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Non-governmental Exchanges Weave Sino-US Ties
Nowadays you can watch Disney ballet in Beijing and enjoy Chinese Gongfu in American cinemas. Americans stroll around traditional temple fairs during the Spring Festival and over Christmas Chinese parents call their children who are studying in the United States.

These are only a small number of the many exchanges taking place between China and the United States.

On February 21, 1972, when President Nixon visited China, there were few Americans here. Thirty years later, when President Bush is to visit, over 800,000 American people travel to China annually. In addition, a huge number of Chinese students and business people are going to America each year.

"Although I like Chinese theater very much, I was still amazed when I could see an American Walt Disney show here," said Mike Corning, an American tourist who just watched an ice ballet show from the United States.

Corning felt proud of himself when he came here thirty years ago - it was an adventure. "At that time, the number of Americans in China was almost equal to that of pandas. The Chinese media always published stories about those Americans then."

Corning has learned to ask directions in Chinese and friendly Chinese people reply in English.

As well as tourists, there are also non-governmental exchanges in areas such as education, culture and science.  

"More American students choose to learn Chinese history now. Their interest reflects their desire to understand China," says Qian Chengdan, who was invited to give lectures in many American universities recently.

Known as the "Chinese music talent", Lang Lang and the Philadelphia symphony orchestra recently took a road show around the world.

Table tennis has played a vital role in bilateral relations between China and America. A table tennis center, set up in Maryland, with assistance from former members of the Chinese national team, conducts short term courses from time to time.

From university teachers to scholars, from a charity organization in southwest China to volunteers in busy Shanghai streets, American friends can be found now.

The "Carter Center" of the United States helped to train 9,000 Chinese teachers from 1987 to 1992. The center also helped establish the Beijing Recuperation Center.

Professor Rick Down of Minnesota University has just returned from Wolong reserve area and says, "I want to do voluntary work for panda protection. Pandas are valued by all people and to assist them to survive and reproduce successfully is a global commitment."

In order to achieve his goal, Down spends two months in China every year working with the pandas.

The Cavins from Boston have come to China with their fifteen-year-old Chinese adopted daughter. Mrs. Cavin said, "I hope my daughter will observe the traditional friendship between our two nations. Her Chinese name Meihua, which means the United States and China, is the best proof of this friendship."

(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2002)

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