City kids -- from Shanghai and Beijing -- came to the country yesterday, visiting the Carroll County 4-H Fair and gushing in Chinese over farm animals.
For the first time, the People's Republic of China has allowed children of its diplomatic corps to visit the United States.
Embassy staff members in Washington traditionally leave their children with relatives in China during tours of duty. "This is really enjoyment for the children, their first holiday spent in the U.S.," said Jing Hua Cao, embassy staff member and translator.
Lian Chen Liu, 8, wore a red, white and blue-striped top hat made of cardboard as she toured the 100th fair in Westminster.
She carried a 4-H Fair coloring book. On her denim jumper she had pinned a fair souvenir -- an outline of Carroll County -- and she posed for pictures from the driver's seat of a tractor.
Her mother hardly needed to translate her comment: "I like everything here," Lian said.
Lian and the group of about 55, mostly children ages 6 to 17, arrived about three weeks ago and have been sightseeing in Washington, New York and Florida.
The fair, with its agricultural demonstrations and displays, fit well into plans to show the children farming in America, Cao said.
"Farming here is dramatically different, much more modern," Cao said.
David DeChant, an international marketer with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, was tour guide. "Agriculture is a critical industry in China. They are trying to improve their agricultural economy," he said.
The children snapped pictures with Clydesdales and dairy cows and meandered through barns filled with cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. In the rabbit barn, many children reached into the cages.
"The rabbit feels soft," said Shan Mei Yang, 8.
Pub Date: 7/30/97