On January 16th, the “Familial China · Charming City of Springs” opening ceremony of the 2024 "China Roots Exploration Winter Camp" was held at the Overseas Chinese International Cultural Exchange Base—Impression Jinan · Spring World.
During the event, 40 young people of Chinese descent from Panama participated in the opening ceremony and embarked on a 10-day winter camp-themed activity. The ceremony featured mutual gift exchanges, the Panamanian camp participants recited excerpts from the Analects in both Chinese and Spanish and sang Chinese songs together.
The phrase "A tree may grow a thousand feet tall, but it must not forget its roots; a river may flow for thousands of miles, but it always thinks of its source" embodies the common dream of Chinese descendants worldwide for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. At the opening ceremony, Jinan warmly welcomed the Panamanian youth and introduced them to Shandong and Jinan’s history, culture, and human geography. Jinan hopes that the young friends from Panama will enjoy their 10-day winter camp, turning this experience into a joyful journey – appreciating the city's scenery, listening to the gurgling springs, smelling the fragrance of books, and savoring the taste of Jinan. They are expected to gain from this journey, feeling the millennium-old history, experiencing modern China, improving their Chinese language skills, and becoming inheritors, disseminators, and promoters of Chinese culture. Furthermore, it should be a journey of friendship, where they make more friends, share stories about Panama and China, Shandong, and Jinan, and become "people-to-people ambassadors,” fostering good relationships.
Panama, one of the most important countries in Central America and the Caribbean, has a Chinese diaspora, constituting 10% of the total population. Despite being born in Panama, the young campers from Panama love and learn Chinese and aspire to understand Chinese history and culture. As one of the organizers of this event, Huaiyin District hopes that during the 10-day winter camp activities in Jinan and Qufu, these 40 young campers can experience a rich and diverse traditional culture, learning Chinese tea art, calligraphy, experiencing Chinese New Year customs, practicing paper cutting, clay sculpture, shadow puppetry, visiting the Confucius Mansion, the Temple of Confucius, and Mount Ni, and experiencing the profoundness of Confucian culture.
"I heard before that Jinan's spring water is very famous, and you can drink it directly, so I really wanted to come and see." The student representatives from Panama had prepared well with guidebooks before coming to Jinan. Their ancestors came from China, and they have some understanding of Jinan. "It's said that it's cold in Jinan in winter, so they told us to wear more clothes before coming."
The "China Roots Exploration" is an important cultural exchange brand activity with a high reputation among overseas Chinese. It holds significant importance in promoting outstanding traditional Chinese culture, telling Chinese stories well, strengthening cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries, and promoting mutual learning between world civilizations. The exploration of Chinese roots in this journey connects the descendants of the Yellow Emperor wherever they go. Returning to China is returning to their hometown, tracing back to their roots. The exploration of Chinese culture in this journey highlights the vastness and profoundness of Chinese culture, serving as a bridge and link between overseas Chinese and their ancestral homeland. It is believed that through on-site visits and exploration, young people of Chinese descent will deepen their understanding and recognition of China, fostering a stronger sense of pride in their nationality and confidence in their culture. Finally, the exploration of the spirit of China in this journey aligns with the efforts of the new era in realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The vibrant and positive young people of Chinese descent are the hope and future of overseas Chinese communities, and it is hoped that through this activity, they can, like their predecessors, care about and support the development of their ancestral homeland, actively participate in China's modernization, and contribute to the development of modern Chinese civilization.
（Li Xiaotong; Su Xiaomeng; Hao Lei; Hua Shan; Lei Youting; Gao Yuan; Yuan Yuhua; Hou Yawen; Liu Xiaohan; Lou Xinyu; Yang Yang; Li Ziyue; Zhou Nan; Zhang Xun; Xu Jiayi; Chen Zeyu; Liu Qianying; Chong Yaqi; Wang Jianle; Chen Shuning）