While the Internet makes Western pop music ever more available to Chinese with on-line downloads, a growing number of foreigners are warming to the unique charm of China's diverse folk music.
Van Zuylen, from the Netherlands, made a special trip late last month to Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where an international folk song and art festival was being held.
Zuylen said Chinese folk songs had an appealing power .
The Dutchman hoped to hear more folk music during the trip and said Chinese people should take pride in their rich culture and music.
At the festival, which ran from November 22 to 26, Lavinia Craciunescu, an amateur singer from Romania, won applause from the audience for singing a Chinese folk song entitled "Ocean, My Homeland" in standard Mandarin.
People in Romania were familiar with Chinese folk songs, and liked the tempo of the music, though many do not understand Chinese language, said Craciunescu.
China has a rich folk music culture. Including Han people, China is home to 56 ethnic groups. Most of the country's ethnic groups live in western China.
For people from China's minority ethnic groups, singing is a part of life.
Jia Yuanpei, of the Dong ethnic group from Xiaohuang Village, Dongjiang County of Southwest China's Guizhou Province, said: "We Dong people believe singing is the best way to express ourselves at functions such as greeting guests, meeting friends, finding lovers and celebrating good news."
(China Daily December 17, 2002)