China party unfolds near White House
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).”
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.
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.