Lebanese-Chinese couple committed to promoting friendship between two countries

Updated: November 17, 2021 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- As Lebanon and China celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, the Lebanese man Edmond Ibrahim and his Chinese wife Zhao Ying are as well embracing their 20th wedding anniversary.

In the early 1990s, driven by his interest in natural remedies and his vegan habit since early childhood, Edmond went to China, where he got the chance to learn the Chinese language and became specialized in Chinese medicine.

"With a history of thousands of years, the Chinese medicine is a medical system that embodies the philosophical mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, where one can find different kinds of culture," Edmond told Xinhua.

The couple believes their passion for learning each other's cultures has contributed to their personal growth.

"Edmond helps me understand my culture even better and delve into the roots of life and happiness," Zhao told Xinhua, saying her husband's genuine family values deepened her attachment to Lebanon.

"The family ties and personal relationships are highly valued in both China and Lebanon," she added.

Edmond's love for his family, his care for the patients, and his dedication to pursuing studies throughout the journey in China are so attractive to Zhao that have deepened her love for him.

"Chinese medicine is not an easy major, requiring the learner to put great efforts to study, analyze and practice, but Edmond successfully managed to master it. I believe it is a reflection of how the Lebanese observe the world and absorb the valuable elements from different civilizations and cultures," she said.

The young wife appreciates the Lebanese people who had endured different painful crises but always managed to survive and rise even stronger.

"Passing through many conflicts and wars, the Lebanese still stand together and never give up ... I am amazed at how Beirut was destroyed by earthquakes and tsunamis but was rebuilt six times throughout history," she said.

For Edmond, the Chinese people's strong attachment to their land also astonished him.

"The strong management and transparency in the governing of China impressed me a lot. Only when people are united and share the same development goal can we make things better and easier. This is why China, a country with the largest population in the world, is well managed in all aspects," he said.

Having stayed in Lebanon for a long time, Zhao experienced the evolution of bilateral ties. To better intensify people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, she founded the China Arab Association for Promoting Cultural and Commercial Exchange in 2008, when she received Chinese representatives of travel agencies to promote tourism in Lebanon.

Besides, Zhao witnessed the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Lebanon in 2006 and has acted as a member of the management team for four years.

For years, she kept publishing articles through Chinese media and promoted Lebanon as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Middle East.

"Without the promotion of the rich history and marvelous tourist attractions, the Chinese people would have thought Lebanon only has wars and strikes," she said.

Zhao has been recently in contact with the Jordan Tourism Board for a package tour, hoping the Chinese tourists will visit different countries in the region, including Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and others.

Starting from 2018, the Lebanese companies have participated in the China International Import Expo, she said, and in the expo 2019, with a booth, she helped Lebanese participants promote their products including wine, chocolates, soaps and other items.

As for Edmond, his short-term plan is to encourage Lebanese medicine producers to seek support from their Chinese counterparts to produce natural medicines.

"Lebanon will then export its natural medicines to the rest of the Arab world," he said.

After the Beirut port blasts, the couple organized charity activities by collecting money from the Chinese community and distributing goods and food to the local families.

China is ready to support Lebanon in various kinds of industrial development, infrastructure reconstruction and renewable energy implementation, Edmond said.

"My wife and I are always ready to help anyone who believes and treasures the long-term friendship between the two countries," he said.

"It is our destiny to fall in love years ago, but it is also our fate and glorious mission to strengthen the two counties' friendship," Edmond concluded. 

Editor: Duan Jing