By Sun Guangyong, People’s Daily
A few Lao children recently had a trip on the Lane Xang electric multiple unit train(EMU), also known as Lancang, along the China-Laos railway. The trip was a total thrill for the children.
They felt the thrill because the trip was a dream coming true.
On April 29, 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a reply letter to students from the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School in Laos. In the letter, he welcomed the students an early trip to Beijing by taking the train on the China-Laos railway.
Two years later, the railway was officially put into service as the two countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“It never happened before that a leader of a major country sent a reply letter to Lao primary school students and teachers. The Lao children are so in happiness that they are cared for by President Xi,” said Bounmy Vilaisan, former principal of the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School.
In April 2019, Bounmy, together with several students, attended a sub-forum on people-to-people exchanges during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
As witnesses to and beneficiaries of China-Laos friendship and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), they expressed their gratitude to China.
“Our dormitory buildings, blackboards and even desks and chairs were built and donated by China. We didn’t know how we should repay the kindness, so we decided to write a letter to President Xi,” said Bounmy.
“We were so grateful that we wrote so long,” Bounmy told People’s Daily, pointing to the letter that covered four pieces of A4 paper.
At the sub-forum, she also sent a picture album to the Chinese President on behalf of her school. The album included 58 pictures drawn by the students from the school portraying the changes brought by the BRI to their school and hometown.
“I gave the letter and album to a Chinese staff on April 25, 2019, and unexpectedly, I received President Xi’s reply just four days later. It was like a dream,” Bounmy recalled.
Strengthening bilateral cooperation in promoting people’s livelihood and that within the BRI framework features in the efforts towards a China-Laos community with a shared future, Xi said, adding that carrying out more cooperation projects can bring tangible benefits to people.
“To enhance China-Laos cooperation and implement more livelihood projects will make our life better. President Xi’s remarks demonstrated to the Lao people the caring of a major country’s leader,” Bounmy said, adding that the BRI has improved the livelihood of the Lao people.
“President Xi’s letter was like one wrote by a kind elder to his children. It carried sincerity though it was short. All the students and teachers were happy and proud receiving it. The letter reflected the profound traditional friendship between Laos and China, as well as President Xi’s care for Lao children,” Bounmy noted.
She told People’s Daily that the students were studying even harder after reading President Xi’s letter. They hoped to learn Chinese and visit China someday, Bounmy said.
Bounmy has retired, but she always goes back to the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School. For the woman, the picture album is a reminder of her past memories, which demonstrates Lao children’s aspiration for a better life and their good wishes for Laos-China relationship.
The album includes a Chinese-style painting by a girl in the fourth grade that showcases the development of her hometown. She said she wanted President Xi to know that the BRI has made the life of the Lao people happier.
“The school is prettier, and villages are connected to power supply and flat roads. We also built solid brick houses. Our life is just getting better,” said Bounmy.
There is also a painting drawn by a fifth-grade boy in the album which portrays himself and his schoolmates taking the China-Laos railway to see their friends in Beijing. According to Bounmy, the boy made a lot of Chinese friends during a visit to a Beijing primary school.
“The children think they share similar dreams. They recently made a watercolor to express their gratitude to the constructors of the railway,” Bounmy said.
She said drastic changes are taking place at the China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School and villages along the China-Laos railway. “Our life will become only better,” she told People’s Daily.