Published: 16:44, February 24, 2024 | Updated: 12:20, February 25, 2024
Xi replies to letter from Iowa's Muscatine High School students
By Xinhua

Students of the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China perform Wushu during an event to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year in Muscatine, Iowa, the United States, Feb 9, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, also the Chinese Lantern Festival of the Year of the Dragon, replied to a letter from students of the US Iowa state's Muscatine High School who visited China in late January and sent them New Year cards in return.

In the letter, Xi extended holiday wishes to the teachers and students of the school, and encouraged more American youths to come to China for exchanges and study.

Xi noted that the students' letter featured beautifully written Chinese characters as well as vividly hand-painted Chinese dragon, also known as the "loong," the Great Wall and pandas.

The Chinese president said he felt happy for the students as they visited several Chinese cities, where they saw pandas, tasted Chinese delicacies, experienced Chinese culture, and had a lot of fun

The Chinese president said he felt happy for the students as they visited several Chinese cities, where they saw pandas, tasted Chinese delicacies, experienced Chinese culture, and had a lot of fun.

Learning that the US students have made many Chinese friends during the trip, and invited those friends to visit their hometown in the United States, Xi said he found their friendship very touching.

READ MORE: US students celebrate ties with China

Citing a Chinese saying that reads "seeing is believing," Xi said the warm and friendly American people he met during his first visit to the United States in 1985 have given him an indelible impression.

Likewise, it is believed that through this exchange visit, the students can gain a more intuitive and in-depth understanding of China and the Chinese people, Xi said.

The Chinese president encouraged the Muscatine High School students to revisit China and encouraged more American youths to come to China for exchanges and study, where they can get first-hand experience of a real China in a multi-dimensional and comprehensive manner, foster genuine friendship with Chinese youths and learn from each other so that they can jointly contribute to a stronger friendship between the people of the two countries.

Noting that the Chinese Lantern Festival has long been an important moment for the Chinese people to express their hope for a better life, Xi extended his best holiday wishes to the teachers and students of the school.

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During his trip to the United States in November 2023, Xi announced a program to invite 50,000 American youths in the next five years to China for exchanges and study.

Sarah Lande, a friend of Xi in the US state of Iowa, wrote a letter recently to Xi, in which she expressed the hope that Muscatine High School students can join the program.

With Xi's support, more than 20 Muscatine High School students paid an exchange visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hebei province, among other places in China from Jan 24 to 30, becoming the first group of American students to visit China under the program.

One of their gifts to Xi upon their arrival in Beijing was a school flag written with Chinese characters "Grandpa Xi, Here We Are."

After the visit, the students wrote a letter to the Chinese president, sharing with him their joy during their China trip and thanking him for the invitation.