Ambassador Li Chao publishes article on the occasion of Saaremaa Opera Festival
2018-08-03 08:50 | MFA

  As Shanghai Opera House participates in the 2018 Saaremaa Opera House as guest of honor, the Chinese Ambassador Li Chao published a signed article with the title of Shanghai Opera House will shine in Saaremaa on newspaper Saarte Hääl on 18th July. In his article, the Ambassador overviewed the fruitful cooperation in culture exchanges between China and Estonia in recent years. He also described remarkable changes of people's life in China since 1978 when the country adopted the reform and opening-up policy. He said the performances by Shanghai Opera House is another birthday gift to Estonia on her centennial celebrations. The Ambassador hopes organizations from China and Estonia will strengthen their cooperation to bring more high-level events to the people, which will promote mutual understanding between the two peoples. Please find the English text of the article below:


Shanghai Opera House will shine in Saaremaa

  In Saaremaa, it is the moment for Shanghai Opera House this week. With warm feelings and best wishes to Estonian people on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Estonia, artists of Shanghai Opera House from China will present three performances during Saaremaa Opera Festival. It is the first time a Chinese culture troupe takes part in Saaremaa Opera Festival in history. The performance will be another gift from Chinese people to our Estonian friends on Estonia's 100th birthday.

  Both China and Estonia have made our unique contributions to the global civilization. The Chinese civilization has a history of 5,000 years. It advocates inclusiveness, diversity, harmony and common prosperity. Chinese philosophy, literature, art, music, opera and inventions have made great contribution to world civilization. Estonia is a little smaller than China in terms of land mass and population, but it is not small at all regarding culture. The epic poem Kalevipoeg, maestro Arvo Pärt, Grammy award winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir just to name a few are all from Estonia.

  The relationship between China and Estonia is in the best period in recent years. Together, we have delivered tangible results in many fields. Culture exchange is one of the highlights of our mutually beneficial cooperation. Over the past a few years, our two countries have strengthened our cooperation in culture affairs at bilateral level and within the format of China and Central and Eastern European Countries Cooperation. Government departments and cultural institutions have signed several agreements in film, music, art, literature, intangible culture heritage protection and so on. Estonian Concert, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Vanemuine Theater, Võru Folk Music Festival and other Estonian culture organizations have had successful cooperation with their Chinese partners for years.

  Here in Estonia, a growing number of people are learning Mandarin and visiting China. This month, students from Kuressaare Gymnasium -one of the first schools that introduced Chinese language in Estonia - will attend an international summer camp in Shanghai. Estonians are more and more interested in Chinese history, literature, music, philosophy, arts and opera. It is amazing that Vabaduse square in Tallinn has been packed with crowds during the Chinese New Year celebrations for the past nine years.

  In China, the interest in Estonia is also growing quickly. Music composed by Arvo Pärt, concerts by Estonian Males Chamber Choir, ballet by Tartu Vanemuine Theater and films produced by Estonian directors become more and more popular in many cities. Dozens of Chinese students are studying Estonian language in Universities in China.

  The year 2018 is also of significant importance for China because it marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, a very important policy that has fundamentally transformed the whole country and its nation.

  Forty years ago, with GDP per capita just a little over 150 US dollars, China was one of the poorest countries in the world. For most of the Chinese families living in the 1970s, the goal was to live in abundance. Opera and ballet were something irrelevant to most of the people at the time. Not to mention, few opera houses in China were able to give excellent performance in the 1970s.

  Over the past forty years, hundreds of millions of people in China have been lifted out of poverty, which is unprecedented in human history. Today, having one of the world's largest middle-income group and with per capita GDP more than 8,800 US dollars, China has become a middle-income country and entered a new era. As the living standard has improved greatly, the Chinese people ask more for leisure activities. China is now the largest film market in the world. In 2016, the number of people visiting various concerts increased nearly 15% year-on-year. All of this would not be possible without the reform and opening-up policy. With strong commitment of opening our doors wider, China will strengthen culture exchanges with countries around the world, which will eventually benefit our people.

  As the stage is set for Shanghai Opera House, I sincerely hope the culture exchange between China and Estonia yield more fruits and the friendship between our two peoples grow stronger.

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