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Venezuela's Ambassador Rocio Maneiro Gonzalez and Counselor Le Aimei appreciate the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese instrument. Jiang Dong / China Daily
More than 100 female diplomatic envoys to China, foreign envoys' wives and international organizations' women delegates stationed in China gathered at the National Center for the Performing Arts on Feb 27 to enjoy Chinese folk music and a lecture to celebrate the upcoming International Women's Day.
"Music is a language that transcends boundaries," says the organizer, Counselor Le Aimei, who is Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's wife.
"It's not only an important culture carrier but also a bridge to deepen friendship among people all over the world."
She has organized similar activities promoting Chinese culture to celebrate the day for several years, including Chinese porcelain and photography exhibitions.
"It's a nice way to present different parts of Chinese culture," Susan Kim-Chomicka, the wife of Poland's ambassador, says.
"I really enjoy myself because I like music very much. Poland is very famous for its music as well. I can know more about Chinese culture and its similarities to Polish culture."
Venezuela's Ambassador Rocio Maneiro Gonzalez says the festival is held annually to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations, and people should continue to cooperate to advance gender equality.
"It is important to remember that women are not a minority and not a vulnerable group," she says.
"Women represent one half of humanity."
Kim-Chomicka plans to celebrate Women's Day with all the wonderful women she knows.
"Being with other women who are energetic and successful is the best way for me to feel that way as well," she says.
"It also encourages me to continue to present my country in China and to make friends."
The Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra performed eight pieces of classical Chinese folk music, including Jackdaws Play in the Water,The Moon's Refection on the Fountain and Moonlight on the Spring River.
The orchestra, which consists of musicians from the China Conservatory, visited more than 10 countries and regions, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, as one of the Ministry of Culture's top art groups.
"It's my first time to listen to Chinese folk music, but I'm not lost," says Busi Thage, wife of the South African embassy's minister plenipotentiary.
"I'm enjoying each minute. The music is actually close to that in my country."
Professor Shen Cheng, a famous huqin (a traditional stringed instrument) player from the conservatory, gave a lecture on the history of traditional Chinese musical instruments and played various styles of classical folk music from different eras.
Thage says she enjoyed the lecture.
"I only started to learn piano last year, but the lecture makes me think about which traditional Chinese instrument I'd like to learn because I like music," she says.
Le says: "Chinese folk music reflects our national culture and spirit. I hope the foreign guests understand more about Chinese culture and spread it to their countries."
(China Daily 03/02/2013 page11)