Mandarin learners encouraged to play parts in fostering bilateral friendship
President Xi Jinping encouraged a group of United States high-school students to boost friendship between China and the US as he replied to their letter written to him in Chinese.
"I hope you will make the best of your time, study hard and contribute your part to a deeper friendship between the people of our two countries," Xi wrote in the letter, saying the young generations represent the future of the Sino-US friendship.
Over 40 students from Niles North High School in the state of Illinois who are studying Mandarin Chinese recently wrote to Xi, asking about his work, life and hobbies.
They told the Chinese leader in the letter that they are studying Mandarin, and they love the Chinese language, music and cuisine.
In his written response, Xi expressed gratitude to the students for their letter, and said he can feel from the letter their love of the Chinese language as well as their interest in Chinese culture.
Xi shared some of his personal life. He said he has a deep interest in philosophy, history, literature, culture, music and sports, and that he first cultivated many of these interests back in middle school and they have stayed with him ever since.
His job is serving the people, and he works hard with a busy schedule, but takes great pleasure in his work, Xi wrote.
The Niles North students also inquired whether Xi likes the US.
Xi answered in the letter that he has visited their country many times and is impressed with the "beautiful landscape, hospitable people and diverse culture", and he made a lot of friends, including some young people.
He said the students are "wonderful" and expressed hope that they will make greater progress in studying Chinese.
Learning Chinese will help them better understand China, and get acquainted with more Chinese friends and Chinese-speaking friends across the world, Xi said.
He said seeing is believing and he welcomes the students to visit China in the future.
Kendra Le, a Niles North freshman, was thrilled about Xi's response letter, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"I was surprised, very surprised," Le was quoted in the report as saying. "It was an honor to receive a letter from him. It was really nice getting a letter from him."
The report also said that Zhao Jian, the Chinese consul general in Chicago, personally delivered the letter to a gathering of students enrolled in Chinese classes at Niles North on April 3.
Serena Meyers, a Niles North senior taking her first year of Chinese after three terms of Spanish, was not only happy to receive the response, but also pleased at how the Chinese leader made an effort to answer the questions her classmates posed.
"I was absolutely surprised," she told the Chicago Tribune. "He has a lot to do and it was an honor he wrote back to us."
The Niles North High School began offering Mandarin courses in 2008.