The biggest festival of Chinese culture in the United Kingdom is
to be launched during Chinese New Year next year, its organizers
"China Now" will include more than 800 events and continue to
the end of July 2008, and the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the festival's chief
executive Simon Heale said.
"No one else has arranged a festival like this in the UK," he
said in a telephone interview. "It will be held not just in London,
but across the country and the total cost will be more than 50
million pounds (US$100 million)."
The festival is organized by an independently funded, non-profit
institution and is supported by the Chinese and UK business
communities. Governments of the two countries recognize it.
"China Now will strengthen understanding and friendship between
China and the UK," Premier Wen Jiabao said. "We must work together to make
the festival a success."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I welcome China Now
as a valuable and exciting idea to help bring our countries closer
together and further develop and strengthen our relationship."
Heale, who is also chief executive of The London Metal Exchange
Ltd, said the festival will focus on contemporary Chinese society
and culture while offering an insight into its history.
It will comprise art, design, cuisine, science, education and
sport. Highlights are expected to include events such as China
Design Now, a six-month exhibition displaying the work of Chinese
and international designers, at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
starting next March. The London to Beijing Rally next July, will
feature 20 cars traveling from London to Beijing over four
The festival is held because people in the UK are "interested in
China, and particularly interested in the year of the Olympics",
In a survey by its organizers, UK people said they mostly
associated China with good food, a booming economy and Hong Kong
(China Daily October 26, 2007)