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Foreigners Witness Changning’s Legend
09/11/2017 changningtimes

-          Sidelights on Changning District Foreign Affairs Office Organizing Foreigners to Visit Cohesion Project Museum


What was Changning like in the past and what changes have taken place in dozens of years? How do the foreigners living in Changning feel, and what kind of sense of gain do they have? Recently, the district foreign affairs office organized a number of foreigners living in Changning to visit Shanghai Cohesion Project Museum located in Zhongshan Park, so as to enable them to learn about the development and changes in Shanghai and Changning during the visit.


Led by the commentators of the museum, the foreign friends watched the exhibits while listening, with some raising questions that interested them and some others taking photos of the old items and pictures with their mobile phones. In high spirits, at the end of the visit, Mr. Baimake from Australiahad a photo taken with the “Thanksgiving Stone” set in the museum, to “thank for all”.


Dressed like a western cowboy, Mr. Baimake is fluent in Chinese. "I came to Shanghai for the first time in 1992, when there was no Yan'an Road Viaduct nor the metro, the Oriental Pearl in Pudong was still under construction, there were not so many skyscrapers as now, and in hot weather people would sit at the doors with fans in their hands, exchanging warm greetings.” After staying in Shanghai for two years, Baimake left Shanghai because of his work. He came to Shanghai for the second time in 2008. “Great changes have taken place in Shanghai. The other day I visited Dubai on business, and I showed the photos to my friends in the city, who were surprised to see Shanghai develop at such a high speed. I said they are a very industrious nation with thanks to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and it is an oriental legend.”


Wang Xuanrong, a Filipino-Chinese who has stayed in China for 30 years and in Shanghai for 17 years, visited the museum for the first time, saying that she listened and learned as earnestly as a student and she would come again when there was an opportunity. “Through the photos and material objects, I have learned about the changes in all fields in Shanghai, which were hard-won.” The exhibited photos depicting the contributions made by the volunteers drew Wang’s attention. “In 2005 I joined in the “Beacon of Love”, a social nonprofit organization set up by foreigners. In more than 10 years I have been dedicated to the philanthropy as a volunteer, helping the children with congenital heart diseases in poverty-stricken areas of China. "


The comfortable and safe environment in Shanghai was widely acknowledged by the foreigners. John, a Colombian doing trade business in Shanghai for 7 years, has decided to send his two children to school in Shanghai because of the comfortable and safe environment. “When having fun at Zhongshan Park with the children, we visited the museum several times. This time the visit to the museum has deepened my understanding of Shanghai.” With he two children attending school in Changning, Yasimi, a housewife from Pakistan, considered her life in Shanghai to be very easy, saying that the living environment makes people feel safe, and the people are nice and hoping to continue to live in the city in the future.


The considerate services and colorful activities provided by Changning have been well received by the foreigners. At some international communities with large numbers of foreigners, the neighborhood committees have provided some convenient services such as Chinese learning classes and the activities of inviting the foreigners to local residents’ houses to make zongzi and rice dumplings. Deeply touched, Mr. Baimake said emotionally, “I have felt home in Changning, and I will never forget the neighborhood committee cadres and volunteers at Chengjiaqiao Community. They invited me to participate in each of their activities, which freed me from loneliness when I first came to Shanghai. I have turned to the neighborhood committee and the police station for help with any problems and difficulties, and they are warmhearted and provide assistance for any trifles.”


According to sources, Shanghai Cohesion Project Museum has not only served as a showcase for grass-roots Party building in Shanghai, but also a base for people-to-people diplomacy, receiving the Party members, students and the masses and attracting some foreigners and overseas social organizations for visits. Since its opening, the museum has received a total of 820,000 person-times in 1,800 teams from all regions in Chinaincluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanas well as Vietnam, Turkey, Poland, French Polynesia and other countries.

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