Feature: Americans eye closer exchanges with China

Updated: February 27, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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by Xinhua writer Tan Jingjing

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. performers in traditional Chinese garments took to the stage at a gathering in Los Angeles, and showcased folk music, songs, and even tongue twisters in Chinese language.

The occasion was adorned in gold and red as more than 100 people, with many of them having studied in China, gathered for the Chinese Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.

Chinese heritage and culture were celebrated with traditional music, cultural performances, improv comedy and authentic Chinese food.

"We are a bridge connecting cultures and facilitating mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States and China. We hope to see more bilateral exchanges including youth exchanges in the future," Angela Efros, chairwoman of the Study in China Alumni Association (SCAA), organizer of the event, told Xinhua.

"The purpose of our organization is to help people who are interested in Chinese culture, speak Chinese language, learn Chinese, to continue to improve their Chinese language skills and have better professional opportunities," Efros said.

SCAA unites the alumni community who have studied in China, while promoting U.S.-China cultural exchanges, Chinese language education, professional development, and various forms of connections.

Efros told Xinhua she will travel to China this year for exchange programs with Chinese universities, such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, and her own alma mater, Xiangtan University in Hunan Province.

"I learned the Chinese language through studying Chinese song lyrics. The first Chinese song I learned, Pengyou (Friend), has held deep meaning for me ever since. This song resonates profoundly with my memories of China, symbolizing the friendships and connections I forged during my time in that beautiful country," Efros said.

Like Efros, many attendees have studied in China. They shared their memories living in China, and the full-house audience sang along the well-known Chinese song Pengyou.

"I began my Chinese education at Bard College in New York, igniting my interest in the language and culture. This led me to the Chinese Flagship program at the Ohio State (University), and later Peking University in Beijing. Both refined my language skills," said Cassandra Olson, a native Texan.

"Studying in China is not just a chapter. It's a foundation," said Olson, SCAA vice chairwoman.

Yue-Sai Kan, a Chinese-American television host, producer, author, and entrepreneur, expressed her hope that young people would serve as the bridge between China and the United States.

Kan, an Emmy Award winner, is also renowned for her work in bridging the gap between the two countries. She had created her TV series "Looking East," which was the first of its kind to introduce Asian cultures and customs to a growing and receptive American audience.

Kan said she hopes the two countries will get along very well, share culture and cement friendship.

"The Year of the Dragon is so special. Dragon presents power, strength and courage," said U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu. "Through these relationships and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and China, I'm confident that we will benefit from greater collaboration."

Editor: Duan Jing