Ma Wancheng, principal of Beijing Haidian Minzu Primary School, said he clearly remembers President Xi Jinping"s visit three years ago to the school in the capital"s Haidian district.
"What impressed me most was the amount of attention Xi gave to traditional Chinese culture," Ma said. "He had intensive exchanges with our teachers and students on the topic."
Xi visited the school on the morning of May 30, 2014, two days before International Children"s Day.
Watching students practicing calligraphy in the classroom, Xi asked each questions such as from whom they learned calligraphy, how long they had been practicing it and whether they understood the meaning of the characters they were writing, Ma recalled.
Xi also watched as students read and recited classical poems and played classical music instruments, he said.
"We feel President Xi has a strong love for his family and also for the country," said Li Ying, a Chinese teacher at the school. "His visit gave us great encouragement to improve education in traditional culture."
The public school Xi visited has nearly 2,000 students, 11 percent of whom are members of minority ethnic groups, Ma said. The school has emphasized the teaching of traditional Chinese culture for decades, Ma said.
Since 2010, it has offered optional classes in subjects such as calligraphy, martial arts and tea culture appreciation, he said.
The school has also emphasized the cultures of minority ethnic groups and those of other countries, so students learn to live in harmony with people of different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, Ma said.
The school holds an annual international cultural festival around New Year"s Day that includes cross-cultural activities such as seminars, dramas and dance performances by Chinese students and students from the school"s sister schools in countries like South Africa, he said.
Xi also said he hoped students would learn to pursue beautiful things and be people of integrity and virtue when they grow up, Ma said.
"The president"s visit is our biggest reward," said Wang Jing, vice-principal of the school. "It is very important to teach students step by step, starting with the small things, so they become people of friendliness and respect."
(China Daily 10/11/2017 page3)
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