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Stories come to life in photos of memorable times in China

By DONG LESHUO in Washington and KONG WENZHENG in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-03 23:36
Grand Prize | Sarah G. Daley (foreground right) makes peace sign during visit to the Great Wall with students from Hebei University in the summer of 2018. 

Sarah Daley, a student at the University of Virginia, has deep connections with China. She has a sister who was adopted from China in 2009, and Sarah spent the summer of 2018 teaching local students English in Hebei province. Both experiences left her with positive impressions of Chinese people and long-lasting friendships.

Those connections led to Daley being honored by the Chinese embassy in the US, after she shared her stories to the world through an event hosted by the embassy and China Daily.

"My China Album" highlights the friendships between Chinese and Americans in celebration of the two countries' 40 years of diplomatic ties.

Daley was among hundreds of Americans who participated in My China Album from Feb 6 to April 19, sharing their personal stories about China through photos and captions.

More than a dozen of the participants were recognized for their genuine and touching stories, with Daley receiving the grand prize — two round-trip business class airline tickets to China for her and her family. An awards ceremony will be held to highlight the stories on May 4 at the Chinese embassy in Washington.

For Daley, the prize is a gift that will afford an opportunity to return to China and to continue to build relationships with Chinese people, whom Daley said "showed me such kindness and welcomed me into their country and into their lives with immediate warmth and curiosity".

The people-to-people connections were highlighted by many participants, including Charlotte Christensen, vice-president of the Oregon China Council, who had worked for years with Chinese people and organizations.

"Since the 1990s, our legislators, businesses, educators and cultural leaders have gone to China in delegations almost every year," said Christensen, who took second prize.

She also witnessed friendships going beyond the personal level. Oregon developed a sister-state relationship with China's Fujian province 35 years ago and with provincial-level city Tianjin in 2014.

For Christensen, it's important to build friendship and cooperation between China and the US on issues like environmental solutions and trade relations, which "is the kernel and the meaning of 'My China Album'," she said.

The event attracted a diverse group of participants not only from the US, but from China and other parts of the world. Some of them started their interactions with China decades ago and have witnessed the tremendous changes in the country through the years.

"I have had great respect for the People's Republic of China over many decades and watched as China raised 800 million of her people from poverty and made it a priority to restore her natural environment to become an ecological civilization," Christensen said.

"The old China is long gone, but the new China is rising," said Roger Brewer, one of the finalists who studied in China in the 1980s and 1990s and revisited the country years later.

All contest participants will receive souvenirs for their contributions to the event, which is sponsored by Air China, the China National Tourist Office in New York and the China General Chamber of Commerce – USA. Some of the stories and photos will be featured in a book to be published by China Daily later this year.

And now the organizing committee has decided that My China Album will continue to accept photos and stories that will showcase the people-to-people relations between the American and Chinese people.

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