An electro-laser concert by French musician Jean Michel Jarre was staged at the front gate or Wumen Gate of the Forbidden City here Sunday evening, kicking off the French Culture Year, jointly advocated by leaders of China and France.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Jacques Chirac extended congratulatory letters to each other for the opening cultural gala for the 40th forging anniversary of the of Sino-French diplomatic ties.
In President Hu's letter, he said France is a great country with a long-standing history and splendid, glorious civilization, and the French people are the great people full of great creativity. The French Culture Year in China will not only epitomizes the French superb achievements in the culture field, but also highlights the French people's innovative mind and spirit.
He noted that the China-France Culture Year, as a very important event in the annals of cultural exchange of the two nations, is of great significance to increase the mutual understanding of their people, and promote exchange between the Oriental and Western civilizations.
The French Culture Year, with concerted efforts by both sides, will surely leave the people of both nations a wonderful and everlasting memory same as the Chinese Culture Year already concluding this July.
President Chirac, in his letter, said the Chinese Culture Year has scored a great success, which offered an excellent opportunity for the French people to better understand cultural treasures of ancient China as well as the advantages and charm of modern China. Now the French people have learned more about and had more affection for China.
The French Culture Year opened in China successfully thanks to the support of the Chinese government and business circle of the two sides, which was just a specific embodiment of the two nations' willingness to enhance bilateral ties, he acknowledged.
Chirac sincerely hoped that all these exchange activities could help establish a new partnership between the two sides, and more close contact between the two countries and their people.
On October 9 to 10, five major kick-off events of the French Culture Year, with the theme of "Romance, Innovation and People-oriented," took place in Beijing. Besides Jarre's concert, there were "Exhibition on the Life of Charles de Gaulle," "French Design Art Show," "French Impressionistic Painting Show," and "China-France Swordplay Contest." From October on, more than 200 cultural activities will be held in succession in major Chinese cities.
The Chinese Culture Year in France has been the largest and longest culture event ever held by China outside its territory. Over the past year, Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Wuhan have joined hands with French cities for a series of new, colorful and rich-content exchange activities.