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Concert serves as prelude to more cultural exchanges

By MO JINGXI | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 06:57
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A concert marking the opening of the 2024-25 China-Russia Years of Culture and the 75th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic relations is held on Thursday at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY

Together with nearly 1,000 audience members from both countries, President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoyed a concert in Beijing on Thursday afternoon, marking a high point of the first day of Putin's two-day state visit to China.

The concert, presented by Chinese and Russian musicians with instruments such as China's erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument, and Russia's bayan, a button accordion, was also the opening ceremony for the 2024-25 China-Russia Years of Culture.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Xi said it has been a good tradition for China and Russia to designate national theme years in each other's countries for people-to-people exchanges. As a highlight in the history of developing bilateral relations, the theme year is widely welcomed by the people of both countries, he said.

Xi also said the variety of events and programs will help further unleash the potential for cultural cooperation between the two countries and create a new future for their cultural exchanges.

"It is believed that the China-Russia Years of Culture will inject new momentum for carrying forward the China-Russia friendship and bringing the two peoples closer with mutual understanding," he said.

Putin, who delivered a large part of his speech with no pause for translation, said he felt so at ease in China that he forgot that not everyone present understood Russian.

He said that in his country, the interest in Chinese culture is growing stronger.

This is reflected not only by the fact that more people prefer to decorate in Chinese style, but also in their strong desire to learn about Chinese architectural design, their enthusiasm for learning Chinese language, studying Chinese tea culture and learning Chinese porcelain-making techniques, and their starting to practice martial arts, he said.

"I deeply believe that the two countries will, in the spirit of brotherhood, work together to strive for solid progress in deepening our partnership," Putin said.

Fedor Guryev, a senior student majoring in flight vehicle design and engineering at Beihang University in Beijing, said in fluent Chinese that he was excited during the concert to hear the artists skillfully blending the Russian song Moscow Nights with China's Song of Horse Herding.

"It was so interesting," said Guryev, who is also the head of an association of Russian students in China.

During the 2024-25 China-Russia Years of Culture, residents in 51 Chinese cities and 38 Russian cities will be able to appreciate more than 230 art events, such as film festivals and exhibitions, at their doorsteps.

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