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Hear from China: Lao students feel China’s vision, help through BRI projects: retired principal writing to Xi
Published: Oct 19, 2022 05:36 PM
Students at the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School thumb up to express their appreciation to China's assistance to construction of their school. Photo: Sun Guangyong/GT

Students at the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School thumb up to express their appreciation to China's assistance to construction of their school. Photo: Sun Guangyong/GT


Editor's Note:


Chinese people believe that letters are as valuable as gold. For thousands of years, letters, across mountains and oceans, have been delivering the writers' sentiments, friendship, and expectations.

During the past decade, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, has managed to find time to reply to some letters from ordinary people despite his busy work schedule.

Through his letters, Xi has also corresponded with international friends from all walks of life on numerous occasions, part of a series of excellent stories of China's international exchanges in the new era. The letters have also added vivid color to the diplomacy between China and other countries in the last decade.

Over the last few months, the Global Times reporters traced and contacted some of the recipients of Xi's letters, to hear the inspiring stories behind the letters and their contents.



Then principal Bounmy Vilaisan and students of the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School in Laos read a reply letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping in May 2019. Photo: Sun Guangyong/GT

Then principal Bounmy Vilaisan and students of the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School in Laos read a reply letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping in May 2019. Photo: Sun Guangyong/GT


The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has helped create a boom in development and prosperity in Laos, bringing tangible benefits to local people's wellbeing, which has been sincerely appreciated by the Lao people, Bounmy Vilaisan, a retired principal at the China-Laos Nongping Primary School who penned a letter of thanks to Xi, told the Global Times.

China's advanced technological input has provided Lao students with hope, as they have seen firsthand how China's support can improve their living standards, said the former school principal who also felt unexpected to receive a letter of reply from Xi.

On April 29, 2019, Xi sent a reply letter to students from the China-Laos Nongping Primary School, encouraging them to study hard and help promote friendship between the Chinese and Lao peoples, after receiving a letter and picture albums from the school's students who expressed their sincere gratitude for China's assistance in the construction of their school.

"Thank you for your letter and the fine picture albums. I can feel your happiness and your yearning for a better life. I am deeply moved," President Xi said in the letter of reply, CGTN reported.

Xi also noted in the letter that he had proposed the initiative to support common development and improve the lives of people who live in countries along the BRI, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

On April 25, 2019, Bounmy, together with several students, attended a sub-forum on people-to-people exchanges during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing and presented their letter to Xi and a picture album entitled "Our Silk Road Story."  

Unexpectedly, they received Xi's reply letter just four days later. "It was like a dream," said 56-year-old Bounmy. "It is unprecedented for Lao school children to write to a leader of a major country. It was so lucky to hear from President Xi who cares so much about the children of Laos."

"Our dormitory buildings, blackboards, and even desks and chairs were all built and donated by China. We didn't know how we should repay the kindness, so we decided to write a letter to President Xi," Bounmy told the Global Times.

The China-Laos Nongping Primary School was built by China in 2012 as a pilot project reflecting the China-Laos friendship. China has been sending volunteer teachers and providing teaching materials.

"As witnesses to and beneficiaries of China-Laos friendship and the BRI, our students and teachers expressed their gratitude to the Chinese leader who proposed such a great initiative. We selected 58 paintings, which symbolizes the 58th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Laos and China," said Bounmy. 

The former principal said that Xi's reply letter was like one wrote by a kind elder to his juniors. It carried sincerity though the letter was short. All the students and teachers were excited and proud to receive it. The letter reflected the profound traditional friendship between Laos and China, and Xi's deep care for Lao children, Bounmy noted. 

After reading the letter of reply, the children were determined to study harder, keep learning Chinese language, Chinese culture, and modern Chinese technology. They are increasingly aware that Nongping Primary School and the Lao people have developed and enjoyed a better life with China's help, she noted.

The album includes a Chinese-style painting by a girl in the fourth grade that showcases the development of her hometown. She said she wanted Xi to know that the BRI has made the lives of the Lao people happier.

There is also a painting drawn by a fifth-grade boy in the album which portrays himself and his schoolmates taking the China-Laos railway to visit their friends in Beijing. "The children believe they share similar dreams. They recently made a watercolor painting to express their gratitude to the constructors of the railway," Bounmy said.

Xi also welcomed the students to visit China through the China-Laos Railway as soon as possible in his reply letter.

In December 2021, the railway was officially inaugurated into service as the two countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The students and teachers of Nongping Primary School also got a chance to ride on the train. "Some are very excited, and they even vowed to go to China to study railway technology when they become older, and bring the advanced technology back to Laos," Bounmy told the Global Times. 

"I live in Vientiane, and I have seen with my own eyes just how those towns along the China-Laos Railway increased their income due to the railway line. That's our true experience of the BRI's practical benefits," Bounmy said.