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'Festival of China' Marks New Beginning of US-China Cultural Exchange: Sponsor

As the American people need to know more about the Chinese culture, the coming "Festival of China" can be regarded as a new beginning of US-China cultural exchanges, the event's sponsor said Sunday.

Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which hosts the festival, made the remarks here Sunday on the opening of the "Festival of China," jointly promoted by the Kennedy Center and the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

The "Festival of China" is so far the largest demonstration of Chinese culture in the United States, said Kaiser, adding the festival is also the largest cultural activity ever held by the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center raised the proposal for hosting Chinese cultural activities four years ago, since "everyone of us has great curiosity and interest in the Chinese culture," Kaiser said.

However, he stressed that organizing such a comprehensive demonstration is a hard task, since the two sides must join hands to pick up the best programs among a large variety of shows.

Kennedy Center vice-president Alicia Adams, also chief coordinator of the festival, said the working staff from both sides for the festival have established friendship over the past four years.

"The Chinese people's hard-working, high proficiency and their dedication to the work left me deep impression," she said.

According to Alicia, the tickets for the month-long "Festival of China" have almost been sold out and received warm feedback from the audience. The dancing opera "Raise the Red Lantern" by the National Ballet of China, and the modern dance performances by local troupes from Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, as well as the exhibition of the Terra Cotta warriors and horses have all gained wide acclaim.

The US mainstream media represented by the Washington Post and the New York Times covered the festival with full and front pages in recent days.

"All these have proved that the Chinese culture has exceptional charm in the American people's eyes," Adams said, expressing her optimism over the success of the festival.

She also said that the US side had put much investment in publicity and advertisement of the festival among all communities, including Chinese communities.

Kaiser expressed his belief that the cultural exchange may help American people gain a deeper insight into the Chinese art and artists, thus helping deepen mutual understanding between the two peoples.

He revealed that apart from the "Festival of China," the Kennedy Center is now planning other projects on the Chinese culture.

"We have set a long-term goal for communication with China, since China has become more and more important in the world," the president said.

The month-long festival will be a well diversified display of both traditional and contemporary art by the troupes from China, including 30 programs performed by more than 900 Chinese and Chinese-American artists, including musicians, dancers, puppeteers, actors, directors, choreographers and acrobats.

(Xinhua News Agency October 3, 2005)

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