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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Event opens floodgates of wonder

By  Huang Zhiling  (China Daily)

08:36, April 05, 2012

A man fastens a bamboo rope to a tree during the water-releasing ceremony at Dujiangyan, an ancient irrigation project in Southwest China's Sichuan province on Wednesday. The project was built in 256 BC by local governor Li Bing. The ceremony is held every year on Tomb Sweeping Day to pray for favorable weather. (Chen Duo / Xinhua)

Thousands view re-enactment of traditional water release

Ante Simonic, Croatian ambassador to China, was impressed when workers cut the ropes to release rafts blocking the water in the Minjiang River in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, releasing a torrent from the mighty river into the fertile Chengdu Plain.

"It's so amazing that the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project is still in operation after more than 2,000 years and benefits people. It represents China's 5,000-year-old civilization," he told China Daily.

Simonic was one of the 18 foreign ambassadors at the 2012 Dujiangyan Qingming Water-Releasing Festival of China.

The festival was part of the theme event of "Exploring the Most Recommendable World Wonder of Water Conservancy - Dujiangyan of China", sponsored by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Dujiangyan city government.

During the three-day event, which ended on Wednesday, diplomats from 33 countries and their families visited Qingcheng Mountain, the birthplace of Taoism, China's only indigenous religion; Panda Valley, a controlled wilderness to train pandas before releasing them into the wild; and the 2,268-year-old Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, the world's oldest irrigation project still in use.

Speaking on behalf of the diplomats at the opening ceremony of the water-releasing festival, Simonic said the three-day cultural experience activities were rich and fulfilling.

"We've experienced a Chinese cultural feast, which not only taught us much more about Dujiangyan, but also increased our determination to recommend it to the world and support the Dujiangyan Qingming Water-Releasing Festival's application to be included in the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list," said the ambassador, Croatia's former vice-premier.

Tens of thousands of people participated in the water-releasing festival on Wednesday to commemorate Li Bing, the governor of Sichuan who built the irrigation project.

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