Teachers from Liaocheng University confirmed safe in Tonga

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2022-01-19

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Chinese citizens in Tonga have been confirmed safe following a tsunami triggered by an undersea volcano, touching the hearts of people around the entire nation.

Liaocheng in Shandong province has enjoyed a close friendship with the Pacific island countries for many years, and has established friendly relations with the Vava'u Islands in Tonga.

At present, three teachers from Liaocheng University are supporting educational development in Tonga. According to Liaocheng University, the three teachers are all safe and have contacted their families back home.

"I spoke to my parents via satellite phone this morning. They are safe and secure in Tonga. I feel relieved..." said a doctoral student surnamed Zhao at Renmin University of China on Jan 18.

After she heard about the volcanic eruption and tsunami, Zhao became nervous because her parents, Zhao Peibao and Ren Aizhi, teachers for the College of Agronomy at Liaocheng University, are working to improve education in Tonga.


Zhao Peibao and Ren Aizhi, teachers for the College of Agronomy at Liaocheng University, support education on vegetable cultivation in Tonga. [Photo/iqilu.com]

Zhao's parents and their colleague Zhang Jianfeng went to Tonga in January 2020 to support education on vegetable cultivation and Chinese language.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international flights are not reliable. The three teachers have completed two years of foreign education support work, and they plan to continue to carry out related work in Tonga in 2022. They have made significant contributions to education amid the pandemic," said Shan Shidong, deputy director of the international cooperation and exchange department at Liaocheng University.

In March 2018, King Tupou VI of Tonga visited China. During his stay, the Ministry of Education and Training of Tonga and the Ministry of Education of China signed a memorandum of understanding on education cooperation and exchange. According to the MOU, China will send teachers to Tonga according to Tonga's needs.

In 2019, Liaocheng University sent two groups of seven teachers to Tonga for Chinese language teaching, as well as agricultural theory and practice teaching.

Tonga has a tropical rainforest climate, with a rainy season from December to April and a dry season from May to August. In Tonga, vegetables are rarely eaten. Because of frequent hurricanes and heavy rains during the rainy season, local people are less engaged in field work.

Through scientific planting, the teachers from Liaocheng University successfully helped the locals plant more than 10 vegetable species, such as pumpkin, cowpea, leek, bitter gourd, loofah, cabbage, water spinach and dwarf kidney bean, and taught the students about vegetables.