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Sister Cities Bridge China-France Cultural Exchanges

The splendor of the Chinese culture will blossom in France through the channel of sister cities, said the organizing committee of the Chinese Culture Year, an event scheduled to open in Paris on Oct. 6.

Advocated by top leaders from both countries, the China-France Culture Year will last till July 2005, with the Chinese Culture Year to be held in France from this October to July 2004, and the French Culture Year ensuing in China.

According to Sun Jiazheng, chairman of the Chinese organizing committee and China's cultural minister, a notable characteristic of the event is the active involvement and interaction between the sister cities from the two countries. Apart from Paris, many other French cities will also stage performances and exhibitions sent by Chinese cities they have established sisterhood ties with.

China and France currently boast 47 pairs of sister provinces and cities. Some big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou, will stage their own "culture week" in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse and Lyon. Some 20 Chinese provinces and cities other than them will also send to their French counterparts activities with local flavors.

Hao Zhongwei, an official from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries who is in charge of the sister-city work between China and France, said exchanges between the two nations' sister cities used to stress political visits and economic and trade cooperation. He noted that however, France is a country that attaches peculiar value to cultural exchanges, and cultural relations play an irreplaceable role in China-France bilateral ties.

The "culture year" activity, he believed, will surely promote relations between sister cities and enhance friendship and understanding between their people. 
(Xinhua News Agency October 3, 2003)

'Chinese Culture Year' to Start in France in October
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