The Eighth International Tea Culture Seminar and the First Mengding Mountain International Tea Culture Tourism Festival opened to sunny skies in Sichuan Province on Sunday.
The opening ceremony for the two events drew 2,400 specialists on tea, including scholars, entrepreneurs and government officials from 26 countries, according to Hou Xiongfei, Party secretary of Ya'an.
The biennial International Tea Culture Seminar is the brainchild of the China International Tea Culture Research Institute.
The most important gathering of its kind, it has been held in Hangzhou, Changde, Kunming and Guangzhou in China; Seoul, South Korea; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since its inauguration in 1990.
Ya'an was selected at this year's host owing to its long history of tea cultivation and tea culture.
In 53 BC, a Ya'an farmer named Wu Lizhen planted seven tea trees on Mengding Mountain. They are the first cultivated tea trees known to man.
Mengding Mountain is now considered the origin of Chinese tea culture and Wu is frequently referred to as the "tea ancestor." Mengding itself has taken on a near-sacred stature in the world of tea.
Some 22,667 hectares of tea orchards now surround Mengding Mountain, making Ya'an one of Sichuan's major producers.
(China Daily September 20, 2004)