2015-2016 China-Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges launched on April 13
The 2015-2016 China-Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges was launched on April 13 with an opening ceremony, an exhibition of Hebei folk arts and a concert presented by the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra.
Taking place at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia, the ceremony was attended by representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver, the federal government of Canada, the governments of BC and Vancouver, local business and culture associations and local media.
There are 26 major cultural exchange projects with more than 100 showings confirmed as part of the China-Canada Year. These include Canada-China film and TV co-productions, friendship city exchanges, as well as mutual visits by each country’s visual artists, craftspeople, performers, authors and museum exhibitions.
“The China-Canada Year will be the first year-round cultural exchange program in North America,” said Ding Wei, deputy minister of culture of China. It “will be another solid demonstration of the keen interest and enthusiasm of the two governments and peoples for our cultural interactions,” coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the start of China-Canada diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the two countries’ strategic partnership, he said.
“We hope that the China-Canadian Year will inject new momentum to drive forward the China-Canada overall relationship,” Ding said.
The Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges was designated by the Chinese and Canadian governments in November 2014, during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s formal visit to China. This formalized exchange activities between the two countries for 2013-2014, which included the Chinese National Ballet’s Canadian tour and the “Forbidden City” exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“These performances and cultural events gave BC residents the opportunity to appreciate Chinese culture and arts, and also have a better understanding of the latest developments in China,” said Fan Xiaodong, acting consul general of China in Vancouver.
Fan said he believed all the projects of the China-Canada Year will further help bind the hearts and minds of our two people together. “Amity between peoples holds the key to a good relationship between two countries,” he said.
At the ceremony, Alice Wong, Canadian minister of state for senior affairs, reminded the audience that “arts and culture do more than create jobs and fuel our economy. They help us to better understand who we are as Canadians and allow us to build bridges abroad.
“This year, Canada is committed to growing the cultural links and strong personal relationships that are deepening our trade and economic relation,” Wong said.
Teresa Wat, BC minister of international trade, Asia Pacific strategy and multiculturalism, emphasized the historical and present influence of China on BC, which is being commemorated by projects of the BC Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council.
“An important aspect of respecting our cultural diversity is having the courage to recognize when things did not go well,” Wat said. BC’s legacy projects will ensure that the community “does not forget historical wrongsand will identify Chinese-Canadian historical sites and artifacts, as well as celebrate Chinese-Canadian achievements.”
The ceremony also marked the launch of Hebei Cultural Week in Canada. The galleries outside the ceremony hosted live demonstrations of Hebei Province folk arts, including inner painting, clay sculpture and marble photo-engraving.
The orchestral concert that followed featured the “neo-folk” music genre created by director Ma Jiuyue, which consists of Chinese folk music played by a mix of Western and traditional Chinese instruments.
As part of the China-Canada Year, Chinese performers will be guests of honour at the Montreal enLumiere Festival, and Canada will be the main presenter at the “Meet in Beijing Arts Festival” in the coming year.
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