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Spotlight: Young Vietnamese, Chinese carrying on traditional friendship

HANOI, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- "Cooperation" and "optimism" are the key words that Dong Quang Vinh, a Vietnamese musician, used to describe his special bond with China.

Vinh, 31, who studied music in China for nine years, is a bamboo flutist and conductor.

He has been working on a project to combine Vietnamese and Chinese folk music as part of his efforts to promote understanding between the two peoples.

Some 50 km from Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, a young Chinese volunteer teacher emphasized on "responsibility" and "friendship" when she talked about her experiences in Vietnam.

"This is my second year of volunteering in Vietnam. I have chosen to stay for the second term as I do not want to leave and disappoint my students," said Guan Li, 25, who teaches at the Hung Vuong University in Phu Tho Province.

The stories of Vinh and Guan are two examples of the robust and deep people-to-people ties between the two neighboring countries sharing similar culture.


"When I was a little boy, my father often bought me cassette tapes of Chinese music whenever he went to China for performance tours," recalled Vinh, who was born to a family of musicians.

Since then, he began to like traditional Chinese musical instruments and found similarities between the folk music of the two countries, thus developing an interest in China.

In 2004, Vinh went to China to study at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 2010, he received a full Chinese government scholarship to follow a master course as an orchestra conductor.

Like Vihn, more and more Vietnamese youth are studying in China to pursue their career.

Figures from the Chinese embassy in Hanoi shows there are currently over 14,000 Vietnamese studying in China, while some 3,000-4,000 Chinese come to Vietnam for study each year.

In Vinh's view, "cooperation" is the key for him to build a career and also find his true love.

In China, Vinh made friends with musicians like Chen Xiaodong, who later worked with Vinh in many musical projects. He even married one of them, Chinese pianist Mo Shuangshuang, who he met in Shanghai and later moved to live in Vietnam with him.

Last August, Vinh and Chen brought the two countries' music on stage in Hanoi in a high-profile friendship concert, the first official collaboration between the two countries' traditional music artists in a concert according to Vinh's knowledge.

Coming to the prospect of cooperation between Vietnam and China, Vinh used the word "optimism."

"I hope that there will be more exchanges of visits between high-ranking leaders of both countries, thus creating more opportunities for cultural exchanges. I am very optimistic about the future of Vietnam-China relations," Vinh told Xinhua.


"I am always aware of the responsibility of bringing the Chinese culture to Vietnamese students and deepening the friendship," said Guan, the Chinese volunteer teacher.

Chinese volunteer teachers in Vietnam have grown in numbers over recent years and they are now teaching in northern and central localities aside from Hanoi and the border province of Lao Cai.

Guan's experience was a bitter-sweet story. "I was quite courageous when I decided to come as I knew not a single Vietnamese word at the time," she said.

Guan has to travel 35 km from her residence to the classroom and then back at the end of the day.

"My students prepare a bottle of drinking water for me every day and they sometimes prepare breakfast for me," she said.

Most of her students are from rural areas. They have desire for knowledge and show interest in Chinese culture. "That's why I stay," said Guan, now a fluent Vietnamese speaker, in an interview with Xinhua.


The time-tested amity between the two countries can be traced back to ancient times and leaders from both sides are determined to pass that tradition to future generations through upgrading and expanding existing mechanisms of people-to-people contact.

In April, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the 15th Friendship Meeting of youth from China and Vietnam in Beijing.

Xi expressed the hope that young people of the two countries will carry on the China-Vietnam traditional friendship and contribute to strengthening mutual understanding between the two peoples and promoting bilateral cooperation.

In recent years, the two sides have intensified effort in that regard, organizing youth activities such as a Chinese language proficiency competition and speech contests in Vietnam.

In September, the Confucius Institute at Hanoi University celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with the participation of teachers and students from 10 Vietnamese universities that have Chinese language departments.

Earlier this month, a study room on Chinese language and culture was inaugurated at Hung Vuong University where Guan teaches.

"The two countries are also witnessing frequent exchanges among universities," Culture Counselor Liu Sanzhen from the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi said, adding that two forums have been held for university presidents from the two nations.

The growth in people-to-people exchange can be seen from the issuance of visa. In 2014, nearly 2 million Chinese visitors traveled to Vietnam, while the number of Vietnamese tourists to China has also been on the rise.

With the upgrading of bilateral trade and transport linkage under the "Belt and Road" initiative, the people-to-people exchange and other ties will be further enhanced, Liu added.

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