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Learn from China’s Experience Tell Development Story Well

A trip of China Social Economic Survey was conducted in Henan and Shandong Province from April 12 to 16 with 41 international students from 20 different countries, including Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia, Bangladesh, Ghana, and Vietnam. This survey was organized and led by Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University.

On April 13, the group arrived at the Red Flag Canal Memorial Hall, the first destination of the survey, and immersed themselves in the themed instruction of “Bear in mind the strength and spirit of the canal construction, remain true to our original aspiration and founding mission”. After watching emotive presentations of the Red Flag Canal history, students were keen to embrace the origin of the Red Flag Canal spirit. Sixty years ago, Lin County was an impoverished mountainous area, where mountains were barren, water shortage was so severe that water was as dear as oil, causing great sorrow for impoverished locals. Thanks to the construction of the Red Flag Canal, people had access to valuable fresh water. Since then, the environment has improved greatly, and the people began to lead a better life. Nowadays, Linzhou is devoted to building a “scenic Taihang”, developing its natural landscape, economy, society, and culture in harmony. President Xi Jinping pointed out during an inspection of the canal, “The Red Flag Canal is a monument that records the heroic spirit of the people of Lin County,. They did not resign to fate, did not concede defeat, and dared to fight.”

The international students were amazed by the historical photos, films, and physical exhibits, letting out bursts of amazement from time to time. “I’m very excited because this is my first time to visit Henan Province,” Loki, a student from Bangladesh, said, “I’ve learned a lot from visiting the Red Flag Canal.” Uzbekistan student Jin Yang said: “I was very moved by the history of the Red Flag Canal. The spirit of unity and overcoming struggles deeply moved me.” Zhu Mu from Russia said, “For me, what impresses me the most is the story of Ren Yangcheng, who built canals on the cliff, which reminds meeven more of the bravery and diligence of Chinese people.” Pakistani student Sabahat said: “The history of the Red Flag Canal is a tortuous and touching story. It taught me the precious qualities of Chinese people. I can’t wait to share my experiences here with my family.”

In the afternoon, the students walked on the “Great Wall of Water”, which is thousands of kilometers long. After a trek of more than an hour, the group came to the Youth Cave, where they honored the memory of the canal builders. Students came to realize that the Red Flag Canal is not just a grand project, but also a way of life, full of energy and burning passion. Students praised that the trip had their spirits cultivated and confidence stimulated. When visiting Gaojiatai Village in Shibanyan Town, students got to experience the local customs up close and were marveled by the wonderful picture of China’s rural revitalization of the small, beautiful, and artistic village in the Taihang Mountains.

On April 15, students arrived at the Binhai International Kite Flying Field and took part in the opening ceremony of the 40th Weifang International Kite Festival of “Yun Men Sauce Wine Cup”. Many joined in the kite flying activity and witnessed the charm of the Weifang International Kite Festival up close. More than 700 years ago, an Italian named Marco Polo brought kite to Europe. After that, kite became the messenger of cultural exchange between China and the West.

The students visited Weifang World Kite Museum the next morning and learned to understand the historical origin of kites, traditional Chinese kite genres and foreign boutique kites, experiencing the charm of artistic kite culture extensively.

Each year, Belt and Road School organizes international students to conduct social and economic field research to make the voice of China heard, to tell China’s stories well, and to convey China’s energy well. By participating in field research activities and investigating real development stories of local governments, enterprises and rural areas, international students gain valuable experience and lessons from China, andbase their research reports on the comparative analysis over actual development conditions of their respective countries.

Belt and Road School will continue to organize a diverse range of cultural practice events in the future, aiming to inspire more international students to explore Chinese history and culture, experience China’s modern development, gain perspective of the wonderful life of Chinese people, while broadcasting fine traditional Chinese culture on the international stage and cultivating more economic talents who understand China, know China, and are friendly towards China.