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Chinese charm comes to Manhattan

Chinese charm comes to Manhattan
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On a giant screen in Times Square, New Yorkers are being treated to a campaign aimed at improving China’s image. This presents ordinary Chinese individuals’ prosperity, progress and success stories. The video runs 300 times a day, and will be on that screen for a month. But some people in the Big Apple feel that, while the video is viewer-friendly, it could be more informative.

A passer-by interviewed said: “It’s a great video, [but if] I had put it together… I’d love a little more specifics about who those people were, and a little more education for us, as to how we can get to know those people and Chinese culture and industry.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, in the Communist People’s Republic of China, the line-up of applicants for a visa to visit the US sees a steady stream of hopefuls, at the American embassy in Beijing. Many of them are students.

One young woman said: “I think American people are friendlier, easier to approach… and they have more advanced technologies. I think I can learn more there. I have classmates who went to the US, and they say the lifestyle is good. That’s why I want to go there.”

The latest friendship-boosting overtures between their country and the US, among these older Chinese brings back memories of diplomatic table tennis 40 years ago.

In the opinion of a retired lawyer at an outdoor public ping-pong facility: “When the American ping-pong team visited China back then, it opened the door for China-US relations. You see, a small ball can play a large part.”

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the US comes 13 months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of economic high-hitter India. Mexican President Felipe Calderon also got in ahead of him for the honour treatment, in November, leaving some people the impression that Hu is making up time.