Chinese official welcomed in Hawaii

Elder James E. Faust renewed warm memories of experiences with China as he took part in welcoming to the Church's Polynesian Cultural Center here a delegation that included Vice Gov. Liu Xi Rong from the Zhejiang Province of China.

Elder Faust recalled that he led the first group of BYU students to entertain in the People's Republic of China in 1979.The Polynesian Cultural Center held a dinner Nov. 13 honoring the Chinese delegation, as well as Elder Faust of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Seventy and second counselor in the North America West Area presidency. The two were in Hawaii on other Church assignments at the time.

Cultural center Pres. Les Moore welcomed the visitors and presented them with gifts that included copies of the Book of Mormon in Mandarin and items from the South Pacific. In his remarks, Vice Gov. Rong described his visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center as "a lifetime experience for us."

"In order to progress, we need to express our love for each other," he said. "We have to accept all cultures and meld them together in order to establish peace."

The province of which he is vice governor is the self-proclaimed "silk capital of the world" and has a population of 42 million people.

Elder Faust was presented a carved Maori club/spear called a "taiaha," and rare carved whale tooth from Fiji. He expressed his heartfelt feelings for the people of Polynesia and China. "The very essence of our humanity is our belief in God," he said. He praised the center for its "great and important work."

Elder Holland received a carved wooden bowl as recognition for his service as a former member of the Polynesian Cultural Center board of directors.

In his comments delivered at the dinner, Pres. Moore said that while "the world seems to be divided and twisted along cultural lines, the significance of the Polynesian Cultural Center is that it brings all people and cultures together in a unique spirit of friendship and fellowship."

The Chinese delegations spent an afternoon touring the center, viewing the IMAX theater feature of cultural and educational films photographed on location in the South Pacific, and later enjoyed the evening show. The cultural center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and has hosted more than 23 million guests since 1963. It has been Hawaii's top paid-admission visitor attraction for the past 15 years.

Preserving and sharing the heritage of Pacific island cultures has been the main purpose of the Polynesian Cultural Center since it opened Oct. 12, 1963. In 1975-76, the center was redesigned and enlarged. It includes more than 45 acres with seven re-created South Pacific villages.

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