The 200 cultural activities that have been held in the "Year of China" in Russia since the theme year began in March have helped to exhibit modern China and enhance trust and friendship between the two peoples.
These events have aroused the interests of Russian people in learning the Chinese language. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who loves Chinese Shaolin Kongfu, said "Ni Hao", Chinese Mandarin for "Hello", during his annual press conference in February.
Putin's Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao led Russian pupils learning Chinese songs during his visit to Moscow in March.
It was the two heads of states who initiated the national years in 2005. A "Year of Russia" has been held in China in 2006, when higher-education exhibitions, a forum of university presidents and art festivals were held.
The events have enhanced mutual trust and promote cooperation and especially to consolidate the foundation for long-term friendship by strengthening people-to-people contact.
So far, six Russian universities have signed agreements with China to establish Confucian institutes and more than 10 other universities have applied to do so.
Russian-Chinese cooperation in the cultural sector has witnessed progress and important achievements.
There are now more than 10,000 Chinese students studying in Russia and several thousand Russian students in China.
The "Year of China" featured a wide array of exhibitions, from movies to the treasures of the Forbidden City, ancient bronze articles, porcelain, silk, and performances of Kongfu, acrobatics, Tibetan and other folk arts.
All of these events were tangible and colorful, which have aroused Russian people's interests in China, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Artists and journalists in the two countries also had the opportunity to further explore and appreciate each other's culture and social conditions by taking part in long-distance journeys across China and Russia during the national years.
"I love China, I love Chinese culture and tradition, I'm interested in everything in China...We were warmly welcomed everywhere in China," said one of the journalists who visited China in a cross-country trip this year.
"As indicated in the two nations' history and culture, we two great countries have attracted each other deeply in cultural and spiritual sphere," Putin told the opening ceremony of the "Year of China" at the Kremlin in March.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who will visit Moscow Monday to end the "Year of China", also spoke highly of the events held in the national year, saying they enriched the contents of the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation.
(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2007)