Chen Lihua pays special membership dues to the Party committee of Shanghai Textile Science Research Institute, April 2, 2019. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Although all he can recall about Japan is the sea water flowing beneath his feet during his trip back home, his parents spoke to him about their homesickness in Japan and what family roots meant in a foreign country.
Decades later his own daughter emigrated to Canada with her husband, and now they too share a deep affinity for China. In Lihua's words, it is only when a person leaves home that they can truly understand the meaning of homesickness and patriotism – the farther away folks live from their motherland, the deeper their love for their country.
Reflecting on the various periods of life, Lihua said the best choice he ever made was joining the CPC. Although there have been some missteps, under the guidance of the Party, China is regaining its lost glory and pride, and Shanghai has become its most prosperous city.
For Lihua the changes have been unprecedented and the People's Republic of China is enjoying its best time in the long history of China. Lihua knows that without the opportunities created under the guidance of the CPC, there would've been no way for him to get a college education and then become a senior engineer, let alone receive the care he benefits from as a retired cadre.
In the days leading to the new year, Lihua decided it was time to give back, and since China's 70th anniversary is approaching, he also decided his gesture should be significant. He settled on equaling his lifetime donations, 200,000 yuan, with one half going to the Party and other to his university.
As a Shanghai Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese staff member, I was lucky to have worked with Lihua on his donations. I would like to put his deeds into a unique perspective, considering the traditional Chinese virtue qinghuai of jiaguo.
Jiaguois made up of two Chinese characters, jiaand guo, which respectively mean family and country. Qinghuai, a virtue deeply rooted in Chinese culture, means affection mixed with faith and aspiration.
Qinghuai of jiaguomeans not only the affection for family and country but also the relationship between them. In Chinese culture, families come together to form one big family: China. Each family and its members are obligated to dedicate themselves to the wellbeing of their country to fulfill theirqinghuai of jiaguo. We Chinese believe we can benefit much from our ancient civilization, and qinghuai of jiaguois something we must hold on to.
Lihua went beyond his family into his jiaxiang, a Chinese word for hometown. That is why he made a donation to his university. And his qinghuai of guois embodied in his donation to the CPC, a party founded for the sole interests of the Chinese people, which continues to work to fulfill its mission. The CPC stands for the country and that is why so many Chinese Communists have chosen to pay special membership dues to the party to show their qinghuai of guo.
As the first generation of Chinese emigrants settles down, language has become the biggest obstacle for their foreign-born children to know more about China. Only one of Lihua's grandchildren can speak some Chinese, and none of his great-grandchildren can. I've written this essay so his offspring can understand more about their grandpa or great grandpa and the values he's lived by.
The author is a staff member at Shanghai Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.