Affinity lies in mutual understanding between people: member of welcome team to greet then US first lady in 1972
Published: Feb 28, 2022 03:21 AM
Editor's Note:

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China and the issuance of the Shanghai Communiqué, the first joint communiqué issued by China and the United States, which established the guidelines for the development of bilateral relations, especially the one-China principle. It has become the political foundation for the normalization of China-US relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Global Times interviewed five Chinese witnesses based in Shanghai, the city where the Communiqué was issued, recalling their role in the visit by Nixon five decades ago.

Here is the story of Gui Yonghao, a member of the welcome team at the China Welfare Institute Children's Palace, who participated in the reception of the US delegation visiting China in 1972. 

Gui Yonghao Photo: Global Times

Gui Yonghao Photo: Global Times

Gui Yonghao, a member of the welcome team at China Welfare Institute (CWI) Children's Palace, led a group of children to greet former US President Richard Nixon's wife Pat Nixon and other staff during the historic visit in 1972.

When recalled the moments, Gui said this experience has left a deep impression in him and impacted his future life as well. Gui himself later served as a pediatric doctor specializing in children's heart disease.

Despite being 12 years old, Gui and his friends knew that every word and deed they did would represent the motherland. At that time, there were many groups in the CWI Children's Palace, including singing and dancing, model airplane, paper cutting and piano.

When President Nixon's wife Pat Nixon visited the CWI Children's Palace in Shanghai in 1972, she was moved to tears when she heard the choir sing US folk song "Turkey in the Straw," Gui recalled, noting that every detail was well-arranged.

Together with other group members, Gui tried to learn foreign languages and world geography and studied the customs and cultures of people in various countries.  

"Amity between people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations, while affinity lies in mutual understanding between the people," Gui said this thought took root and germinated in his heart at that time.

He was sent to the US for further studies at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1991. "The experience of foreign affairs in the Children's Palace gave me extremely valuable spiritual wealth and I'm always proud of being a Chinese," Gui said. 

Gui helped to promote the establishment of a "sister hospital" agreement between the Children's Hospital of Fudan University and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In the past 20 years, he has received over 70 visitors from the US in about 10 tours coming to China. Gui is still actively promoting people-to-people exchanges. 

During the historic visit in 1972, President Nixon's private doctor asked Gui what he would be when he grew up. Gui did not hesitate to reply that he would like to be a doctor to serve people wholeheartedly.