Feature: Neil Bush, an American who sees China as second home


by Xinhua writers Zhang Yongxing, Zhao Xiaoqing
HOUSTON, Feb. 26 — From the office decor — the ancient scroll painting “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival,” screens, Chinese paper cut and peony porcelain — one would never guess the owner is an American.
For Neil Bush, son of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush and younger brother of former president George W. Bush, it is a way to show his deep personal bond with China, a country which he sees as a second home.
Bush has made more than 100 trips to more than 30 Chinese cities since 1975 when his father was the chief liaison officer for the United States in Beijing.
These multiple visits allowed him to take a “front seat” in observing the massive changes in China over the past three decades, he told Xinhua during a recent exclusive interview.
Speaking of his early impression of China, Bush, now in his early 60s, recalled it was a “dark and quiet place” where people always dressed in somber colors and streets were free of the rumbling of wheels. Still, he was touched by the kindness and gentleness of the people he met and their longing for a better life at that time.
Now it is great to see “the light shining on China,” he said. “I tell people all the time that I wish you could have seen Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi and Nanjing that we saw in 1975; to see the explosion of freedom that people have enjoyed, to see the economic progress that people have enjoyed in that great country over the past years.”
“China was a sleeping giant. Now, it has awakened. It has been really interesting to follow the progress,” said Bush, who opened an account on China’s largest microblog Sina Weibo in 2011 and has more than 133,000 followers.
“Very few young people in China have an idea of how far China has progressed since 1975, when this picture was taken. Do you recognize the biker?” He wrote on his Weibo account of an attached photo of his father riding a bicycle.
Meanwhile, he spoke highly of the concept of the Chinese Dream put forth by President Xi Jinping, which is to build a moderately prosperous society and realize national rejuvenation by sustaining growth through deepening reform and transforming growth pattern. “I have a lot of confidence that China is going to realize the dream,” he said.
“Basically, the dream to me is the aspiration of the Chinese people to develop their society on a stable platform that allows them to enjoy more freedom, more prosperity, clear air, educational opportunities for their children and opportunities for better jobs, and I hope the dream involves something my father called ‘Points of Light’, or a culture serving others,” he said.
Terming himself a real friend of China, Bush has been working zealously to foster closer ties between Beijing and Washington.
“I wish I could have more influence on American politicians who I think sometimes are using China in a negative way for their own political game,” he said, adding, “I believe there is no more important bilateral relationship than the relationship between our two great countries, so I come to help express goodwill in my capacity and try to improve understanding and the ties between our two countries.”
He said this year was very special for China and the United States, as it not only marked the 35th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-U.S. ties, but also the 35th anniversary of China’s late leader Deng Xiaoping’s ground-breaking U.S. visit.
“As China’s power continues to grow, I think China can play a huge role in the development of different regions in the world. The U.S. should look increasingly to China as a strong constructive partner and work on issues such as global economic stability, infectious diseases and food security,” he said.[db:内容2]