On May 31, Minister Xu Xueyuan attended "Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 Fireside Chats" organized by National China Garden Foundation. Minister Xu shared with the audience her career experience of becoming a diplomat, and answered questions on China-US relations and the importance of the China Garden project.
In her remarks, Minister Xu said that choosing to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China was out of her belief that at the government level, individuals can play their part in the development of state-to-state relations. Ever since then, she had been committed to working for her country and she believes that the interests of one country can be upheld by promoting the common interests of all countries.
Minister Xu recalled some memorable moments during her tenure as Minister of the Chinese Embassy. One of them was on July 24, 2020, when the Chinese Consulate-general in Houston was closed at the unilateral and outrageous requirement of the US side. That was a darkest moment of the US administration's China policy and a senseless act out of its inability to manage the China-US relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. We Chinese believe that it would be impolite not to return "favors". As a response, the Chinese government had to reciprocally shut down the US Consulate-general in Chengdu. It is most unfortunate that America's behavior hurt the interests of both the Chinese and American people and led to a lose-lose outcome. But at the same time, while experiencing the ups and downs in China-US relations, Minister Xu said that she always has in mind two lines in a poem: "In the steep sky cold waves are swiftly sweeping by; On the vast earth warm winds gradually growing high". She recalled her talks with ordinary Americans and subnational government officials during her visits to American states and cities, who gave her great confidence and strength. In South Carolina, local officials told her, "Don't listen to what the politicians say in Washington DC. Listen to us. We are the real America". In Missouri, researchers said in a celebration of Edgar Snow's life and his book 'Red Star over China', "a US journalist could change the world's opinion when he wrote true stories about the Communist Party of China". In Iowa, farmers and ranchers commented, "We don't want politics standing between the US and China. We want to do business with China"; In Utah, pupils participating in English and Chinese immersion language programs told her, "The reason why we learn Chinese is that we'll be able to make friends with 1.4 billion people". In Texas, when Chinese diplomats of the closed Consulate-general in Houston were to board the flight back to China, CBP officials at George Bush International Airport said to them, "Please come back as soon as possible." These are all memorable moments.
Minister Xu pointed out that at this special time, more efforts are needed than ever before to build mutual understanding between China and the US. A China Garden in the capital of the United States can be an excellent site to promote the relationship. It could be a 'Chinese Corner' for students to gather and practice the Chinese language, for Chinese Americans to revisit their roots, for tourists to appreciate the unique oriental beauty, for researchers to study the Chinese garden ideas, and more broadly, for the American society to know the Chinese philosophy on man and nature, on home and society, on citizens' responsibilities and government's roles, on how the ancient wisdom of harmony and unity has impacted the Chinese government's governance at home and foreign policy abroad.
Minister Xu referred to the venue of the event at her closing remarks: the Embassy garden. The garden is a small part of the Chinese Embassy chancery, a masterwork designed by I. M. Pei, a world-renowned Chinese American architect. The design of the Embassy seamlessly melds the East and the West as a symbol of enduring relations and a shared future. She can imagine how painful it must be for Mr. Pei to blend the ancient Chinese tradition into modern architectural concept of the West. But he proved that when well designed and delivered, it can be done perfectly.
"Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 Fireside Chats" was hosted by National China Garden Foundation to celebrate the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Guests attending the event included Suriname Ambassador to the United States Niermala Badrisin, President of Asianweek Database Project Teddy Fang, President of the University of District of Columbia Ronald Mason Jr., Maryland State Senator Clarence Lam, Maryland State Delegate Lily Qi. The event was broadcast live and then replayed on NCGF's website and other social media channels.