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Friday, December 08, 2000, updated at 09:23(GMT+8)

Exhibition on Australia to Open in Beijing

An exhibition opens on Friday in Beijing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The 10-day exhibition will highlight the contribution made by overseas Chinese to the development of Australia over the past century.

People of Chinese origin have played an important role in the development of agriculture, mining and trade in Australia, said Anthony Taylor, Cultural and Press Affairs Counselor at the Australian Embassy in Beijing.

Some Chinese have been engaged in politics, emerging as mayors and members of parliament, he told reporters Thursday.

The Commonwealth of Australia was set up on January 1, 1901.

The exhibition will display a number of pictures, some of which are said to have great value.

One of the pictures shows a Chinese chamber of commerce in Sydney in 1903. It is believed to be one of the earliest Chinese chambers of commerce, said Paul Macgregor, curator of the Chinese Museum in Melbourne.

The Chinese Museum, La Trobe University in Melbourne and the East China Normal University are sponsors of the event.

Other pictures feature the activities of Liang Qichao (1873- 1929) who stayed in Australia for six months during 1900 and 1901. Liang was one of the most well known leaders of the Chinese bourgeoisie reform movement and a distinguished scholar in history.

Professor Geng Yunzhi from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Liang gave lectures to the Chinese community, which were popular at that time. Liang also visited Australian members of parliament and government officials, helping Chinese to assimilate into Australian society.

At the same time, Liang visited well-equipped schools, hospitals, factories and newspaper offices, which impressed him and made him think differently about the reforms in the Qing Dynasty, Geng said.

Visitors will see a picture of Liang at the age of 28 at the exhibition.

Similar shows are planned for Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Australia, said Dr. Xu Baert-Yue, a public affairs manager at the embassy.

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An exhibition opens on Friday in Beijing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Australia.

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