Chinese ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai (3rd R, front) sings in a flash mob performance at the 2019 New Year Gala for Chinese and American Youth at the Chinese embassy in Washington, the United States, on Feb. 16, 2019. The Chinese embassy in Washington on Saturday held the 2019 New Year Gala for Chinese and American Youth, a four-hour festivity featuring dancing, singing, handcrafts, dumpling making, and other facets of Chinese traditional culture. The event was largely organized by Chinese students from various universities around Washington. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The silence was first broken by two singers, then four continued with the second line of lyrics, following which dozens of people joined in the chorus of the song "My motherland and I" in the hall of the Chinese embassy in Washington on Saturday.
The classic Chinese song, dating back to 1984, delighted the audience, some 500 altogether, who gathered at the embassy to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. Some, including Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, sang along, while others took out their phones to capture the memorable moment.
The flash mob performance was part of the 2019 New Year Gala for Chinese and American Youth, a four-hour festivity featuring dancing, singing, handcrafts, dumpling making, and other facets of Chinese traditional culture. The event was largely organized by Chinese students from various universities around Washington.
Brad Vierling, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, decided to try his luck at a chopstick competition. One minute later, he succeeded in moving seven beans from on cup to another. "I've only been learning chopsticks for a few months," he said with satisfaction.
"My major is international business. I plan to start a business in China after I graduate, that's why I am learning chopsticks and Chinese," he said, adding that he has scheduled a trip to the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Qingdao to find business opportunities.
Nearby at a paper-cutting table was American University student Trenton Marsolek who studies international affairs. Marsolek was especially drawn to a Dai ethnic group dance, constantly asking his Chinese friend "Where do the Dai people live? What are they like?"
"U.S. students have a deficit of understanding of China and Chinese, there are often misconceptions. So events like this are very important to allow U.S. students to know more about China," Marsolek said.
Qi Hao, a student at the George Washington University who helped organize the gala, told Xinhua that the event welcomed all those who wish to learn more about China, and they prepared a variety of activities as well as gifts for the participants.
Ben Samuels, born in Richmond, capital of U.S. State of Virginia, lived with his parents in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for a number of years. He perfected his Chinese and said that Chinese culture is a part of his identity.
"Even now that I am back in the United States, I have very close relationship with my friends (in China). I consider them as 'xiongdi' (brothers) like a Chinese would," he said.
With a love for singing, Samuels sang a Chinese pop song "Because of Love" that energized the crowd. He then brought back childhood memories for some in the audience with a classic folk song "Listen to mom telling tales of the old."
"I first heard this song while touring with my band in Inner Mongolia, and the instant I heard it I knew I had to learn this song," he said.
Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai told the guests that this year marks the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations, and encouraged young people to become messengers between the two peoples.