China party un­folds near White House

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHINA DAILY in Wash­ing­ton

The El­lipse lawn in front of the White House turned into a “bloom­ing gar­den” on La­bor Day as a mas­sive “flash mob” of nearly 1,000 in col­or­ful cos­tumes gath­ered to cel­e­brate the 2016 China–US Tourism Year.

“This event is an in­ter­est­ing and sym­bolic part of the cel­e­bra­tions of the Tourism Year, which was first an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Xi and Pres­i­dent Obama last year,” said Li Kexin, min­is­ter of the Chi­nese em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton.

The “Su­per Flash Mob” cel­e­bra­tion cer­e­mony was ini­ti­ated by the China Na­tional Tourist Of­fice in New York with as­sis­tance from the China Amer­ica Friend­ship As­so­ci­a­tion. The event was geared to­ward in­creas­ing Amer­i­can aware­ness of Chi­nese cul­ture and to serve as a plat­form for peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change, said Pan Xiaopeng, deputy di­rec­tor of the tourist of­fice.

Pan said the event also was sup­ported by the US De­part­ment of Com­merce, the mayor’s of­fice in Wash­ing­ton and the US Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

The cer­e­mony fea­tured 11 di­verse groups per­form­ing var­i­ous art and cul­tural for­mats, in­clud­ing mar­tial arts, tra­di­tional Chi­nese opera, sing­ing, in­stru­ment-play­ing, danc­ing and gymnastics.

The groups took turns per­form­ing and then gath­ered as a flash mob team shouted “China go, US go” as their slo­gan at the end of the show.

“I’m very, very ex­cited, and I know that this event is about uni­fy­ing China and Amer­ica,” said singer Jen­nifer Ge­len­cia, a key mem­ber of a group con­sist­ing mainly of African-Amer­i­can singers. Ge­len­cia sang a song called I Be­lieve at the event.

The Jing Qi Han art troupe from New York staged a fa­mous Beijing Opera pas­sage Ode to the Pear Tree from Tang Con­cu­bines.

“Both our Han cos­tume and Beijing Opera it­self are parts of the quin­tes­sence of Chi­nese cul­ture,” said Li Caixia, who leads the troupe. “It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary op­por­tu­nity for us to show our tra­di­tional cul­ture to the United States.”

“You are bring­ing Chi­nese cul­ture to us,” said Solomon P. Or­tiz, a for­mer US con­gress­man from Texas.

“When peo­ple from the two cul­tures, Chi­nese and Amer­i­cans, get to know and talk to each other, they cre­ate a sense of un­der­stand­ing,” Or­tiz said.

Or­tiz likened the China-US re­la­tion­ship to a mar­riage. “Some­times you are mar­ried, you don’t agree with every­thing, but you stay to­gether and try to work out the dif­fer­ences.”

Or­tiz, who said he has been to China more than 30 times, loves the Chi­nese peo­ple and their his­tory.

He also said the event was fam­ily friendly and some­thing that all ages could en­joy.

When Karen Ber­nal passed by the El­lipse lawn with her friends, she was in­trigued by the per­for­mances.

“I’ve seen them on TV, but never saw it live,” she said. “It’s like telling a story (of an­ther coun­try).”

CAI CHUN­Y­ING / CHINA DAILY

Mar­tial arts teams per­form at the El­lipse in front of the White House on Mon­day as part of the “Su­per Flash Mob” cer­e­mony to cel­e­brate the 2016 China-US Tourism Year. The event was or­ga­nized by the China Na­tional Tourist Of­fice and the China Amer­ica Friend­ship As­so­ci­a­tion.

CAI CHUN­Y­ING / CHINA DAILY

Zhu Hong (stand­ing, in white shirt) and Li Kexin (to Zhu’s left), both min­is­ters of the Chi­nese em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton, along with for­mer Texas con­gress­man Solomon P. Or­tiz (to Li’s left) gather with per­form­ers of the “Su­per Flash Mob” at the El­lipse in front of the White House on Mon­day.

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