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Beijing's New Year evening charms Beverly Hills guests

By Cindy Liu in Los Angeles ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-02-04 07:52:27

Showbiz city celebrates with music, opera and acrobatics

Beverly Hills was the setting for an early Chinese New Year celebration on Sunday night, with 2,000 guests turning out to enjoy music and acrobatics performances and a photo exhibition about the 2022 Winter Olympics bid.

The Happy Chinese New Year - Beijing Culture Month event was staged at the Saban Theater by the China International Culture Association, the Beijing Association for Cultural Exchange and the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Beijing's New Year evening charms Beverly Hills guests

Clockwise from top: A demonstration of traditional kite-making methods attracts attention at the Happy Chinese New Year - Beijing Culture Month event in Beverly Hills on Sunday. Guests included Julian Gold (fourth from left), vice-mayor of Beverly Hills; Liu Jian (right), China's consul general in Los Angeles; and Wang Hui (second from right), director of Beijing municipality's information office. Pipa player Zhou Hui plays a tune. Violinist Lyu Siqing and erhu player Song Fei perform at the event. Photos by Cindy Liu / China Daily

Highlights included presentations by the Beijing Performance & Arts Group, the China National Acrobatic Troupe, Peking opera star Chen Junhua, pipa player Zhou Hui, erhu player Song Fei and violin master Lyu Siqing.

Beverly Hills, known for its many show business residents, is the first city outside China to see the Charming Beijing, Passionate Winter Olympics photo exhibition.

Lili Bosse, the mayor of Beverly Hills, said the Californian city loves to bring different cultures together.

"I can't forget my trip to Beijing last May, the people are so friendly and nice," she said. "We cherish the friendship and want to carry it on with this Chinese Year of the Ram celebration."

Vice-mayor Julian Gold said: "This is the fourth time Beverly Hills has celebrated Chinese New Year.

"We hope to give our residents and businesses a glimpse of the rich culture and artistry that comes from China."

Gold said that, as China has become more important to the world's economy, Beverly Hills residents, like many US citizens, believe it is important to know more about the country.

"This is important for the future of good relations between the US and China," he said. "Many residents of Beverly Hills have been to China in recent years and have become aware of its fascinating culture."

Gold said Beijing and Beverly Hills have much in common.

"Both are world famous cities with a reputation for offering a wonderful experience to the traveler," he added. "I believe that both the American and Chinese cultures are high-energy societies with a lot of drive."

Julia Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau, said: "By celebrating Chinese New Year in Beverly Hills, we want Chinese tourists and local Chinese residents to feel at home during this family-oriented and most important festival of the year.

"We also want to take this opportunity to enhance our friendship with China."

Che Zhaohe, the culture consul at China's Consulate General in Los Angeles, said Beijing Culture Month is part of the Happy Chinese New Year project.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, the project has brought Chinese New Year celebrations to more than 100 countries as part of an effort to promote understanding of Chinese culture.

"China is known for its rich tradition of festivals, and Chinese New Year is the mother of all festivals," said Che.

"As with Christmas in Western countries, we want to share the happiness of Chinese New Year with the world."

Violinist Lyu said: "I am glad to bring to American audiences Chinese music on this Western instrument as a way of celebrating Chinese New Year with them."

Philip Harris, a member of the audience, said: "The performances were so amazing.

"I just can't use enough words to describe how impressed I am."

cindyliu@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 02/04/2015 page6)

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