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A 'China' tour at UN headquarters


Updated: 2015-09-17 13:33:08


UNITED NATIONS - As a landmark complex in the New York City, the United Nations headquarters has drawn approximately a million visitors from all over the world every year.

For these visitors, the UN prepares guided tours for them to learn about the world body. Huichun Li, who comes from China's eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, is one of the tour guides at the UN, working in both Mandarin and English.

When asked to pick a symbolic view of the UN, the 30-year-old man chose national flags of the 193 UN member states flapping in the wind along the 1st Avenue of New York.

"Their flags are listed from 48th street to 42nd street, from A to Z. A represents Afghanistan, and Z is Zimbabwe," he introduced.

"As for the national flag of China, you can find it somewhere near the 46th street," he added.

Established at the end of the World War II, the UN carries the common will of peace-loving countries to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

The UN Charter, enshrining purposes and principles of the organization, was signed on June 26, 1945 by representatives from 50 war-weary countries. China was the first country to sign the Charter.

"I have a strong belief in this organization," Li said. "I think there is no other place in the world that can gather so many countries together to find solutions to disputes or problems."

It is part of Li's job to introduce to visitors from all over the world the history of the UN, and its work on disarmament, peacekeeping, and the Millennium Development Goals, etc.

Every day, he tours some 60 visitors inside the UN headquarters complex, showing them iconic spots, including the General Assembly Hall, the chamber of the Security Council, and the chamber of Trusteeship Council.

"For Chinese visitors, I always mention a little bit more about China," Li said.

Apart from some well-known facts, such as China gained its seat as one of the five permanent members due to its contribution to the victory of the World War II, Li also prepares additional details to feed his audience.

When he introduces the not widely known Trusteeship Council tasked with supervising the administration of trust territories, he said the council's members were the five permanent members of the Security Council.

That "means China also played a role in there in helping those non-self-governing territories to gain independence through the procedure," he said.

Although Li got his UN job only two months ago, he is quite familiar with elements that related to his own nationality at his workplace. Besides those included in the guided tour, there are also presents from China that have been placed somewhere else at the UN, he said.

"There is a bronze tripod placed in the garden of the UN ... and a tapestry depicting China's Great Wall hanging in the delegates' north lounge," he listed.

The Centenary Tripod, designed by craftsmen in Shanghai, was presented to the UN by China in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. It is 2.1 meters high and weighs 1.5 tons.

Cast in bronze, the tripod is one of the utensils that reflect Chinese civilization. It was considered a sacrificial vessel of the ancient times and represented stability, tranquility and peace, according to Li.

"When I came to the UN for the first time as a visitor, the tripod caught my attention immediately," he recalled.

"And I know that the Great Wall tapestry was a hand-made gift by women workers in Tianjin, a metropolis in northern China," he added.

The tapestry depicts the majestic Great Wall running for miles and miles over mountains and lush forestry shown in the picture symbolizes the prosperity and vitality of the country. It measures 10 meters by five meters, according to Li.

He said working with colleagues from all over the world at a place of so much diversity is very interesting.

"This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN and also the beginning of my career here, I feel very honored to be one part of the UN," he said.

"As a Chinese, I envision the UN as a very collaborative organization," he said. "As long as we have the same faith and passion, this will be a better place for everyone."