China and Russia have injected fresh momentum into their friendship as one of the largest groups of Russian teenagers to visit China in recent years completed its stay Monday.
Nearly 500 Russian teenagers attended a summer camp from July 31 to August 9 as guests of Chinese President Hu Jintao. The camp reciprocates Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's hosting of 1500 Chinese students in Russia for rehabilitation after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked southwest China in May 2008.
"The visit increases the young Russians' knowledge about China. More importantly, they made friends with Chinese kids, which contributes to lasting goodwill between the two countries," said Valerie Marzoev, who led the delegation and is the director of the children's center in Russia that received the young Chinese for rehabilitation in 2008 and 2009.
The young Russians visited historical Chinese sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Beijing Olympics venues. They also met their Chinese peers on visits to local schools.
The group divided into two to visit the coastal cities of Qingdao and Dalian.
In northeastern coastal city of Dalian, the teenagers paid tribute to two towers that marking the friendship between the two countries.
Recalling their stay in China, the young Russians said they felt the great hospitality of the Chinese which reflects the increasingly close bilateral relationship.
"China-Russia people exchanges are not just lip service. We organize real activities to foster a goodwill between the two peoples," said Yu Jihai, a Chinese Ministry of Education official.
To consolidate cultural cooperation, 2009 was designated the "Year of the Russian Language" in China and 2010 the "Year of the Chinese Language" in Russia.
More than 18,000 Chinese are studying in Russia and nearly 9,000 Russians are studying in China.
"Russia and China are handing over the baton of friendship to the younger generation in a move that makes us confident about the future relationship," Marzoev said.