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Tea seminar starts
By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-20 09:03

It was unexpectedly sunny yesterday in this city in the western part of Southwest China's Sichuan Province as the curtain was raised on the Eighth International Tea Culture Seminar and the First Mengding Mountain International Tea Culture Tourism Festival.

On till September 25, the two events have drawn 2,400 people from 20 countries and regions, 700 more than expected. Some 400 are foreign officials and tea experts, said Hou Xiongfei, Party secretary of Ya'an.

The seminar, which will publish the "Mengding Mountain Declaration of World Tea Culture," will be western China's first international event featuring tea culture.

The biennial International Tea Culture Seminar was started by the China International Tea Culture Research Institute.

As the highest-ranking meeting of its kind in the tea industry, it has been held seven times since 1990. The venues have included Hangzhou, Changde, Kunming and Guangzhou in China, Seoul in South Korea and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

More than 20 cities from around the world competed to hold the Eighth International Tea Culture Seminar. But Ya'an became the winner thanks to its long history of tea cultivation and unique tea culture.

In 53 BC, Wu Lizhen, a farmer in Ya'an, planted seven tea trees on Mengding Mountain. According to historical records, they were allegedly the first tea trees ever planted by a human being.

Since then, Mengding Mountain has been hailed as the origin of Chinese tea culture and Wu has been referred to as the "ancestor of tea." Spreading its influence near and far, Mengding has become a sacred mountain in the world of tea.

With Mengding Mountain as the centre, Ya'an has built 22,667 hectares of tea gardens and is a major tea producer in Sichuan.

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