First Presidential Cultural Encounter in USA
President Obama prepares to welcome new President Xi Jinping to California this week for an up close and personal "cultural encounter," which according to new Pope Francis is "the foundation for peace." Accompanying China's chief will be his graceful First Lady, Peng Liyuan, and a substantive People's Republic of China delegation ready to conduct purposeful business and important relationship building to develop greater "trust, friendship and peace." Pope Francis encourages influential people to be peacemakers by "journeying, building and professing," while also virtuously caring for the poor of body and spirit. Our esteemed Chinese guests will be carrying with them their enthusiastically promoted Beijing Spirit: "Patriotism, Innovativeness, Inclusiveness and Virtue." As a part-time Beijing resident I love this ancient city, its new charismatic leader, his lovely wife and our thoughtful Chinese friends. This thriving capital and the gifted couple of China exude vibrant hearts inspiring curiosity about the Beijing soul and action plan for closer cooperation with the American region of the world.
First Peace Encounter: Tourism and Entrepreneurism
Sage Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu imparted advice: "If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations; if there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace between cities, neighbors and families; there must be peace in the heart." Modern day mentor-role model Mother Teresa taught, "Peace begins with a smile." If one can truly feel and understand the interior of a person by their facial expression then China's first couple emanates two friendly souls and illuminates the Beijing Spirit with their infectious smiles. One can surmise that President Xi Jinping's beaming presentation was the inspiration for creating smile meters at every major China airport as Beijing prepared for the memorable 2008 Olympic Games. Visitors arriving and departing China get to grade their immigration officer for their polite attitude welcoming guests, a good practice to adopt. Having recently traveled from China to California via Korea and Hawaii, I wholeheartedly suggest America convey to every visitor arriving at every airport the President Obama home state message called Aloha Spirit. True "aloha" engenders heartfelt American values and virtues leading to "trust, friendship and peace."
That is exactly what "travel and tourism" between nations and cities offers and it begins through "cultural encounters" -- generating good jobs and relationships leading to a more peaceful world. When asked recently by Chinese media "In China's culture, what made you first like it here and want to return?" Instant response was, "The Chinese people, their warm hospitality. At AmericanTours International, the ATI team undertakes to devote our lives to opening the doors between America and China for 'trust, friendship and peace' to help create more jobs and foster goodwill and world security."
It is interesting to note that the Chinese word for America is "mei-guo" which means "beautiful country." For many Americans who have not yet visited this culturally rich country, the word China can conjure up a sense of mystery with fear or perhaps negative emotion. I submit, in-spite of distinctly differing political systems to the founding principles of our republic, and some understandable mutual concerns for maintaining respective systems, China is emerging as an anti-corruption, pro-tourism, pro-entrepreneurial nation, and potentially good friends with the United States for peace and prosperity.
One could say that entrepreneurism is part of the DNA of Chinese people. Wherever in the world Chinese live, they flourish as hard workers and help businesses thrive. President Xi Jinping on March 17 spoke about his vision of the "China Dream" offering hope to his people for a more peaceful and prosperous future. The "American Dream" promotes the beneficial example of embracing core virtues and values like faith, hope and charity with an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong pioneering work ethic to ensure the dream is realized by all citizens. The long history between China and America has repeatedly illustrated "trust, friendship and peace" even if sometimes clear understanding of the different cultural mentalities is challenging. That is exactly why "cultural encounters" between people to people through trustworthy tourism and commerce is vital and will make the China Dream and the American Dream a positive reality and foster peace.
First Pick Good Friends and Save Our Children
From personal experience, the country to be wary of is Russia. It pretends to be a friend and ally to both of our nations but its strategy for nearly a century has not advanced as purported. They are determined to achieve their agenda and rule the roost globally, at minimum desiring to be a major player in world direction but their way. America and China should be cautious to prevent "From Russia with Love" sparking "The Russia Syndrome" with the "Scarface" environment. They have nukes and dubious characters in relationships with nations whose rogue leaders indiscriminately murder their own citizens and their neighbors' citizens. America and China must be mindful of what is going on in Syria with an anti-peace leader supported by Iran. These anti-peace countries are supported strongly by Russia. Watch out for the safety of Israel, a country which enjoys good relationships with both China and America. Especially keep an eye on the center point city Jerusalem and the stability of the surrounding region. The so called "Arab-spring" in neighboring countries like Libya and Egypt was not good news for world peace. In Hawaii we have a local word for this kind of touted tale, "waha."
Russia is a chameleon nation, dangerous for world security. Having spent extensive time in what law enforcement professionals consider unsafe regions of the world, I categorically state that the time spent in Russia was the most alarming. While it is encouraging to see Russian Orthodox Churches and Jewish Synagogues full of people giving an impression of civility, the disturbing news is that simultaneously the government allows gangsters to hang out expansively in blacked out Escalades with throngs of machine gun carrying bodyguards in tow. It looks like witnessing shootings of a Quentin Tarantino film on every street corner and in every glitzy hotel and restaurant in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Then to force tourists to pay $1,000 for an unexpected extra visa to visit another Russian city with the startling message "pay if you want to exit" is corruption at its core. Not a friendly place to visit or to live.
Perhaps if Pope Francis were called upon to consecrate Russia again to be helped by their beloved Patroness Mother, the Russian leadership would embrace the noteworthy Beijing and Aloha Spirit of Virtue, for the good of humanity. Arguably, Mother Mary's Immaculate Heart protection could help improve this troubled land mired in deep dichotomy to inspire harmony. Maybe that is why a powerful meteorite hit the Ural Mountains reportedly injuring 1,100 Russian people during the same week the Pope's predecessor "out of the blue" resigned. Perhaps it was a providential reminder that Russia needs a powerful prayer to the Mother of Peace and Good to bring about an age of peace and goodness in our world of strife and corruption. After all, we must save our children and future generations.
First Be Peacemakers and Good Examples
Interestingly, President Xi Jinping and Pope Francis came to power in their current leadership roles on the same day, March 14, 2013. Their first encounter on the job so to speak, both being responsible for the future of more than a billion people each. These new leaders, President Xi Jinping, whose first name means "close peace" and Pope Francis whose motto is "lowly, but chosen" both play a pivotal role in being peacemakers and good examples to other leaders in our increasingly threatening world. It will be interesting to see how these humble-style men lead. Like President Obama they are both fathers, each in a unique way but with many generations depending on their paternal direction. One can hope that the same Blessed Mother of Russia will also bless the endeavors of these world leaders for the good of all her children.
It is reported that First Lady Michelle Obama is not able to join her husband in welcoming this fresh first couple from China visiting America due to her daughters' school events. To her credit, she is choosing to be a mother first and foremost. Anecdotally, the dates selected for the two Presidents to meet are interesting to note. June 7 and 8 are the internationally celebrated "first family" peace days of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, devoted Mother and Son. May peace and good triumph through the maternal love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and May this first of its kind Sino-American "cultural encounter" bring about "trust, friendship and peace" through paternal guidance in the Spirit of the Father for the hearts and souls of China and America and for the good fortune and healthy future of all humanity!
Alleluia for the "Aloha and new Beijing Spirit"! Chinese-American fortune cookies at the concluding dinner of this 'cultural encounter of a first kind' will communicate with a smile, "Zhu ne ping an!" (Peace be with you!)