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China-France Culture Year to Promote Bilateral Ties
Chinese vice minister of Culture Meng Xiaosi announced in Beijing Wednesday that the concept of Culture Year was created by the leaders of the two countries during their exchange of visits in 1999 and 2000. China will host its cultural activities starting this October and continuing through July of next year, and France will take over as host beginning in autumn of next year, continuing through to July of 2005.

Meng said the Chinese Culture Year will provide a comprehensive picture of Chinese society and its people, through the arts, gymnastics, science and technology, education, architecture, religion and tourism.

The Chinese side will organize a total of 300 programs into three parts, focusing on 60 projects, including antiques, higher education, and joint performances by the two countries' artistic troupes. Well-known film stars Gong Li and Jackie Chan will serve as representative envoys.

Pu Tong, a senior official with the organizing committee, said social activities such as a temple fair and new enterprise networking get-togethers will be held. As China and France have witnessed the establishment of 46 pairs of friendly cities, four large Chinese cities, namely, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing will host "Chinese Culture Week" in their respective sister cities of Paris, Marseilles, Lyons and Toulouse.

He emphasized that Culture Year will emphasize the modern aspects of China. "China Fashion Week" sponsored by New Silk Road Models Co. Ltd., will showcase original designs by young Chinese designers.

Meng said cultural ties play a significant role in Sino-French relations. The Culture Year is conducive to enhancing mutual understanding between the two peoples and maintaining cultural diversity in the world. Currently, the two countries are witnessing smooth development of the cultural aspect of bilateral relations, with more than 200 exchange events taking place annually.

Thus far, a mixed committee has been established for the Culture Year. Chinese Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng and Jean-Pierre Angremy, academician with the Academie Francaise, will co-chair the committee.

Angremy said the French people are deeply attracted to Chinese culture and are looking forward to Culture Year.

A website for the event has been launched, namely, www.cfcy.org.

(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2003)

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