For Xu Lu, a 29-year-old woman who teaches music in a Beijing kindergarten, spending time with children as a full-time job is wonderful.
But she is even more fascinated by her "part-time" job, meeting friends who share her interest in singing Russian songs every week.
For the past six years, Xu has sung every Monday and Thursday night in a 20-member choir organized by a Russian music lover.
"She taught us the history of Russian music, Russian, and told us how to sing different types of Russian songs. It's fantastic," Xu said.
"I love the feeling and passion evoked by singing the Russian songs. I love Russia and its people because of the songs."
On Thursday, Xu was invited by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang to attend a gathering of about 20 representatives of Sino-Russian friendship in Moscow on how to promote cultural and people exchanges between the two countries.
Li began a four-day visit to Russia on Thursday, and attending the small gathering was the first thing the vice-premier did upon his arrival.
"Today is a day when old friends get together and new friends get to know each other. The bond of friendship can lead to a better strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia," Li said at the beginning of the gathering.
China and Russia have a long history of friendship. Generations of Chinese and Russians have admired each other's culture and history, continuously contributing to the affinity between the two, Li said.
"In a general sense, the closeness between the people of the two nations is highly valued and lays the foundation for the relationship between the two countries. Speaking more specifically, China and Russia are each other's biggest neighbors, and we have enjoyed a traditional and deep friendship for a long time," Li said.
During the meeting, Xu sang the famous Russian song, Moscow Nights, which earned loud applause. Li shook hands with all the representatives at the end, asking them to maintain the friendship and pass it on to following generations.
"I was so excited and proud to be invited as one of the ambassadors of China-Russia friendship. At the same time, I felt it was an important mission and felt pressure taking on such a large responsibility," Xu told China Daily after the meeting.
In 2006, when she graduated from Minzu University of China as a musicology major, Xu read a newspaper story about a Russian woman inviting music lovers in Beijing to join a choir to sing Russian songs.
Xu went to the first rehearsal and was deeply touched by the songs.
Now she can sing many Russian songs.
"I would like it if more Chinese knew Russian music and loved it, and also the country," she said.
Among the representatives at the gathering were people who have closely witnessed the friendship between the two countries, including a famous Russian sinologist, a renowned Chinese translator and writer researching the Russian literature, a professor from the University of Moscow and the director of the Russia-China Friendship Association.
"We can see the depth and duration of China-Russia friendship from your stories. ... Every one of you and those you represent are cherishing, promoting and developing bilateral friendship," Li said.
"Although only a few are invited today, I believe you represent thousands and millions of the people who contribute to promoting the friendship between the two nations," he said.
Among the younger generation, the friendship is growing rapidly. Aside from Xu, Anna Markovskaya, an 18-year-old freshman at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, was invited to the gathering.
In 2008, when she first visited China to attend a six-week program in Beijing, she fell in love with the country. "From that time on, I knew my whole life would be closely connected with China," she said.
She chose to major in international relations to "learn Chinese and more about China".
Markovskaya has set her sights on becoming a diplomat and working in China after graduation. "Besides promoting Sino-Russian relations, I plan to bring the Peking Opera to Russia to let people in my hometown know about the beauty of China," she said.
The songs sung by both Xu and Markovskaya, and their pronunciation during the meeting, made a deep impression on Li.
"We are glad to see the friendship between China and Russia passing so readily from generation to generation, and the new generation is always better than the past," he said.