“China is Alright”: a Summer Camp for Overseas Chinese students from Laos

China Radio International‘s Mandarin service renders a newslet by China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest state-owned newsagency after Xinhua, on the field of public diplomacy.

Original title: Ethnic Chinese Laotians go to Yunnan to experience Chinese culture

CRI Online news: according to China News Service, the “2013 China is alright – the perfect Yunnan summer camp” has started in Kunming, with fourty campers and group leaders from Chinese schools in Laos. It is scheduled to go on for ten days. Apart from developing [an awareness or knowledge of, apparently] Yunnan ethnic culture, knowledge of China, and exchange, the overseas Chinese students will also experience Yunnan province’s local conditions and customs.

国际在线消息:据中新社电,“2013中国文化行—完美云南营”4日在昆明开营,来自老挝华文学校的40名营员和领队将开启为期10天的“中国文化之旅”。除了开展云南民族文化、中华知识学习和交流外,海外华裔学生还将体验云南的风土人情。

With Chinese-Laotian cooperation growing closer and the surging “Chinese language fever” in Laos, more and more ethnic Chinese and Laotians want to understand the Chinese way of life and traditional culture. Luo Bailan, a teacher and group leader with the camp, says that the Chinese schools in Laos are continuously adjusting their educational methods, to allow the students to learn by experience.

随着中老两国合作日益密切,老挝掀起了“汉语热”,越来越多的华裔和老挝人希望了解中国的生活方式与传统文化。老挝领队老师罗白兰表示,老挝的华文学校在不断调整教学方式,让学生们进行体验式教学。

Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China deputy secretary general Li Xianguo says that “China is alright” is an important part of the foundation’s “Young Ethnic Chinese Chinese Culture Heritage Project”.

中国华文教育基金会副秘书长李献国表示,“中国文化行”是中国华文教育基金会“华裔青少年中华文化传承工程”的重要组成部分。

Chinese fever, Kunming

Chinese fever – click pictdure for China News Service coverage

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) is more elaborate, adding that most of the students haven’t been to Yunnan before. Even though it has been rainy for days, and temperatures in the spring city [i. e. Kunming] are a bit low, this hasn’t affected the campers’ high spirits in the least. They are reading the course schedules of the camp reader, excitedly discuss the coming lessons and the tourist attractions. A student tells the SCIO reporter that he is most interested in poetry recital and calligraphy, and in touring the Stone Forest, the birthplace of Ashima:

“We also want to experience the culture of national minorities in the Yunnan Nationalities Village I don’t know a lot about national minorities and hope to experience a lot of interesting things”, Lin Yingcai says in fluent Chinese.

“我最期待看石林的奇山怪石,听说那里是阿诗玛的故乡,我们还要去体验云南民族村的少数民族文化,我对少数民族了解不多,希望能体验很有意思的东西。”林英才用流利的中文说。

Many Laotians and Burmese and Cambodians and North Koreans see China as a promised land, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in his 2007 book Charm Offensive (p. 137). And America, he warned, had earned itself a bad image in the past, and was still doing so:

For decades, the United States still did not grant Laos normal trading relations, though Laos’s human rights record was no worse than the record of China, with whom America traded vigorously. American sanctions on Laos infuriated Lao officials, who didn’t understand why such a big country like the United Stateswould punish a minnow – especially since during the Vietnam War, America had dropped more bombs on Laos than it dropped on Germany and Japan together during World War II, leaving Laos riddled with unexploded ordnance.

(Kurlantzick, p. 59)

Jiang Zemin visited Laos in November 2000, reportedly the first visit by a Chinese head of state. In November 2006, Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao followed up, and moved China Radio International (CRI) one step ahead of the BBC and the VoA, by pushing a button for a rebroadcasting FM station – the inauguration ceremony was reportedly broadcast live, as the rebroadcaster’s first program ever:

So, Vientiane listeners, for the first time, clearly and vividly heard the the warm voice of state chairman Hu Jintao, a visitor from a friendly neighbor.

万象听众第一次如此清晰真切地听到了来自友好邻邦——中国国家主席亲切的声音:

[...]

A CRI official said that the friendly relations between China and Laos created good conditions for CRI’s operations in Laos. According to the official, the Laotian government’s approval of CRI’s Vientiane frequency was one of only few. Before, the BBC and the VoA had applied for frequencies to the Laotian government, but had received no approval.

中国国际广播电台一位负责人说,中老两国的友好关系为国际电台节目在老挝落地创造了良好的条件。据这位负责人透露,国际电台在老挝调频落地是老挝政府已批准的为数不多的落地项目之一。之前,英国广播公司、美国之音等广播电台,均向老方提出过调频落地申请,但老挝政府未予批准。

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Related

Branding China, May 18, 2008
Meeting the Volunteers, CRI, Nov 21, 2006

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