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People-to-people exchanges help fuel development of China-Russia ties

Updated: Oct 13,2014 9:00 PM     Xinhua

With a series of people-to-people exchange deals to be signed during Premier Li Keqiang’s current visit to Russia, humanistic cooperation -- one of three pillars of China-Russia ties -- will further help fuel the development of bilateral relations.

The China-Russia cultural and people-to-people exchanges have yield fruitful results since the establishment of the China-Russia Committee on Humanistic Cooperation in 2000. At the moment, humanistic cooperation between the two neighboring countries covers various fields including youth, education, culture, sports, tourism and media.

DEEPENING TRADITIONAL FRIENDSHIP

The peoples of China and Russia enjoy a longstanding traditional friendship, and fully-blooming people-to-people exchanges have undoubtedly contributed to deepening friendship and fostered a sense of affinity between the two peoples.

Since 2006, the two countries have held reciprocal events, namely National Years, Language Years and Tourism Years. All these events have injected sustained vitality into bilateral ties and helped broaden mutual understanding between the two peoples.

The successful Tourism Years program in the past two years has promoted bilateral tourism cooperation, with China becoming Russia’s biggest source of foreign tourists, and Russia becoming China’s third-largest source.

This year witnesses the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchange Year in Russia in 2014, and is in anticipation of the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchange Year in China in 2015, in implementation of the fourth thematic program between the two countries initiated by President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in March last year.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Youth Years in March this year, Vice Premier Liu Yandong said the launch of the event is a new start to safeguard and maintain the friendly ties between the two peoples, pass on tradition and make contributions to world peace and development.

Within the framework of the Youth Years, the two sides have prepared more than 300 activities, including large-scale two-way youth visits, language contests, sport games, youth forums and art festivals.

According to officials, some 100,000 youths from China and Russia are expected to participate in these activities.

“New generations, who better acknowledge and understand each other’s culture and value systems, are taking shape in Russia and China,” said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets recently.

CEMENTING BASIS FOR COOPERATION

Over recent years, China and Russia have spared no efforts to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges and consolidate the social foundation for China-Russia cooperation.

Starting from this year, China and Russia will each send a large number of representatives of young people from various fields to visit the other country annually, and will jointly establish a long-term mechanism for youth exchanges.

Both sides have also decided to increase the number of exchange students, which will encourage people in each country to study in the other country. According to officials, the number of exchange students will have reached 100,000 by 2020 -- 50,000 Chinese students in Russia and 50,000 Russians in China.

Meanwhile, China supports the establishment of Russian language centers in Confucius institutes in Russia so as to train Chinese-Russian translation students.

China and Russia are also eyeing joint programs this year in health care and medical fields, as well as exchange of information for disaster relief.

With the joint efforts of both sides, long-running “China Fervor” and “Russia Fervor” have been sparked in the two countries.

Putin has said that only on the basis of humanistic cooperation will Russia and China further promote politically mutual trust. Now, the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have paved the way for further development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership.

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