Chinese President Hu Jintao and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac on Oct. 6 sent congratulatory messages to mark Monday's inauguration in Paris of the China-France Culture Year.
Hu said that the Chinese and French peoples have created their own splendid cultures during their long histories, making tremendous contributions to human civilization and progress.
He said that exchanges between different cultures and learning from one another are an important way to enhance cultural creativity.
Activities in this cultural event in France will showcase the charm of China's ancient cultural achievements and its vigor of modern times, Hu said. The activities will also help promote understanding and friendship between the Chinese and French peoples.
Chirac said in his message that the event will give new momentum to the partnership between the two countries.
"China and France expect to reinforce their relations, develop a global partnership and create new dynamics as we are to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations next January,'' he said.
Chirac said that he is confident that the French people will embrace the cultural year's activities with enthusiasm. He said he also hoped the Chinese people would learn more about France through the Year of French Culture event that will be launched in China in the autumn next year.
The Year of Chinese Culture in France is taking place from this month until July 2004. It includes more than 300 projects, covering fields such as ancient civilization, folklore, art and literature, education, technology and tourism.
There will be exhibitions such as "China Seen Closely: The Art of Living in Modern Times,'' "The Enigma of Bronze Age Man: Archaeology in Sichuan'' and "Science and Technology of Contemporary China.''
A large exhibition of Chinese paintings of the 20th century will open to the public in Paris Oct. 8.
In spring 2004, Paris is to celebrate the Chinese traditional Spring Festival in a Chinese way. A folklore show will march onto the Champs Elysees Avenue in the centre of the French capital.
Initiated in 1999 by Chirac and former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, the China-France Culture Year marks the largest-ever cultural-exchange activity jointly hosted by China and a foreign country.
(China Daily October 7, 2003)