President Xi Jinping, in a recent letter to students of a Hungarian-Chinese bilingual school in Budapest, Hungary, encouraged teenagers in the Central European country to understand China better and become envoys to carry forward and enhance the friendship between the two nations.
Xi's letter, which was in response to one sent by students of the school, was published on Tuesday. In his reply letter, the president said he and his wife were glad to have received the students' letter during Spring Festival in the Year of the Rabbit.
Noting that he still remembered his interactions with the Budapest school's teachers and students in 2009, Xi appreciated the persistent efforts of the students in learning the Chinese language and their ambition to contribute to China-Hungary friendship.
During an official visit to Hungary in October 2009, Xi, who was then China's vice-president, made a visit to the school. At the time, he noted that the school was named after Chinese writer Lu Xun and Hungarian national poet Sandor Petofi, and told teachers and students that learning both Chinese and Hungarian languages and cultures will help deepen the two countries' mutual understanding and friendship.
Founded in September 2004, the Hungarian-Chinese bilingual school is the only full-time public school in Central and Eastern Europe that uses both Chinese and the local language for teaching. Now, it has set up 20 classes with about 530 students in 12 grades.
Before the Spring Festival holiday, two students — whose Chinese names are Hu Lingyue and Song Zhixiao — wrote a letter to Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, on behalf of the entire school, sending their Spring Festival greetings according to the Chinese custom. They shared their 12-year experience in learning Chinese at the school, and expressed their willingness to go to college in China and contribute to Hungary-China friendship.
Xi said that both China and Hungary have a time-honored history and a splendid culture, and the people of the two countries, which enjoy a traditional friendship, have witnessed increasingly closer cultural exchanges.
The students, Xi said, are welcome to study at Chinese universities after they finish high school. He expressed his hope that more and more Hungarian youths will fall in love with and study the Chinese language. He encouraged them to visit China, if they get a chance, and learn more about today's China, along with the country's history and culture.
Xi has on many occasions emphasized the importance of promoting cultural exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations. He has always encouraged young foreigners, who are interested in the Chinese language and culture, to visit China and help forge closer relations between the people of China and other countries.
Jia Ruixia, an associate professor at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of European Studies, said that using letters as the bridge of communication shows the importance Xi attaches to enhancing the bonds between the Chinese and Hungarian people.
"The students' letter is an example of the aspiration for communication and exchanges in a world faced with conflicts and several other destabilizing factors. As long as people are willing to learn about each other and communicate with each other, while respecting their differences, many conflicts can be avoided," Jia said.