By Jianyu Hou, freelancer based in Cleveland, OH. USA
China’s President Xi Jinping is visiting the United States from September 22 to 25 in the hopes of promoting Asian-Pacific regional and the world peace. As the first and second largest economies of the world, both sides have shared interests that are more than just engaging in conflicts in regards to the economy and geopolitics.
The Chinese and Americans are also different from a cultural perspective. Accordingly, bilateral communications and cooperation remain essential to create win-win scenarios for both countries that would benefit the whole world.
People-to-people exchanges can act as a pivotal tool to outstanding communication. The main trends have been geared towards supporting world peace and cooperation in recent decades.
Last year at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Beijing, China and the US had reached an agreement that the validity duration of Chinese student visas to the U.S. has been prolonged from one year to five years, making US trips more convenient.
Nevertheless, some U.S. government officials still insist on a cold-war mindset and label China with negative stereotypes.
The American media has also focused too much on the negative side of Chinese society. Additionally, Americans have enjoyed citizenship under a super power status for more than a hundred years, and now they feel threatened by a rising China.
Yet they cannot ignore that the fast development and revival of China that has impacted their daily lives; such as consumption and job market. Hence, student exchanges can shoulder a greater responsibility to convey a brighter messages between both nations.
According to statistics in 2014, in the 2013-2014 academic year, there were more than 274,000 new Chinese students studying in the US, increasing by 16.5% compared with the previous year. Now China has become the largest source of international students for the country.
Thanks to China’s economic prosperity, more and more Chinese families can afford trips abroad. Unlike the first batch of Chinese students studying in the U.S., many Chinese students consider it a journey to experience a different culture rather than an opportunity to escape poverty.
Studying abroad is no longer a one-way but a round-way trip that brings ideas and technology to both sides. Those who stay in the U.S. after graduation have set many good examples of hardworking values for other races to aspire to, and have verified that the American Dream can still come true through diligent efforts.
They promote the diversification of America’s working environment, and also have contributed much to the development of the U.S., especially in STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics) sectors. Meanwhile, those who return to China have brought many updated ideas from the West.
With years of experience in the US, Chinese students have also brought Chinese culture to America. Many Americans started to use chopsticks, enjoy Chinese food, learn Chinese, and even marry Chinese people. Around the Mid-Autumn Day this year, many American universities hold related festivities.
Some Americans have joined the events, since they have friends or families who are Chinese. They showed a strong interest to travel and study in China as well. One American student said that he would go to China; because the Chinese students he’s friendly with have aroused his curiosity about the country’s long-and-storied history.
Several Chinese students have also expressed strong support for Americans who want to learn more about their Far East Asian super power counterparts, in order to avoid misunderstandings due to cultural differences.
On the other side, China treats international students more seriously. As China’s top educational institute, Peking University established the Yenching Academy last year at the center of the campus, aiming to attract international students from all over the globe and to increase a multilateral understanding of the world.
This program provides full tuition waivers for all 100 students enrolled in the 2015 fall semester. Peking University is sending a signal that Beijing will admit more international students, including those from America in the near future, which can play a crucial role to boost bilateral relations.
(This article was first published on Panview Channel, CCTV.com)
( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )