The Treasure Boat of Zheng He in Singapore

In the early fifteenth century, China’s great navigator, Zheng He, visited Singapore several times on his ocean voyages. A full-size replica of the treasure boat of Zheng He is on display in the maritime museum of Singapore to honor this historic event. In the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, many people from China’s Guangdong and Fujian provinces migrated to Southeast Asia, bringing with them Chinese culture and skills, and sowing the seeds of China–Singapore friendship.

  • Forging a Strong Partnership to Enhance Prosperity of Asia—Speech at the National University of Singapore (November 7, 2015).


In the early fifteenth century, more than 600 years ago, a huge fleet organized by the government of the Ming Dynasty and headed by Eunuch Grand Director Sanbao, Zheng He, set sail from Liujiagang Port in Taicang, China. Over the next 28 years, Zheng He headed this fleet to conduct seven voyages, travelling by sea to more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. These were the world-renowned Zheng He’ voyages to the West. This heroic undertaking by Zheng He occurred more than half a century before Columbus discovered the New World, and it is regarded as the harbinger of the age of exploration.

As people marvel at Zheng He’s seven voyages, they focus their attention on the majestic treasure boat. Liang Qichao, a famous modern scholar who once emphasized that “People will never have another Zheng He” and noted that “There are two matters concerning Zheng He’s voyages that are worthy of particular attention.” One matter is “the development level of the navigation facilities in the Ming Dynasty”. According to historical records, Zheng He’s treasure boat was “148 meters long and 26.6 meters wide.” That is approximately 125 meters long, 50 meters wide, with a draught of nine meters and a displacement of more than 17,000 tons. Compared to this “colossus”, the flagship of Columbus’s fleet (25.9 m long) was a “tiny boat”, and even the wooden warship Victoria built four centuries later by means of the British mobilizing the whole nation’s capability and taking 6 years to build “lagged behind it”. This is historical evidence of the national strength of Ming.

Despite having the world’s largest fleet, Zheng He aimed at neither invading nor plundering other countries, nor playing the role of the “maritime hegemon”—quite the contrary. He served as an “envoy of peace” promoting exchanges between the East and the West throughout his voyages. Every time he arrived in a country, the first thing he did was to declare the imperial edict and express Ming’s hope of sharing the joy of peace with the world; the second was to convey Ming’s will to establish and develop friendly exchanges with the country by presenting gifts to the King and officials; and the third was to conduct trade negotiations. During the seven voyages, Zheng He did not seize a single inch of land in other countries, nor did he pillage any country. Instead, he treated all nations with courtesy and equality, and he even brought them a large number of exquisite articles such as silk and porcelain. Because of this, the treasure boat of Zheng He is still praised by many countries and regions as a symbol of “peace”, “friendship” and “communication.”

Today, a full-size replica of Zheng He’s treasure boat is on display at the Singapore Maritime Experiential Museum, which is situated on Sentosa Island, Singapore, to honor this historic event. The treasure boat is as high as a three-story building and extremely majestic. An open theater is set at the bow of the boat, where visitors can recapture Zheng He’s stories of his voyages by watching animated short films on a large screen.

“Harmonious” and “new” were the words most frequently expressed in the news reports on Xi Jinping’s visit to Singapore. Narrating the story about the replica of the treasure boat of Zheng He, Xi illustrated the “close bonds among our peoples” and expressed his expectations of China–Singapore cooperation in making progress in our respective endeavors toward development.

With regard to Xi’s visit to Singapore, citizen groups throughout the country extended to him a warm welcome as though they were receiving a “relative”. The local people said with emotion that, “President Xi has worked in Fujian for many years, and the vast majority of us Singaporean Chinese are from Fujian and Guangdong, China, so we have a deep sense of kinship with him.” In fact, Xi came to Singapore three times as early as the 1980s and 1990s. As an old friend of President Chen Qingyan and Premier Li Xianlong, he met them many times. In terms of China–Singapore friendship, Xi is a witness as well as a facilitator. “Looking ahead, I believe that Asia is once again taking the lead in promoting the development of history. Asia is our homeland, and it is where our future lies.” He concluded the speech with these sincere words. Words that are spoken from the heart often become more deeply rooted in the hearts of others. This is an important reason why Xi has repeatedly set off a whirlwind of charisma with his “Xi-Style Diplomacy” in his state visits.

The “Friendly Past” of China and the US

Some 230 years ago, Empress of China, a US merchant ship, sailed across vast oceans to the shores of China. Some 150 years ago, tens of thousands of Chinese workers joined their American counterparts in building the trans-continental Pacific Railway. Some 70 years ago, China and the United States, as allies in World War II, fought shoulder-to-shoulder to defend world peace and justice. In that war, thousands of American soldiers lay down their precious lives for the just cause of the Chinese people. We will never forget the moral support and invaluable assistance the American people gave to our just resistance against aggression and our struggle for freedom and independence.

  • Speech at the Welcoming Dinner Hosted by Washington Local Governments and Friendly Organizations in the United States (September 22, 2015).


On February 22, 1784, a cargo ship with a carrying capacity of 360 tons sailed from New York, US, to Guangzhou, China. At that time, the US, which has just gained independence and was being aggressed by the British trade blockade, urgently sought to communicate with the outside world. The American merchants thus extended an olive branch to China, a nation on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, and gave the ship a name of respect and beauty—Empress of China. On May 11, 1785, the Empress of China returned home fully supplied from its first voyage between China and the US carrying a great quantity of Chinese commodities back to the US including pottery, porcelain, silk and sandalwood fans. The so-called father of the US, and its first president, George Washington appreciated the porcelain brought by the ship and selected and bought more than 300 pieces. Today, these antiques, which were created two centuries ago, are preserved at Mount Vernon, Washington’s former residence and at the Museum of Pennsylvania. An “old China hand” from the US once commented that, “To a crazy ship all winds are contrary. It is gratifying that the Empress of China was not such a crazy ship because it brought splendid and brilliant Chinese culture, which much benefits America.”

The Pacific Railroad, the great artery of America traversing the continent from east to west, was also branded with “Chinese impressions”. In 1863, it broke ground. Compared with the eastern section that stretched across the broad plains, the western section had to cope with poorer construction conditions brought about by the complex terrain. Nevertheless, the Chinese workers were said to “have achieved what other people could not achieve”. The then-governor of California reported to Andrew Johnson, then-President of the US, “They are composed and silent. Additionally, they were very industrious and peace-loving, with much higher endurance then other nationals. These Chinese people have amazing learning ability. They soon learned the expertise needed in future railway construction and could become skilled in the shortest possible time in any kind of work.” As a result, Chinese workers quickly became the main force in the construction of the western section, with up to more than 6,000 Chinese workers fighting on the front line of the Pacific Railroad.

Furthermore, China and the US share an “indelible national memory” that the two peoples stood side by side to fight against fascism. The Flying Tigers, established by American pilot Claire Lee Chennault, delivered 800,000 tons of war reserves to China’s battlefield and shot down and destroyed more than 2,600 enemy aircraft on this battlefield, achieving brilliant victories, one after another. The opening of the Hump route further ensured the transport of strategic supplies in China at the critical moment when the Burma Road was cut off. In the years we fought together, every American pilot in China carried a blood chit with him. The main text of the blood chit read “This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue, protect, and provide him medical care.” As long as the Chinese civilians came across an injured pilot wearing this blood chit, they treated him with all their capabilities.

In 2015, Xi Jinping visited Seattle, Washington, as the first stop of his state visit to the US Meeting old and new friends, Xi responded to some people’s doubts by retelling the stories about the American merchant ship—the Empress of China, the Pacific Railroad constructed jointly by the Chinese people and the American people, and the two people’s fighting against fascism, making clear that, the vast Pacific Ocean has ample space to accommodate our two great nations, and we have a deep foundation of public opinion and historical origin upon which to build a new model of major-country relationship.

In this speech, Xi also noted that a number of things are particularly important for our efforts in advancing the new model of the major-country relationship between China and the US from a new starting point: we must read each other’s strategic intentions correctly; we must firmly advance win–win cooperation; we must manage our differences properly and effectively; and we must foster friendly sentiment among our peoples. The above-mentioned three stories were told by Xi after his proposal of the latter, which served as a support for the following point: “Although geographically far apart, our peoples boast a long history of friendly exchanges.”

“The Foreign Soldiers of the Eighth Route Army” on the Battle of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

We the Chinese will never forget the invaluable support given by peace-loving and justice-upholding countries, peoples and international organizations in our fight against Japanese aggressors. The Soviet Union provided tremendous material support to our war of resistance. The American “Flying Tigers” took great risks in opening the Hump route. A large number of anti-fascist fighters from Korea, Viet Nam, Canada, India, New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, as well as from Germany, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Japan, participated directly in our war of resistance. Dr. Norman Bethune of Canada and Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis of India came all the way to China to treat the wounded and rescue the dying. Dr. Jean Bussiere of France opened his own “Hump” route to transport medicine with bicycles. John Rabe of Germany and Dr. Bernhard Arp Sindberg of Denmark worked courageously and resourcefully to protect Chinese refugees from harm in the Rape of Nanjing. Michael Lindsay of Britain, internationalist fighter Hans Schippe, and other journalists covered China’s war of resistance and told the rest of the world stories of China’s heroism. Toward the end of the war, the Soviet Red Army moved into China’s Northeast, sweeping the Japanese aggressors there together with the Chinese military and people, which hastened the Japanese defeat. All these stories remain popular among the Chinese people.

  • Speech at the Reception Commemorating The 70th Anniversary of the Victory of The Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression And the World Anti-Fascist War (September 3, 2015).


During the war, more than 70 years ago, the common cry for justice brought anti-fascist allies together to stop the scourge of the evil from spreading. To this day, some moving stories still circulate.

Norman Bethune was a doctor from Canada. In January 1938, he led a medical team to travel across the sea to China. He spent the following two years in China in healing the wounded and rescuing the dying on the battlefield. In the famous Battle of Qihui, Bethune set up an operating table in a temple 3.5 km from the battlefront, where he working continuously for 69 h and performed surgery on 115 wounded soldiers, despite the fact that the walls had been blasted down by the enemy. At that time, he was nearly 50 years old, yet he donated 300 ml of blood to the sick and wounded twice. He often said, “You should allow me to serve as a machine gun.” On November 12, 1939, Bethune died of blood poisoning, which he got during an emergency surgery on an injured soldier at the age of 49 in Huangshikou Village, Tangxian County, Hebei Province.

Dwarkanath Kotnis was a doctor from India. His Chinese name was “ ”, in which “ ” was transliterated from this family name “Kotnis”. To express his determination to struggle in China, he selected the Chinese character “ ” (meaning “China”) as his given name, hence came the Chinese name “ ”. He came to China with a five-person medical team after the outbreak of World War II. In February 1939, he joined the medical team of the Eighth Route Army in Yan’an, and in July 1942 he joined the CPC. During more than two years in the Shanxi–Chahar–Hebei border area, he always followed the example of Bethune, sparing no effort to treat and rescue the wounded from the battles against the Japanese army. He stated, “I am unwilling to leave my post for even one minute” even when he suffered a serious disease. In December 1942, he died of an epileptic seizure at the battlefront at the early age of 32.

Jean Bussiere was a doctor from France. During the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, doctors and medics were in short supply in the anti-Japanese base areas of the Eighth Route Army. Under the circumstances, he took advantage of his identity as a foreign doctor to cross the Japanese army’s blockade and took on the task of transporting medicine, bandages and other medical supplies for the Eighth Route Army. At first, he transported the supplies by car. However, as the Japanese army carried out the policy on rationing of gasoline, he opened his own “Hump” route to transport medicine with bicycles.

Our British friend Michael Lindsay, who served as a communications technology consultant, not only trained radio talents for our revolutionary bases but also designed and built antennas and transmitters for the Eighth Route Army, enabling the rest of the world to hear the “voice of Yan’an”.

The German friend Hans Schippe risked hardships and dangers to interview the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army in Yan’an, southern Anhui and northern Jiangsu in wartime. Writing a great number of reports to disclose the true situation of heroic resistance by the Chinese’s people to the rest of the world, he was called “the foreign soldier of the Eighth Route Army”.

September 3 is a day worth being forever etched in the memory of people all over the world. On this day in 1945, the Chinese people, having fought tenaciously for 14 years, won the great victory of their War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, marking the full victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. On that day, the world was once again blessed by the sunshine of peace. On such a special day, Xi Jinping affectionately told the stories of foreign friends fighting with the Chinese people to stress that peace is not easily come by, and it must be resolutely defended.

Success in creating a better future hinges on correctly understanding history. In his speech, Xi Jinping explained the Chinese people’s view of history from two positive and negative perspectives. From the negative perspective, forgetting history is tantamount to betrayal, and denying past aggression is to make a mockery of history and constitutes an insult to the human conscience. Such behavior can only lead to a loss of credibility in the eyes of people all over the world. From a positive perspective, history’s lessons are a valuable asset that belongs to all mankind. We should draw wisdom and strength from history, pursue peaceful development and work together to create a more promising future for world peace. At the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and The World Anti-Fascist celebration held on the same day, Xi not only reaffirmed China’s diplomatic philosophy, “China will never seek hegemony or expansion,” but also announced that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000. This action is an embodiment of China’s dedication to peace.

Marshal’s Daughter in the Nazi Concentration Camp

Fighting shoulder to shoulder against the common enemy, the Chinese people and the Belarusian people paid a huge sacrifice for and made splendid contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. In a Nazi concentration camp in Minsk, Zhu Min, the daughter of Zhu De, one of the founding fathers of new China, fought against German fascists with her friends in Belarus. General Tang Duo extended a helping hand to Minsk in its war of liberation. The Belarusian pilots from the Red Army of the Soviet Union set foot on Chinese soil to help the Chinese pilots fight Japanese aggressors in air combat, and they took part in important battles for the liberation of Northeast China. The “Heroes of the Soviet Union” such as Air Marshal Aleksej Sergejevič Blagoveščenski, Air Marshal Nikolajenko and Major General Zdanovic were outstanding representatives of these heroes.

  • Let the Symphony of the Friendly China-Belarus Cooperation Struck up a More Lively Beat—A Signed Article on Belarus Media (May 8, 2015).


Zhu Min was the only daughter of Marshal Zhu De. In February 1941, Zhu Min was sent to The First International Children’s School in Moscow, Soviet Union, under the alias of “Chi Ying” to avoid exposing her identity. The family name “Chi” alluded to “Zhu” (both of these two Chinese characters mean “red”). The cold climate in Moscow caused Zhu Min, who had suffered from asthma since she was very young, to have a relapse. Therefore, the Children’s School sent her to the Young Pioneers’ Summer Camp set in a suburb of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to recuperate. Unfortunately, however, the night Zhu Min arrived at the camp, the German-Soviet war broke out. The enemy occupied Minsk before the children could retreat, whereafter they transported the children to a Nazi concentration camp. In the concentration camp, Zhu Min and her companions insisted on “fighting against” fascism despite torment from the enemy. They either took advantage of the enemy’s inattention and poured water into the cartridge boxes to make the bullets damp, or they spit into or mixed elements such as sand with gunpowder while making bullets. Zhu Min and her companions did not escape from the Nazi concentration camp until early 1945, when they were liberated by the Soviet army.

“The Flying General” Tang Duo was the only Chinese pilot who fought with the Luftwaffe in the Soviet Union, Poland and Germany. He joined a fighter company of the Soviet Air Force during the Great Patriotic War. As deputy commander of the fighter company, he once led four attack planes flying at a very low altitude to destroy dozens of enemy planes, distinguishing himself and leading him to be praised as the “Chinese eagle” in the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War. He also set a record of six times take-offs within a single day in the battle of liberation of East Prussia in the spring of 1945. Due to his brilliant achievements in war, he was awarded by the government of the Soviet Union the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star, the Order of the Patriotic War and many other orders and medals.

The Chinese people will never forget the assistance from the “old friends”. Upon the outbreak of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the China Aid Volunteer Air Force from the Soviet Union composed of a large number of Soviet pilots came to China. Air Marshal Aleksej Sergejevič Blagoveščenski commanded a fighter plane company composed of Chinese and Soviet pilots in several aerial combats in China during the period from 1937 to 1938. When the Chinese city of Wuhan was hit by an air raid initiated by the Japanese army in May 1938, Blagoveščenski’s company destroyed a total of 36 enemy planes, seven among which were shot down by him. Another air marshal, Nikolajenko, once successfully undermined the Japanese army’s plan of a dense bombardment in Hankou leading a team of pilots equal to only one-third of the enemy forces. During more than four years, the China Aid Volunteer Air Force from the Soviet Union produced 14 “Heroes of the Soviet Union”.

In his articles published in the Belarus media, Xi Jinping shared the time-honored China-Belarus friendship with the world in an impressive and memorable way by telling the story of Marshal Zhu De’s daughter, Zhu Min, and the stories of the pilots of the two countries who fought side by side.

In the eyes of Chinese readers, Zhu Min was the daughter of Marshal Zhu De; however, few of them know that she had experience fighting against German fascists with her friends in Belarus. In the memories of Belarusian readers, Blagoveščenski was their air marshal; however, they are unaware that he was “Captain Zhang Fei” in the Chinese people’s hearts because he traveled to China to participate in air combat against Japanese aggressors. Skobelev, the curator of the Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum, noted with emotion that, “In his article, President Xi told the story of how the Chinese people and the Belarusian people fought side-by-side in World War II and established a strong friendship, which was very useful for the Belarusians to gain an understanding of the history of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.”

The Humanitarian Spirit Lighting up the Darkness

On July 7, 1937, the Japanese aggressors launched a brutal war of aggression against China, bringing an unprecedentedly dreadful disaster to the Chinese people. China was flooded with the flames of war and the smoke of gunpowder, and the Chinese people were plunged into an abyss of misery. It was a scene of utter desolation, full of the dead bodies of the starved and the murdered.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing on December 13, 1937, and they began the extremely brutal Nanjing Massacre. More than 300,000 Chinese compatriots were murdered, including a large number of children dying unnatural deaths and innumerable women who were raped. A third of the buildings in the city were damaged, and large quantities of property were looted. The Nanjing Massacre, committed by Japanese aggressors, was one of three major massacres during World War II. It was an atrocious crime against humanity, and it was a dark page in human history.

Nevertheless, what touches us is that during those days of bloody slaughter, Chinese compatriots helped and supported one another in defending their homeland, and many foreign friends protected the Nanjing residents and recorded the atrocities of the Japanese aggressors, despite the risks. German businessman John Rabe, Bernhard Arp Sindberg from Denmark, and American priest John Magee were among the foreign friends. The Chinese people will never forget their humanitarian spirit and brave and righteous acts.

  • Speech at the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims (December 13, 2014).


Even the dark night cannot cover a glimmer of light. On December 13, 1937, Japanese troops captured Nanjing and began the extremely brutal Nanjing Massacre. At the critical moment when the time-honored city of Nanjing was reduced to a “sea of death”, the German friend John Rabe called together dozens of foreigners in China to establish the “NanKing Safety Zone”, which sheltered approximately 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre. He was therefore called the “Schindler of China”. Despite the bombing by the Japanese army, Rabe not only resolutely stayed in Nanjing to protect the unarmed Chinese civilians, but he also composed The Good Man of Nanking, which devotes more than 2,400 pages to record the atrocities of the Japanese aggressors, and it has been rated as one of the most important and most detailed and accurate historical materials of the Nanjing Massacre.

It was also during that period, when Nanjing was stormed and captured, that the Danish friend Bernhard Arp Sindberg sheltered Chinese civilians in the Nanjing Jiangnan Cement Plant where he lived. In an effort to prevent the Japanese from entering the factory, Sindberg deliberately placed the flags of Denmark and Germany around the plant, and he also had a flag of Denmark of nearly 1,350 square meters painted on the roof of the workshop, “raising the biggest flag of Denmark in China”. From mid-February 1938 through mid-March, he, together with his fellows, provided shelter for more than 15,000 civilians.

When the American friend John Magee, who regarded China as his “home”, was in Nanjing, he secretly filmed the Japanese atrocities using a home video camera, leaving four reels of film that contain 105-min records of the atrocities. In 1946, he bravely took the seat of a witness in the international tribunal for the trial of Japanese war criminals in Tokyo, accusing the Japanese army of the bloody brutalities in Nanjing. Today, the precious video taken by Magee is still played continuously in the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.

Justice will never be evaded, and the humanitarian light will never be extinguished by darkness because it is the eternal hope of mankind. At China’s first National Memorial Day for the Nanjing Massacre Victims, Xi Jinping, by reviewing the stories about how the Chinese people and the international friends stood side-by-side to defend Nanjing from aggression, he proclaimed to the world that we Chinese will never forget the invaluable support given by the peace-loving and justice-upholding countries, the peoples and international organizations in our fight against Japanese aggressors, much less forget the glory of their humanity.

At the state memorial ceremony, Xi Jinping stepped onto the memorial platform with Xia Shuqin, an 85-year-old massacre survivor, and Yuan Zeyu, a 13-year-old descendant of Nanjing Massacre victims, with his hand supporting Xia Shuqin. Together they unveiled a “ding” (a type of ancient Chinese cauldron symbolizing state power and prosperity) dedicated to the victims. The moral of the ding is that “we all should remember the bitter lessons of war,” and we “should cherish and safeguard peace”. The reason to remember history is not to prolong hatred, but to call upon every good-hearted person to stand on guard for peace.

The Close Connection Between Brazil and Chinese Tea

“If you have a friend afar who knows your heart, distance cannot keep you two apart.” You cannot find a verse more appropriate than this to describe the relationship between China and Brazil. Although the two countries are separated by oceans, the vast Pacific Ocean could not stop the process of friendly exchanges between the two peoples. Two hundred years ago, the first Chinese tea growers traveled across great geographical distance to Brazil to plant tea and teach their skills. At the Vienna International Exhibition held in 1873, the tea produced in Brazil was widely praised. The Chinese and Brazilian peoples have forged a sincere friendship over the years, which is like the hard work of the Chinese tea growers who plant hope, harvest pleasure and taste friendship. The Chinese painting master Zhang Daqian lived in Brazil for 17 years. His masterpiece Ten Thousand Miles of the Yangtze River, Mount Huang, and Homesickness were produced in the Bade Garden, his residence in Brazil.

  • Carry Forward Traditional Friendship and Jointly Open up a New Chapter of Cooperation—Speech at the National Congress of Brazil (July 16, 2014).


Many people associate the “Kingdom of Samba”, Brazil, with coffee. However, few people know that as the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil, has “Chinese tea” as its first national drink. Here, Chinese tea is also an imported good, the same as coffee.

Brazil’s tea planting history can be traced back to long ago. During the period from 1812 to 1819, a group of tea farmers, who had rich experience in tea planting, came to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from China via Macao, and they began to plant Chinese tea in a well-cultivated manner on a specially authorized field in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. Not only did they successfully plant tea in Brazil, they also taught the Brazilian people the skills of tea planting and production, making Brazil the third largest tea-producing country in the world, following China and Japan. This phase of history was even reproduced as a performance at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

With the help of Chinese tea farmers, Brazil’s tea-planting industry boomed, with several other regions following Rio and becoming engaged in tea planting. In those days, the tea produced in Brazil not only met domestic demand, but it also successfully entered the global market. At that time, drinking tea was fashionable in Brazilian high society, and tea was once the national drink of Brazil. At the Vienna International Exhibition held in 1873, tea produced in Brazil won second place to Chinese tea.

Now, there is a sightseeing stand called the “Pavilion of China” in Tijuca Forest National Park in Rio. There visitors can experience a famous view of the city, which was built to commemorate the Chinese tea farmers who used to grow tea there. The “Pavilion of China” even appears in Rio, a film that is popular around the world.

The famous Chinese painter Zhang Daqian, who lived in Brazil for 17 years, built a celebrated garden—the Bade Garden—in a suburb of Sao Paulo. When he had just arrived in Brazil in early 1953, one day Zhang Daqian strolled along a hillside near his friend’s home, where at that time was living temporarily, and he came up a scene that resembled his hometown of Chengdu Plain. As a result, he bought the land and took three years to build a Chinese-style garden covering an area of 145,200 square meters. There are many persimmon trees planted in the garden, and it is said in China that the persimmon tree has eight virtues. “Eight virtues” refers to “ ” (Ba De) in Chinese characters, hence the name Bade Garden. According to the Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi, a writer in the Tang Dynasty, the persimmon tree has seven virtues: first, it can live long; second, it provides shade; third, there is no bird’s nest; fourth, it is not wormy; fifth, its autumn leaf can be used for play; sixth, it can give joy to guests; and seventh, its fallen leaf is big and can be used to write on. Zhang Daqian added the eighth virtue: its leaves can be decocted for treating gastric diseases (another version suggests that Zhang deemed the persimmon tree a subject worth painting).

As a Brazilian proverb goes, friendship is like wine, the mellower it is, the more aromatic it smells. The friendly exchanges between China and Brazil confirm this idea. “Nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision.” This point was vividly conveyed by Xi Jinping in his speech, during which he reviewed the history of friendly exchanges between the two peoples, and he used the industrious cultivation by the Chinese tea farmers as a metaphor for the sincere friendship between the peoples in their long history.

To look back on history is to embrace a brighter future. During Xi’s visit to Brazil, there was an episode that reflected the increasingly intimate relationship between China and Brazil: after arriving in Brazil, Xi attended the welcoming ceremony under the escort of Brazil’s cavalry. Such a high level of official welcoming was not been seen in Brazil for years. The Latin America tour in 2014 was Xi’s second trip to Latin America and the Caribbean as Chinese President. Receiving great attention from China, Brazil is the first leg of Xi’s ongoing Latin America tour. In the speech, he shared touching stories and showed sincerity, making him a foreign leader who won the most applause at the National Congress of Brazil.