International Cultural Exchange
To commemorate the 40 anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French relations, "China-France Culture Year" was celebrated in 2003-2004. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing hosted "Chinese Culture Weeks" in their respective sister cities of Paris, Marseilles, Lyons and Toulouse. "China Fashion Week" sponsored by New Silk Road Models Co. Ltd. showcased original designs by young Chinese designers. And the Peking Opera hit, Tale of White Snake, received a prolonged standing ovation by over 3,000 theatergoers at the Opera Theatre of Lille, a city in northern France named European Culture Capital of 2004. Meanwhile, the annual Shanghai International Art Festival and Beijing International Music Festival have attracted artists from all over the world. World first-class art groups came to China to perform one after another. In recent years, international cultural exchanges also have helped provide Chinese artists access to the world's stage. China has reached governmental cultural agreements with more than 140 countries and signed 700 plans on annual cultural exchanges. Every year the Cultural Ministry authorizes 2,000 cultural exchange projects with more than 60 to 70 countries with about 30,000 people.