Today was the launch of the Love Foundation in Beijing. We began by meeting with Madam He Luli, the Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) standing committee. The press conference was held in The Great Hall of the People, which stands on one side of Tiananmen Square. By the time we got to Tiananmen Square, there were people everywhere who were simply enjoying the light rain.
Madam He has a distinguished resume: in addition to being a medical doctor and the former Mayor of Beijing, Madam He has been a leader of several governmental charitable organizations.
In our meeting, I expressed how happy I was that Snoopy could be an ambassador working with the China Population Welfare Foundation (CPWF) to bring even more help to China’s social welfare undertakings. Madam He talked about her grandchildren liking Snoopy and about the menagerie of animals—dogs, rabbits, rats, and goats—that they have. Yang Wenzhuang, the Secretary General of CPWF, thanked Snoopy and the Love Foundation for joining forces with the CPWF to carry out its mission to improve the welfare of the Chinese people. Following the speeches, there was a program of songs by a group of 5 and 6 year olds—it was very sweet and charming. There were interviews both at the Hall of the People and at China Radio International.
Today was also a national day of mourning throughout China. Every day there is a ceremonial flag raising in Tiananmen Square at dawn with blue uniformed soldiers marching in formation. Today the flag was raised and then lowered to half-staff in honor of the earthquake victims in Qinghai. (We watched this on the television; we were not there to see it in person).