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Friendship Between Chinese, Russian Children Blossoms

Drumbeat at sunset, exhilarating games on the beach and dancing to the sound of music. Some 600 Chinese and Russian children have found themselves a lot closer through a campfire party on Sunday night.

On a beach near the All-Russia Children's Care Center in Vladivostok, about 60 students from Aba Prefecture of China's quake-hit Sichuan Province kicked off the party with a Chinese Wushu show followed by warm applause and cheers from their Russian friends.

The children then began playing a game named "passing on the flower in the drumbeat." According to the rules, the children would pass on the red-silk flower from one to another while listening carefully to the sound of drumbeat. As the beat stops, the one who fails to pass the flower to the next will have to get on the stage and give a performance.

Most students passed the flower as quickly as they can because of stage fear. Some even threw the flower away on touch of it. But some daring children deliberately kept the flower for a while to get a chance in the limelight. Some children even "fought" for it, adding even more joy to the jubilant party.

The game was followed by singing of the Russian folk songs "Katusha" and "Red Sailboat" by a Chinese student named Kun Hao from Mao County in Sichuan, and his Russian friend Alexander, respectively. All the other children joined them singing the songs as the familiar melody arose. Those are the two songs they have been singing together everyday since coming here over a week ago.

Seeing that many Chinese students could now sing the songs in fluent Russian, teachers from both sides and Russian students all clapped cheerfully.

After the performance, the children from the two countries began dancing "Guozhuang," the traditional greeting dance of Tibetan and Qiang nationalities, around the fire.

Eight Chinese teachers led the dance in the center, with other children, some in traditional Tibetan or Qiang's costumes, dancing hand in hand around in three circles. As hard as it is, many of the children have mastered the moves of the dance after days of training.

Apparently, real friendship between the Chinese and Russian children has blossomed since the children arrived in Vladivostok over a week ago.

Even after the party, the children wandered on the beach, and continue to play games, sing songs and dance. They used body language when they could not totally understand each other.

Vitaly Marzoev, director of the All-Russia Children's Care Center, said kids from the two countries were now getting along well. He hoped they could keep in touch in the future, and let their children be friends.

The Chinese students traveled to Russia at the invitation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who, during his visit to China in May, offered to host children from China's quake-affected areas for rehabilitation.

Under the plan, a total of 1,570 Chinese children will visit Russia during 2008 and 2009.

A devastating earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale hit China's southwest region on May 12, leaving about 70,000 people dead, 374,000 injured and 18,000 missing.

(Xinhua News Agency July 29, 2008)

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