‘Our China Stories’ screening and ceremony held in London

By Claire Ding (People's Daily Online) 17:34, December 13, 2023

A special event and screening of the documentary series "Our China Stories" was held in London on Dec. 12, drawing approximately 100 guests from the Chinese and British academic, cultural, and artistic communities.

(Photo/Jinbiao Guo)

"Our China Stories," launched by People’s Daily Online U.K., profiles influential contributors to China-U.K. cultural exchange across various fields such as art, literature, and academic research, exploring the individuals’ unique stories and links with China.

Over more than two years, the series has produced eight seasons and 43 episodes, providing insights into over half a century of cultural exchanges and collaborations between China and the U.K.

Ying Yu, general manager of People’s Daily Online U.K., emphasized the company’s role as a bridge in fostering cross-cultural understanding and cooperation. She expressed the organization's commitment to continually connect people from China and the U.K. The series was also supported by the Chinese Embassy in the U.K., the China National Tourist Office in London, and other valuable partners.

Wang Yun, counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the U.K., remarked, “Our China Stories is a vivid example of promoting exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and British civilizations. It is a link to review the past and look forward to the future, to promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning.”

Xue Ling, the director of the China National Tourist Office in London, recalled that the idea to produce the series originated in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The production of the series has made our dream come true, which is to put our British friends in the limelight and let their China stories reach more people and touch more hearts,” she said.

(Photo/Jinbiao Guo)

During a panel on promoting East-West cultural exchange and mutual understanding, Dame Jessica Rawson, emeritus professor of Chinese art and archaeology at the University of Oxford, commented, “It was amazing to travel in China, an enormous country that is incredibly varied, rich and interesting.”

Recalling when she first started studying Chinese, Rawson recalled feeling quite isolated and stressed the importance of persistence. She emphasized that exchanges and collaborations between the East and the West, despite their stark differences, are crucial. Only continual exchanges can facilitate better understanding between China and the U.K., noted Rawson, adding that the West should strive for a deeper understanding of China, a process that will take a long time.

Sinologist, historian and writer Frances Wood said one of the best things in her life is writing about China. She said she was happy to see that many people in England and Europe are now reading books related to China, finding the country as fascinating as she does.

Mark Pollard, emeritus professor of archaeological science at the University of Oxford, is fascinated by Chinese materials, especially porcelain and bronzes. He noted that, over the past 40 years, many changes have occurred in collaborations between the East and the West, but mutual learning and exchanging ideas persist.

John Moffett, librarian of the Needham Research Institute, also remarked on the great differences between Chinese and Western societies. “The more I learn about China, the humbler I am. I found the more distance I traveled in China, the less I understand about this country”, he said.

(Photo/Jinbiao Guo)

The "Chinese Culture on Global Stage" panel featured international producer and choreographer Farooq Chaudhry, sinologist and translator Nicky Harman, Chairman of the Yehudi Menuhin School and Academic Lead at Sotheby’s Institute David Buckley. All the speakers agreed on the importance of courage and trust in fostering cultural exchanges and collaborations between China and the U.K. They expressed hope for further engagement with China's rich culture and civilization.

(Photo/Jinbiao Guo)

During the "Creative Collaboration between British and Chinese Artists" panel, projection artist and creative director Cathy Mager spoke about how her collaborations with Chinese deaf artists have been crucial in enhancing dialogue between different cultures. Internationally renowned animal photographer Tim Flach stated his belief that Chinese art has close connections to nature, reflecting China's biodiversity. He stated that his work supports China’s 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature.

Both Gareth Bonello, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and Neil Brownsword, artist and professor of ceramics at Staffordshire University, shared how they were inspired by Chinese cultural traditions on the panel.

All the speakers expressed the wish to continue and further collaboration with China in their areas of expertise. They collectively expressed a commitment to creating closer bonds between China and the U.K. through cross-cultural exchanges.

(Video produced by intern Liu Chuan)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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