Hu gives US students welcome

Updated: 2011-07-16 07:43

(China Daily)

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Hu gives US students welcome

President Hu Jintao shares a light moment with US teachers and students from Chicago-based Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, at Zhongnanhai, the central leadership compound in Beijing, on Friday. Photo by Lan Hongguang / Xinhua

Young group gets warm greeting from president at Zhongnanhai

BEIJING - During an unprecedented tour of Zhongnanhai, the seat of the Chinese central government, a group of American students was warmly greeted by someone whom they could hardly have expected to meet - Chinese President Hu Jintao.

More than 20 students and teachers from the Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, which President Hu toured during his state visit to the United States in January, came to Zhongnanhai on Friday, China Central Television reported on Xinwenlianbo, the most-watched news program in China.

Hu invited the group to travel in China from July 11 to July 24.

On Friday, CCTV's footage showed the students lining up to greet President Hu after they had been guided among various sights by Zhongnanhai workers. The cameras zoomed in to capture the president embracing each of the students.

"Glad to see you again," said Hu, who was all smiles. "I am delighted to welcome you to Zhongnanhai."

"We are very honored and very happy," the students said.

Speaking in front of the Zhanxulou (The Pavilion of Placid Leisure), the students told Hu about their experiences in China and the feelings those had left them with. Of everything they had seen, they said, the Forbidden City left the deepest impression.

CCTV's cameras showed the president guiding the students to Yingxunting, a traditional Chinese summerhouse inside the park-like government compound. As he went, he discussed the history of Zhongnanhai.

Once indoors, the students presented Hu with a painting depicting a panda, the Great Wall and high-rise buildings in the US. On it were the words "Grandpa Hu, we love you" in Chinese characters.

The president had learned earlier that Friday was the birthday of one of the students - a girl in the 10th grade - and seized the occasion at Zhongnanhai to give her a present. She responded with a look of astonishment, repeating the words "thank you" again and again, according to CCTV's footage.

The students then read in Chinese a poem by the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) poet Meng Haoran, Visiting an Old Friend on His Farm, to express their gratitude for the hospitality they were being shown.

"Preparing me chicken and rice, old friend, you entertain me at your farm," goes an English translation of the opening lines of the verse.

"They kept reading that poem over and over again when they prepared for the show," said a Chinese student at the Beijing Language and Culture University who taught the poem to the students.

"I can tell that they think it is a great honor to perform in front of the president."

Finishing the poem, the students sang Welcome to Beijing, the theme song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Hu took the end of the meeting as an occasion to say he is convinced that cooperation between the peoples of China and the United States, including the young, will ensure the countries' relations with one another will "become deep-rooted in the people's minds and bear abundant fruits".

About 100,000 US students will study in China in the next four years under an education program begun in January by President Hu and his US counterpart, Barack Obama.



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