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London and Beijing: share tradition and modernity
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17:11, August 18, 2008

The Olympics will bring more opportunities for exchange in the fields of culture and business for London and Beijing which share the similar knack for creating a traditional and modern dynamic.

London House is located in a traditional Chinese courtyard in Beijing. Exhibitions and forums are held here to introduce London to Chinese visitors and bring networking opportunities for Chinese and British businesses.

London House, a showcase of the best of a diversified London with pictures and a venue of a series of seminars on investment opportunities in London and Olympic heritage, is held in a Chinese courtyard in Beijing from August 7 to August 24, the day when London will take over the Olympic flag from Beijing.

David Adam, Head of Emerging Markets, London Development Agency, said more than 360 Chinese companies had gone there to understand the film industry and infrastructure in London.

The picture of the masterplan of the main stadium for London Olympics in 2012 is presented at London House during the Beijing Olympics.

A program called "Cultural Olympiad" has begun in London. Many festivals will be held on the street to attract people to participate. After the takeover ceremony in Beijing, a very big party will be launched at London's Trafalgar Square where Chinese new year is celebrated every year. "There are a number of festivals for Chinese culture," said Mr. Adam.

A recent exhibition at the Confucius Temple by London Museum showed pictures of London and Beijing in the past 100 years. "It is the start of many forms of exchanges between London and Beijing in the next four years," noted Mr. Adam.

The House was open to the public on August 16 and 17 to present tourism attractions to Chinese visitors. London is expecting to have many more visitors from China. The Tourism Agreement signed by Visit London and the Beijing Municipal Tourism Authority in 2007 includes a commitment by both cities to encourage outbound travel to each other's locations, maximising the promotional opportunities the Games present to Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

Mr. Adam thinks that the new modern elements reflected by the new avant-garde architecture in the city of Beijing are marvelous; although there is criticism that such modernity --- part of it comes from foreign designers including British architects --- is not compatible with the traditional. "You can't build anything significant without any contrasting views," he said.

A young Chinese architect who visited the place was impressed by "experiencing the developed, industrialized London" on a leisure afternoon in typical Chinese construction.

He believes that the new modern architecture, such as the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center (also known as Bird's Nest and Water Cube respectively) represent a "positive new development" that the Chinese need and do not contradict with the traditional. He is proud that Chinese architects have also been part of those projects. "Although the ideas are from foreign designers now, we probably can do it next time," he said confidently.

By People's Daily Online

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