In recent years, China has actively conducted cultural exchanges with other countries. So far, China has reached governmental cultural agreements with 143 countries and signed 700 plans on annual cultural exchange. Every year Ministry of Culture authorizes 2,000 cultural exchange projects with more than 60 to 70 countries and involving about 30,000 people.
In 1998, China's National Orchestra made its debut at the Golden Hall in Vienna with a performance of "Chinese Spring Festival National Concert." The Information Office of the State Council held the "1999 Chinese Culture Week" in Paris, "A Tour of Chinese Culture in the United States" in 2000, and the "China Day" at the 3rd Asian-Pacific Week in Berlin in 2001. In 2002, China held "Chinese Culture Week" in Egypt, Mexico, Panama and Belgium to present Chinese traditional culture and the protection of world heritage. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations, China held "Chinese Culture Year" throughout France from October 2003 to February 2004, in a comprehensive demonstration of China's diverse culture, ancient and modern alongside China's present construction, through such forms as touring performances and exhibitions. Later, France held "French Culture Year" from autumn 2004 to summer 2005 in China, on the theme of "romance and renovation", displaying diverse French traditional, and modern culture. "Chinese-French Culture Year" has been the single largest cultural exchange event since the founding of PRC, and also a glorious occasion in the history of Sino-French exchange.
Meanwhile, the annual Shanghai International Art Festival, the Beijing International Music Festival and the Beijing International Drama Festival have attracted artistes from all over the world. In recent years, world-ranking arts groups have visited China one after another.
Cultural exchanges with other countries have given Chinese artistes access to the world's stage. Apart from the gold medal achievements of Chinese acrobats in international competition, artistes from other artistic field -- ballet dancers, vocal and instrumental performers, for instance-- have also been carrying off many international first prizes in recent years.