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Tuesday, September 25, 2001, updated at 16:56(GMT+8)

Feature: Berliners Enjoy Colorful Chinese Culture

The German capital of Berlin is embracing Chinese culture these days, with thousands of people from Berlin and other parts of the country pouring into theaters, parks and other cultural sites in the city to enjoy varied forms of Chinese culture.

In Berlin's several main streets, colorful decorations of Chinese culture are eye-catching. In the broad street Unter den Linden in the city proper, designs such as big dragon-boats, Buddhistical pavilions, ornamental columns and Peking-Opera masks attract group after group of visitors.

An old couple stood before a series of Peking-Opera masks and inspected them attentively for a long time. "It's interesting that different colors tell the figures whether they are good or evil," the old man said.

A young mother let her three-year-old son stand in front of the big masks and took a photo for him.

The biennial Asia-Pacific Weeks that started on September 17 makes China its focus this year. The two-week festival co-financed by the German and Chinese governments contains almost all major forms of the Chinese culture and arts ranging from traditional operas, music and dances to costumes, sculptures and traditional handicraft articles.

A Chinese Theme Park in the eastern city has been attracting tens of thousands of German citizens with varied cultural forms such as shadow boxing and traditional Beijing Opera.

With the melodious Chinese folk music, four young actresses in pure-white traditional Chinese sportswear did Taijiquan shadow boxing on a large red carpet spreading on an arena in the open air.

A little boy sat on his father's shoulders to watch the performance because the arena was crowded with hundreds of viewers. The spectators were fascinated by the gracefulness of the actresses' movements and the arena was very quiet except the lovely sound of music that accompanied to the performance.

Chinese Kongfu was another magnet for German viewers in the park. After the performance of some Kongfu performers from China, nine German practitioners from the School of Chinese Martial Arts in Berlin also played a set of Kongfu exercises. An 11-year-old girl, the youngest of the group, said she had done Chinese Kongfu for four years.

A large fashion show of Chinese costumes drew an enthusiastic and prolonged applause. A total of 36 models presented more than 300 costumes in the past Chinese dynasties with over 2,000 years of history and clothing of 56 Chinese ethic groups.

"The costumes are so beautiful, colorful and elegant. The artists showed with their performing skills that China is a great country with splendid culture," a woman named Kahlenborn said.

In order to introduce Chinese handicraft articles and Chinese folk art in a concentrated way, organizers opened a big China market near the Alexander Plaza in the city center.

At a booth of Chinese porcelain sets, a woman from the western city of Hamburg took a fancy to a porcelain figure of Bodhisattva Guanyin, a very popular figure with Chinese people. "(The figure is) so elegant. I will use it to decorate my drawing room," she said.

Chinese calligraphy was also popular. Ten-year-old Anna let a calligrapher write her name in Chinese translation on a piece of white and soft paper. She looked attentively at the skillful moving hand of the calligrapher and saw her name in Chinese written down by the magic brush.

Meanwhile, a display booth of Chinese tea also caught limelight. People listened to the introduction of a Chinese tea expert with rap attention. Every visitor was treated with a cup of green tea free of charge.

"I like Chinese tea and know it is good to health. I like jasmine tea the most," an old lady said.

At other exhibition booths of folk art such as carving works there were also continuous stream of visitors.

"I made a long journey to China last summer and have since been fascinated by the Chinese culture," a girl named Kathleen said. She said she came to the China market to refresh her memories of the China trip.

The China festival would help create more lively, tolerant atmosphere in Berlin, said Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit. He stressed that the exchange of cultures can contribute to peace in the world.

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The German capital of Berlin is embracing Chinese culture these days, with thousands of people from Berlin and other parts of the country pouring into theaters, parks and other cultural sites in the city to enjoy varied forms of Chinese culture.

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