Chinese cultural performances, language-learning stories amaze US youth
Published: May 08, 2024 10:46 PM

Cultural performances by artists from East China's Fujian Province and stories of Chinese-speaking Americans on learning the language impressed around 100 US students in New York at an event earlier this week.

Big drums and parasols were featured in a dance named "Golden Drums," the first performance at the open day event hosted by the Consulate General of China in New York.

Artists from Zhangzhou city in Fujian presented two well-known musical pieces, "Catching Butterflies While Picking Tea Leaves" and "Hard Workers, True Winner."

Masters of glove puppetry, an intangible cultural heritage from Zhangzhou, performed captivating stories from the Water Margin, one of China's most beloved classic novels.

They also demonstrated how to play with the puppets and invited attendees to try it out themselves.

Students had the opportunity to taste Chinese tea and appreciate Chinese calligraphy.

Several speakers shared their stories and thoughts on how to master the Chinese language.

Alexander Given, a graduating senior at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, said he had been fascinated by the story of the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, as a young boy.

"Even then as a young child, I knew that I wanted to visit China no matter what. I was determined to see the diverse landscapes, vast cities, and historical landmarks for myself," Given said.

James B. Heimowitz, honorary chair of the China Institute in America, said his journey to understanding China started in Fujian decades ago.

Heimowitz said he can't think of a better way for American youth to gain better insights into the way in which Chinese people are thinking about the future than being able to access China through its language.

"I hope each of you will take the time to create your own journey and your own experiences in China. That's truly what it means to be a part of our future," he said.