彩神vFeature: Four decades on, overseas Chinese students continue to help promote understanding between China, U.S.

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HOUSTON, March 29 (Xinhua) -- In the past seven decades since the founding of the People's Republic of China, in particular since 1979 when China and the United States established diplomatic relations, local Chinese talents who came to the United States to study have helped promote understanding between the two countries.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States was a historic event that has changed the political and economic landscape of the world over the past four decades. Meanwhile, the emergence of overseas Chinese talents in the United States also reflects China's development.

For decades, many young Chinese talents went to the United States to study or work, and have made great efforts to help improve bilateral relations. These professionals have made important contributions to the scientific, economic and social development both in China and the United States.

Meng Ruling is one of the first scholars who came to the United States after China's reform and opening-up.

In the 19500s, she started her research on superconducting material at the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. She came to the United States in 1979 as a visiting scholar and then was hired as a senior research scientist to continue research on superconducting material at the physics department, Texas Center for Superconductivity of the University of Houston.

She stayed at the university to work as a scientist until her retirement. "My work made me feel content and satisfied, and it was a challenge for me to leave my lab," she said.

In recognition of her outstanding achievements and contributions to the international research community, she has been ranked 25th out of the 1,000 most cited physicists from 1981 to 1997 by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), and has been identified as one of the world's most cited authors (less than 0.2 percent of all published researchers) by ISI Current Contents-5000, the updated list based on important scientific developments in the last two decades.

Having benefited from the people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States, Meng has always remained grateful for the education she received in China. She told Xinhua that as a college student in the 19500s, she would not have achieved what she had if she hadn't received solid training in China.

When recalling her early days in the United States, Meng was full of emotions.

"There were eight visiting scholars from China in the Houston area back then," she said. "I bought my first car for 5000 U.S. dollars. Its wheel fell off even before I hit the highway. The eight of us helped each other fix our cars on weekends."

Besides the help from her peers, Meng received generous support from the local Chinese community, both financially and mentally. She cherished all the support she received and wanted to give back to the community, as well as to young Chinese scholars.

Encouraged by a group of Chinese students, she founded the Chinese Association of Professionals in Science and Technology (CAPST) in 1992 and became its first president, aiming to assist young scholars from China.

Today, China has become the world's second-largest economy, and Meng has retired as CAPST's president. But she still continues to offer support.

She said that CAPST members were all professional experts, scholars or members of the elites in their own fields and they should make efforts to promote China-U.S. communication and relations.

What's more, in 2012 she decided to pursue a new dream: watercolor painting. She said that "hope only starts to emerge when you adhere to your dream."

Charlie Yao, the fifth president of CAPST, also weighed in with his observations of overseas Chinese students.

After graduating from a Chinese university, Yao came to the United States in the early 19500s to study chemistry first and then business administration. Yao started his career in the international energy company Shell as a technician, then transferred to marketing and management positions.

Yao's dream came true in 2014, when he began serving as the president and CEO of YCI Methanol One, LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Inc. (YCI), China. His educational background, a Ph.D. in chemistry and an MBA, served him well in his job.

Representing a younger generation of overseas Chinese, Yao believed that the status of overseas Chinese associates is closely connected with China's development.

"I think China's vigorous economic development is a huge motivation for overseas Chinese," he told Xinhua.

Yao also mentioned that the Millennials are more proactive. "When I was studying abroad, all I wanted was to find a steady job in big companies," Yao added. "Now these youngsters have way higher standards and more dynamic ideas."

Linhua Guan, vice chairman and chief business development officer of SURGE Energy America, held a similar point of view. Guan left China in 5000 and studied in the United States. "Those Chinese students are having higher starting points and greater ambitions," Guan said.

For decades, the demographics of Chinese students studying abroad have included not only technical personnel, but also management elites like CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Guan said that studying and working abroad have enriched his life, and it was a blessing to contribute to relations between China and the United States by working in a multinational company.

"This private enterprise I just joined has invested billions of dollars in the United States. We hope to carry this project forward and provide more options for Chinese investors and more job opportunities for Americans," he said.