Real life people to people exchange

Cheming Yang

When we think about social interactions nowadays, we tend to think about the interactions made possible by the application of the Internet, for instance, whether you use messenger, microblog, facebook, google+, etc. You can see and talk to your friends through internet via a variety of applications, such as Skype. If there is no need to chat, you can track the tidings of a lot of friends through facebook without talking to them. And the technology is not limited to getting connected with old friends. With the choices of numerous social clubs on line, you get to know new friends as well. So what kind of people to people exchange are they referring to in the 3rd U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE)?

In the third CPE, the two sides agreed to continue ongoing CPE achievements including the U.S. 100,000 Strong Initiative and China’s three 10,000 scholarship programs, the U.S.-China Young Scientists Forum, the East Asia Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. science students, renewal of the U.S.-China Cultural Implementing Accord, the U.S.-China Women Leadership Exchange and Dialogue (Women-LEAD), and the U.S.-China Young Leaders Exchange. And there are more educational, cultural and sports exchanges forthcoming. What do these differ from internet exchanges?

People to people exchanges can be promoted in many ways, virtual or non-virtual. With the advance of the Internet, virtual social interactions certainly shorten the distance between people. However, if we rely too much on virtual experiences, it might in effect widen the gap between people. You do not really know the persons, when you cannot shake their hands, dine with them and hang out with them. You can not really feel the appeal of the land when you cannot touch the soil and observe the scenery and the people at the same time. Virtual people to people exchanges can complement real life people to people exchanges, but in no way replace them. Real life to life exchange is good for mutual understandings and is good for business as well. So we applaud the initiatives in promoting the travels across thePacific Ocean. Virtual experiences are no match for real life experiences.

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