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Fourth Friendship Forum- Nanchang
The Fourth Friendship Forum took place in Nanchang, provincial capital of Jiangxi Province. Nanchang is a center for politics, science, culture, and economics, and is known for the Communist Party's uprising in 1927 (which led to the founding of its army).

Delegations invited on the tour of northern Jiangxi Province included Tonga, Australia, Canada, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Maori, United States, Guyana, Bahamas, Trinidad, and Tobago. Arriving in Nanchang, the group enjoyed dinner. In the morning, leaders, hosts, and delegates gathered for a group photo on the steps of the famous Jiangxi Hotel.

The opening ceremony of the Fourth Friendship Forum began with a brief introduction by Mr. Qing Boming, Deputy Director General of the Department of American and Oceania Affairs, CPAFFC. Mr. Sun Gang, Vice Governor of Jiangxi Provincial People's Government and President of Jiangxi Provincial Friendship Association, gave the welcome speech, followed by Mme. Li Xiaolin and HRH Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita, Princess of Tonga.

Robert Sanborn, President of US-China Peoples Friendship Association, chaired the first of three sessions of the day, followed by the presidents of Australia-China and New Zealand-China friendship associations. Representatives from each of the delegations present gave speeches recognizing and describing important friendship events, cultural ties, and economic gains made collaboratively between their country and China. Mr. Bill Willmott, former President of New Zealand-China Friendship Society, summarized the speeches of the day, with closing remarks by Mr. Qing Boming. Speeches and presentations emphasized the importance of building friendships and increasing cultural understanding to create a better world.

In the evening each delegation was asked to share in a "performance" for camaraderi and entertainment. The USCPFA delegation gave a rendition of the Chinese folk song "Kang Ding Qing Ge," translated by Ed Lin, read by Dan O'Connell, and sung by the delegation, led by Diana Greer. Soon everyone in the room was singing and good spirits abounded.

Historic Tengwang Pavilion (located on the bank of the Ganjiang River) was originally built in 653 AD during the Tang Dynasty. After being destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it was finally rebuilt in 1989 with concrete and in an architectural style reminiscent of the Song Dynasty. It was named after King Teng, who was then governor of Nanchang. Tang poet Wang Bo memorialized the pavilion in his famous work "Preface to Tengwang Pavilion.

The tour group headed towards Jiujiang City in northern Jiangxi Province. Delegations visited Best Solar Co., Ltd. in Nanchang High-Tech Zone. Best Solar has two sites, located in Suzhou and Nanchang, and is one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels for thin film solar modules. With the company goal of creating the highest quality product at the lowest cost, Best Solar is able to make use of the most advanced technology in the thin film solar market. The group also toured a modern day assembly-styled garment factory.

DigiEcoCity
DigiEcoCity--model of a new Gongqing City Jiujiang City
Jiujiang City

The delegations visited a building where a small-scaled model of a new Gongqing City was on exhibit. DigiEcoCity, designed for a population of 100,000, is being built to address China’s rapid urbanization complexities. Based on ecological principles, DigiEcoCity was designed with innovations in housing, transportation, water, and infrastructure, emphasizing environmental and sustainable growth solutions.

An afternoon visit to rural Zifang (Xingfang) Village (population 188 with 46 families) brought out many families, curious to see and meet the people from all over the world who had descended upon their village. Xingfang VillageThe friendly and courteous people welcomed us warmly as we toured various homes, cultivated areas, and other sites throughout the village. Designated as a Biogas Project, the De’an County village boasts two centralized bio-gas tanks and 20 individual tanks with bio-gas available in over three quarters of the households. Cotton is an important crop in the area.

After leaving the farm village, the group came to the Tianmu Hot Springs Hotel, located in the beautiful and mountainous area of Xingzi County. This was a lovely place; the mist in the mountains seemed to cover the alluring hills whille the spring waters were inviting.

Mt. Lushan

BrocadeDeparting for Mt. Lushan, the entourage wound up the narrow, curvy roads, where often there was only room for one lane of traffic and views of sheer cliffs. Situated between the Yangtze River and Poyang Lake, graceful Lushan Mountain is widely acclaimed for its extraordinary beauty and ancient historical sites. Excited travelers found walkways and hidden paths to follow around the lake, and the picturesque town close by was often enveloped in clouds and mist.

Later that day the group visited Hanpokou (the mouth that swallows the Poyang Lake) on scenic Hanpo Mountain. Cable cars traversed the valley up to the mountain with sweeping breathtaking views. With two days left to see Jiangxi Province, the group followed the Flower Path where long ago blooming peach blossoms enticed poet Bai Juyi to write on his way to Dalin Temple:

All flowers have withered outside
But the peach flowers at the mountain temple have just begun to bloom
I’d felt sad that spring had gone.
I had not expected to meet it here.

Climbing Brocade Path was invigorating, and those who made the steep trek were greeted by fabulous views of dizzying heights versus extreme lows, and rugged cliff features with tiny, fragile wildflowers. It was a magical experience getting to see the Immortal's Cave and feeling like one could really become immortal. A legend tells of Lu Dougbin living in this cave and becoming an immortal before he joined the seven others to cross the sea.

Tea with the Princess

As we were returning, the Princess of Tonga invited us to have tea with her in the garden.  Another lovely afternoon passed.
Photo: Linda Hanley

Lushan has many villas which were built by foreigners eager to seek the financial advantages of the area. The Meilu Villa belonging to Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling was also visited by Mao Zedong on his first stay in Lushan. Mt. Lushan is also known for the Lushan Conference in 1959 where Mao exerted his influence which empowered him to implement the "Great Leap Forward." We visited the Lushan Museum which encompassed Mao’s sprawling house and exhibited much of the original period furniture. As we were sightseeing at Mao's villa, a thunderstorm surprised us and suddenly the atmosphere was dotted with festive, multi-colored umbrellas.

We visited the family summer home of Pearl Sydenstricker, later known to the world as Pearl Buck. The family escaped the sultry summer temperatures and enjoyed the coolness of the Lushan resort area. Having recently visited Pearl Buck’s birthplace in Hillsboro, West Virginia, it was coincidental to be here following her journey to China, and then seeing the place she lived as a child where her writing had its origins.

Jingdezhen City

The group bade farewell to Mt. Lushan and departed for Jingdezhen City, which is world-renowned for its long porcelain history. While on the grounds of the Museum of Porcelain History, members were able to see objects from different historical periods, architectures of Ming and Qing dynasties, and hear music played on porcelain instruments. The group saw a group of ancient kilns and walked inside one still fired once a year. Master potters and painters were at work making practical and decorative porcelain creations. On the last day of the tour, the delegations also visited the Porcelain Museum, which housed many expensive and priceless works. The nearby ceramics market featured all kinds of porcelain objects in myriad colors, shapes, and sizes. We all wondered how to meet the luggage weight requirements!

The time came for us to fly out of Jingdezhen Airport on the eve of Thursday, September 16. Some went to Shanghai and Beijing; others continued on separate journeys. Many new friendships were started; many old friendships were renewed.

Again, the USCPFA Delegation sincerely thanks the CPAFFC, CIFCA, Jiangxi Provincial People’s Government, and all those who made our stay in China such an amazing journey. The kindnesses shown to us will always be remembered.

Diana Greer, Tour Leader
Note: Photos by Linda Hanley