New Year’s Greetings to Carter From Chinese Painter Yu Chengsong

Chinese painter Yu Chengsong, along with his family and friends, shared a Chinese New Year’s greeting to the 96-year-old former U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the Badaling Great Wall outside Beijing, wishing him good health and happiness during the Spring Festival, which marks the Year of the Ox.

On the morning of February 9th, 2021, the famous Chinese painter Yu Chengsong, together with more than 30 people, held a bilingual 100-meter banner at the foot of the Beijing Badaling Shuiguan Great Wall that wishes “Happy New Year to Mr. Jimmy Carter, who has made great contributions to China-U.S. friendship. Wish you good health! Happy Spring Festival! Happy New Year to all those who pursue peace and happiness! Good luck!” They also displayed art porcelains that feature Yu’s paintings of Xi Jinping and Carter, and Deng Xiaoping and Carter. In addition, Chinese poet Hu Yunchun displayed a couplet for Mr. Carter that was composed by him and written by calligrapher He Wangzhi.

The participants of this event included people ranging in age from 10 to 80 years old, professors, students, business people, writers, and artists. They participated in the event out of their admiration of former U.S. President Carter’s courage to establish diplomatic relations with China and his efforts to promote China-U.S. relations in the past decades.

At 10pm on February 10th, Beijing time, Yu Chengsong, his family, and those who participated in the event joined an online New Year’s call with representatives of The Carter Center. This online dialogue was hosted by Dr. Yawei Liu, senior advisor on China at the Carter Center.

The online meeting began with the viewing of the video of the New Year’s greeting to President Carter from the Great Wall. Mr. Yu then talked about how he came up with this idea. He participated in two events on U.S.-China relations at The Carter Center in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He traveled to Atlanta last year to send New Year’s greeting to President Carter and his family. Currently, the pandemic does not allow him to travel to the U.S., but he still wanted to send greetings to President Carter. The Great Wall is a symbol of magnificence and endurance. He hopes the bilateral relationship that was officially launched by President Carter and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping between the U.S. and China is going to be as magnificent and enduring as the Great Wall.

On behalf of the Carters and the staff of the Carter Center, Ms. Meagan Martz, senior associate director of Development from the Carter Center, extended New Year’s greeting and heartfelt thanks to Mr. Yu, his family, and all the Chinese friends who participated in the New Year’s greeting on February 9. She said that when President Carter and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping made the decision to establish diplomatic relations with China, they knew it would change the United States, China and the world, but may not have fully imagined that it would lead to more than four decades of prosperity and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. “The official relationship between China and the U.S. is going low, but this means that the people-to-people relationship must climb higher,” she said. “Only in this way can China-U.S. relations continue to move in a direction that benefits the two peoples.”