Home Opinion Featured Articles UAE students exchange letters with Chinese President Xi Jinping

UAE students exchange letters with Chinese President Xi Jinping

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This photo taken on April 10, 2024 shows the scenery of the Jiankou section of the Great Wall in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)
This photo taken on April 10, 2024 shows the scenery of the Jiankou section of the Great Wall in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)

Hamdan Bin Zayed School’s sixth-grade student, Hamdan, expressed his hopes of becoming “a true man by climbing on the Great Wall” and “the UAE’s ambassador to China” in the future.

“I want to invite Grandpa Xi to my country.”

“I want to play a football game with Grandpa Xi” …

A group of Chinese-learning Emirati students voiced their wishes in recent correspondences with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

They are forty elementary and middle school students from the Hamdan Bin Zayed School and the Yas School, two demonstration schools of the “Hundred Schools Project” of Chinese language education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In their respective letters written in Chinese and adorned with drawings, the students expressed their love for Chinese culture and their yearning to be ambassadors of the UAE-China friendship.

Hamdan Bin Zayed School is the first school in the UAE to offer Chinese language courses. The school’s sixth-grade student, Hamdan, has been learning Chinese for over a year and a half. In his letter, he wrote in Chinese: “This year, China and the UAE have been hand in hand for 40 years.”

He drew several bamboos in the letter to convey his wish to Xi: to visit China and see pandas eating bamboos. He also expressed his hopes of becoming “a true man by climbing on the Great Wall” and “the UAE’s ambassador to China” in the future.

In a reply to their letters, which was released Sunday, Xi encouraged them to have a good command of the Chinese language and learn more about China so as to contribute to promoting friendship between the two countries.

“In your letters, you say China and the UAE have been hand in hand for 40 years and hope that our two countries will always be good friends,” Xi noted, “the Chinese people also share the same wish.”

Tenth-grade student Ayesha wrote a full page to Xi, telling him that learning Chinese has opened a window on China.

Sharing with Xi her deep concern for environmental protection, she mentioned her shopping bag made of palm leaves, which she always carries with her when going shopping.

Ayesha admires the environmental efforts undertaken by the Chinese government, voicing hope that cooperation between the two nations will “further improve our environment.”

In her letter, a girl with the Chinese name Zhu Wan’er drew a picture of a dragon and the Great Wall. She said that as more and more Emirati students learn Chinese, “the friendly ties between China and the UAE will grow even stronger.”

The exchange of correspondence came as 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE. It also came about five years after the launch of the “Hundred Schools Project.”

In July 2019, in the presence of Xi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan jointly, then crown prince of Abu Dhabi of the UAE, the two countries signed a memorandum in Beijing, officially launching the “Hundred Schools Project” of Chinese language education in the UAE.

Up to now, there are 171 schools in the UAE offering Chinese language courses, with 71,000 students involved.

“Now seeing that learning Chinese has become a new trend in the UAE, and a group of little ambassadors for China-UAE exchanges, like you, have been cultivated, I’m very pleased,” Xi said.

Seif, a 10-year-old student, attends Yas School, the largest public school in the UAE. In his letter to Xi, he shared his favorite ancient Chinese poem: “A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near.” He explained, “Even though China and the UAE are thousands of miles apart, we are the best friends.”

In a drawing by fifth-grade student Mohammed, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square stands alongside Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, surrounded by blooming flowers. In his letter to Xi, the boy said that he has taken a great liking for the Chinese language and Chinese culture.

He elaborated on how his school organized events to celebrate the Spring Festival and Chinese National Day, where his drumming performance garnered acclaim.

“I hope to get an opportunity to visit China in the future,” wrote Mohammed.

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