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Chinese overseas students proud of Xi and Peng

By Dong Leshuo (China Daily USA)

Updated: 2015-09-26 14:10:36


Thousands of people wearing red T-shirts showed up at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and outside the White House in Washington on Thursday and Friday to greet Chinese President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan.

Many of them were international students from China studying in the US.

"I'm so proud to wear the China red today," Ma Ning posted on her Wechat with photos showing her and her friends wearing red T-shirts on Friday.

"It's my first time to greet our president in a foreign country," He Yazhi, a graduate student at Georgetown University told China Daily.

"It is a very critical time that president Xi visits the US," He added. "While the local papers covered more about the pope's visit on their front pages, I think Xi's visit plays an important role. China Daily has played a very critical role in informing people about Xi's visit."

He Yanzhi was not alone in considering Xi's visit critical to both China and the US.

"President Xi's first state visit to the US not only demonstrates the importance of the relationship between two of the world's largest economies, but also underlines China's willingness to shoulder more responsibilities over regional and global issues, as his visit also coincides with the launch of the UN's new Millennium Development Goals," said Yuan Piye, a graduate student at Columbia University, who has been following Xi's visit to the US and listened to his speech in Washington live.

"I'm sure that President Xi and President Obama need to go through some difficult issues such as cyber security, anti-corruption campaigns, the South China Sea, and so forth. But I am confident that the commonalities between both nations overwhelm these little differences, especially after he jokingly stressed that the anti-corruption campaign in China was 'not a power struggle, not House of Cards' in the speech he gave in Washington state," Yuan said.

"As a Chinese student in the US, I am happy to see how China is playing a more decisive and responsible role in world issues by perfecting its own mechanisms, working hand-in-hand with the US and contributing more to international endeavors like the UN's Millennium Development Goals," Yuan added.

He Lijun, an assistant professor at Pace University in New York and former international student at Indiana University, has also been following the news about President Xi's visit.

"My impression is that many Americans value the importance of this visit," He said, "because China is one of the most important partners and competitors in the global arena. I look forward to learning more about the collaborations between the two countries on global governance and social innovation, other than economic development. I really want to see more open conversations about how China is going to open up its Internet market to the world. "

According to the Institute of International Education's 2014 Open Doors report, Chinese nationals are the fastest-growing student population in US colleges, with more than 274,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2013-14 academic year. Students from China now make up 31 percent of all international students in the United States.

Overseas Chinese students care about how China's image is presented in the US and how Americans view President Xi's visit.

"I feel in general Americans are pretty friendly and positive about President Xi's visit," said Sun Sha, a graduate student in arts management at George Mason University.

President Xi and first lady Peng have a positive image among the students. A lot of the students call themselves fensi, or fans, of President Xi and Madam Peng. They call President Xi Xidada, which means Great Xi, and they call Madam Peng Pengmama, or Mother Peng.

"I think President Xi must be very honest and upright, as he is carrying out a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign in China. I like him and Madam Peng Liyuan," said Zhen Zhao, a graduate accounting student at George Mason University.

"President Xi is different from other leaders of the Communist party," said Lei Haolin, another student at George Mason. "Americans used to think not so highly of communist leaders but now they think they are approachable."

"President Xi's smile is so warm but powerful. Madam Peng is so graceful, beautiful and elegant," Sun said.

"I would like to present more traditional Chinese virtues and promote the image of Chinese people in the future," Sun said.

"I hope more and more people get to know and understand China," Ma said on her Wechat post.

Zhang Yue contributed to this story.