. The exchanges and cooperation between China and Texas have broad prospects and a bright future," Qin said.

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