THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Standing mesmerised in the opulent Assembly Hall on Wednesday, the youngsters from China who came as state guests could not resist themselves from laying hands on anything. Even the chair of the Deputy Speaker was not spared.
They created a commotion to pose before the cameras and the spirited even attempted to reach the Speaker’s chair. The visit to the temple of democracy thus became memorable for the youths, who had arrived on a goodwill mission organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra.
The youths, most of them in casual attire, were accorded a warm reception by the staff of the Legislative Assembly. Before they could contain their anxiety as well as surprise, Speaker G Karthikeyan came to them. Recollecting his maiden visit to China in 1983 as part of an Indian youth delegation, the Speaker said that the 12-day tour had provided him with deep understanding of the Chinese culture.
“Both the nations had trade relationship from time immemorial. The trade at that time was also state-sponsored. This visit of the Chinese delegates and their journey to the rural areas of the State would provide them first-hand information on how the local administration functions here,” he said.
The group, drawn from diverse provinces of China, ranging from Sichuan to Jilin, comprises varied communities like researchers, students, artists and businessmen. Though different on various counts, they all agreed that the journey to the far south of the country had provided them a better understanding of the culture and climate of their immediate neighbour.
For the teenage Wushu performers Li Xisha and Wang Jiaxiang, India is a country that should be understood from real-life experiences. “Nice place and nice people,’’ they said with the help of a translator.
But for Sheng Meijun, the team leader of the delegation, the visit is not just for understanding India, but also to inform Indians that what they read about China is not entirely true.
”Before this visit, my perception about your country was a little mixed. Same is the case when it comes to your reporting about China. Both the nations are mighty powers who, if they join hands, could defend the interests of Third World countries. Partial reports are appearing in the media here about democracy and freedom of expression in China. They are intended to tarnish the image of China. In China, the same approach can also be seen against India. ‘They’ are trying to vitiate the power and influence of the nations,” Meijun said. But he shied away from defining who ‘They’ were.
The team leader, with the help of a translator, painstakingly mentioned what transpired in his mind when he set off on the journey to India. “By joining hands, the two key players can amplify their impact and reach. China wants peace with India. For normalising the relationship between the two countries, people-to-people interaction should be strengthened, along with bilateral discussions,” he said.