China Gar­den breaks ground in DC — fi­nally

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chinadailyusa.com

Af­ter more than a decade in the plan­ning, ground was fi­nally bro­ken on what will be the largest Chi­nese gar­den in North Amer­ica. The cer­e­mony took place on Oct 28 in­side the US Na­tional Ar­bore­tum in Wash­ing­ton, less than 3 miles from Capi­tol Hill.

The China Gar­den, a joint project by the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and China’s State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion, started as early as Oc­to­ber 2004 when the two gov­ern­ments signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing for the project.

Jiang Ze­hui, the Chi­nese ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the project and now also vice-chair of the Com­mit­tee of Pop­u­la­tion, Re­sources and En­vi­ron­ment of Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence (CPPCC), was one of the sig­na­to­ries of the orig­i­nal MOU.

“The ground-break­ing cer­e­mony to­day for the China Gar­den by the Chi­nese and US sides sig­nals that a 12-year dream will come true,” she said on Fri­day.

The 12-acre China Gar­den in the heart of the Na­tional Ar­bore­tum will in­cor­po­rate the best parts of Chi­nese gar­dens in China, in­clud­ing the Moun­tain House of Sliced Stone, Boat Hall, Geyuan Gar­den, Five-Pavil­ion Bridge and White Pagoda in Yangzhou and Fish View­ing at Flower Har­bor in Hangzhou’s West Lake.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ap­proved the Oc­to­ber ground break­ing when they met in Hangzhou in early Septem­ber at the G20 Sum­mit.

The cer­e­mony at the ar­bore­tum took place on a sunny and breezy Fri­day af­ter­noon and was at­tended by some 100 peo­ple from both the Chi­nese and US sides, in­clud­ing many who had flown in from China.

Zhang Jian­long, head of China’s State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion, de­scribed the China Gar­den as bear­ing the friend­ship of 1.3 bil­lion Chi­nese to­wards the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai said that upon com­ple­tion, the China Gar­den will be­come a new land­mark in Wash­ing­ton and the East Coast. “It will build a unique bridge be­tween the two peo­ples and in­ject new vi­tal­ity into build­ing a new model of great power re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

US Un­der­sec­re­tary of State Cather­ine Novelli said the China Gar­den will be es­sen­tial for peo­ple to learn more about Chi­nese cul­ture. “It will give re­searchers new in­sights into Asian gar­dens and plants, and will foster closer co­op­er­a­tion and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing among cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, rep­re­sen­ta­tives and schol­ars,” she said.

Novelli said the gar­den will en­able visi­tors and tourists to ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­quis­ite beauty and sym­bol­ism of Chi­nese gar­dens, such as how the pe­ony gar­den rep­re­sents pros­per­ity and beauty, how bam­boo rep­re­sents wis­dom and how the ar­range­ment of rocks can sym­bol­ize beauty, virtue and en­durance.

CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

Samuel Mok, pres­i­dent of Na­tional China Gar­den Foun­da­tion (far left); Cather­ine Novelli, US un­der­sec­re­tary of state (fourth from left); Cather­ine Woteki, un­der­sec­re­tary and chief sci­en­tist of USDA (fifth from left); State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion Di­rec­tor Zhang Jian­long (sev­enth from left); Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai (eighth from left); and oth­ers at­tend a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony on Fri­day af­ter­noon for the China Gar­den in the US Na­tional Ar­bore­tum in Wash­ing­ton.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A dis­play map of the China Gar­den, sit­u­ated on 12 acres in the heart of the US Na­tional Ar­bore­tum in Wash­ing­ton. Based on an orig­i­nal de­sign from a team of Chi­nese de­sign­ers, the China Gar­den, of­fers an ex­tra­or­di­nary op­por­tu­nity to build a last­ing trib­ute to US-China re­la­tions in the cap­i­tal.

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