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Belgians amazed by Chinese tea
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With the Europalia China art festival coming into the last week, a variety of cultural activities focusing on Beijing are presented in Brussels, the sister city of the Chinese capital.

On Friday, visitors were invited to attend a folk music performance as well as a traditional tea ceremony at Tea House, which also acts as the information center of the art festival. Three musicians from a music university in Beijing played a famous Chinese song, during which the audience could admire and discover three traditional instruments, namely the zheng (Chinese zither), the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle) and the Chinese traverse flute.

A tea expert then performed a tea ceremony, illustrating all the grace and elegance of Chinese culture. The ceremony was accompanied by descriptive explanations allowing the European audience to have a better understanding of the process. Geoffroy Clerkx, an official from Brussels Capital Region, said: "It was fantastic! The atmosphere was very quiet and I liked it very much." "This Europalia Festival is really a start for a new cooperation between Brussels and Beijing,"he said.

Among the audience was 13-year-old Alize Rosso: "I came here because I like Chinese writing and the Tea House was very attractive."

"I like Chinese tea, its flavor is very delicate," said Yulika Deprez, a young student who was attending a Europalia event for the first time.

"I think I will probably attend other Europalia events," she said.

Alexandra Verhoosel-Frisson, a tea passionate who acquired knowledge about tea in China and set up her own company selling Chinese tea, said that Chinese tea was getting popular in Europe.

"Little by little, people like it," Verhoosel-Frisson said, adding "they say it's a very good tea, very healthy."

She said Europalia China art festival allowed many Europeans to discover Chinese culture and made them want to visit China.

As a cultural project jointly organized by Europalia International and the Chinese Ministry of Culture, the Europalia China art festival presents about 50 exhibitions and 450 art performances and cultural events in more than 70 cities in Belgium and four neighboring countries, including the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and Germany.

The art festival, which was under four major themes of "Eternal China, Contemporary China, Colorful China, China and the rest of the world," started on October 8, 2009, and will end on February 14.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2010)

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