Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chinese Consulate in LA Welcomes Chinese Adoptees

Interesting, here's the report by the People's Daily of a visit by children adopted from China to the Chinese Embassy in Los Angeles:
Singing Chinese songs, performing Chinese dances, eating Chinese food -- for those children adopted from China by 30 American families, it is their first "home-coming visit" at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Nine years ago, Alaina Olson was found abandoned at a shopping mall in Anqing, a city in east China's Anhui Province, and was sent to an orphanage when she was two months old. Now she is a third-year student at an elementary school in Los Angeles.

But her adoptive parents Albert and Melainie Gee-Olson still call her Yunfei, which means flying cloud. They like the Chinese name given by the orphanage in Anqing.

Yunfei looked happy and excited. "I have not visited China since I left, but my Dad promised he would take me there next year," Yunfei told Xinhua.

Olson confirmed that he would take Yunfei back to China next year for a visit, and of course she would go back to Anqing, Olson said. He said that when Yunfei was two years old, he sent her to a private language school to learn Chinese. "I want Yunfei to learn the Chinese language and the Chinese culture. She is now an American, but I don't want her to forget her Chinese origin," Olson added.

She is now growing like her American schoolmates. "Los Angeles is a multicultural community," Olson said, adding that at least one third of Yunfei's classmates are Asians. Two of the four adopted children in her class came from China.

Most U.S. citizens have chosen China as one of the most reliable and stable countries for adopting children since the year 2000, when there was an explosion in the number of children adopted from abroad.

* * *

Consul General Qiu Shaofang at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles welcomed those adopted children. He said he is pleased to know that many adopted children are learning Chinese and the Chinese culture here in the United States.

"You are angels of friendship and will serve as a bridge between China and the United States," said Qiu.
And here's the People's Dailyreport of last year's visit:
Chinese Embassy in the United States held a reception on Saturday for the American families having adopted Chinese children.

"It is a miracle that people so far away apart get connected, form a family, go through all the cultural barriers and live happily together. This is a strong proof how eastern and western cultures can coexist in harmony instead of clashing with each other," Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Zhang Yesui said when addressing the event.

Around 80 American families with children adopted from China, along with officials from U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption, U.S. Department of State and other agencies, were invited to the reception.

"The friendship between the two peoples will be further enhanced by a new generation with Chinese descent and American background. China will continue to commit itself to the bilateral cooperation of adoption and to the Sino-U.S. friendship," said the Ambassador.

U.S. officials attending the reception also expressed their thanks and willingness to push forward the friendship between the two countries and the two peoples.
I'm intrigued by the differences in how these visits were reported, and what that may tell us about the relationship between the two countries on issues unrelated to adoption.  I'm by no means a Sinologist, but there are certainly some suggestive elements.

The year's story is a "feel-good" story about adoption and culture.  Last year's story seems to place more emphasis on the "friendship" between the two countries than the incidental adoption theme.  In some ways, the earlier story seems conciliatory, more about making nice, strengthening relationships. China seems to be speaking from a position of weakness. In this year's story, it seems to me China is presenting a stronger posture, a more see-how-valuable-China-is position, with less emphasis on the relationship between the countries.  Hmmm. . . .

Am I reading too much into this? [Probably!]  What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Well, you may be on to something as far as the reporting in Peoples Daily. But the process has been ongoing for a while. The SF PRC consulate has always been ahead of the curve on all this. It has "partied" with FCC and the main local agencies for years, for Children's Day and/or Chinese New Year. Over the years their annual party has shifted from a formal reception-type event to an event more fully involving consulate staff families and their kids. (Their staff now includes a lot of folks accompanied by their families and kids...itself a change from earlier years). Consulate parties now feature entertainment provided by their kids performing songs and dances, (as well as our kids)and there are games and activities to include all the kids. Quite elaborate always, lots of food, etc. And while the consul general and staff have attended our big FCC New Year party for years, and their children have offered part of the entertainment for the last few, this year, the families and their kids staffed their own fundraising booth to help raise money for our FCC orphanage fund. "Policy" for sure, but they put care and money into it, and the mood is kind, generous and genuine. May it benefit our kids over the long haul!

Amy said...

Anonymous - I'm glad their has been an ongoing relationship with the consulate.

Regarding the articles - I'm no expert by any means, but I wondered if this year's more feel-good spin was to counter the more negative adoption press within China concerning the recent baby trafficking scandal. Perhaps to say, see how adoptive parents love their children and teach them to honor China? Maybe make officials who were involved in the scandal seem less evil? But what do I know. I am probably reading too much into it.