(A worker preparing for the Festival of China / Photo: Xinhua)
A senior Chinese official says the Festival of China, an unprecedented cultural event cosponsored by the United States and China, will strengthen exchange, mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng made the comment ahead of the opening ceremony of the event, which takes place Saturday night at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington.
He says the event is aimed at introducing Chinese arts and culture to the US public, and making them understand the internal feelings and spiritual status of the contemporary Chinese people.
The Festival of China, which runs through October in the Kennedy Center, is the largest-ever Sino-US cultural event. During the period, an unprecedented number of China's finest performers and visionaries, nearly 900 in all, will be on the stage to entertain the US audience.
(A piece of Chinese sculpture in front of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington / Photo: Xinhua )
The event, which has been in preparation for nearly three years, is expected to feature an extraordinary lineup of the most acclaimed Chinese dancers, musicians, actors, acrobats and puppeteers.
In the views of the Chinese minister, culture acts like 'flowing water', touching the human heart in subtle ways, and facilitating communication between people as a 'soft power'.
Sun Jiazheng noted that this kind of exchange and communication cannot be replaced by other means. Although the United States and China are vastly different in many ways, both of them have great ethnic and cultural diversity.
The minister stressed that the people of the United States and China have always had excellent regard for one another. For example, he says the US cartoon figure Micky Mouse has been a longtime favorite among Chinese children and Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming is now well-known in the United States. He says China hopes to work closely with the US side to usher in a new era for cultural exchange between the two countries and bilateral relations as a whole.