The Cultural Year of Greece in China

Updated: 2008-10-07 16:43
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B.J. Worrell: The saying goes east is east and west is west. But in the last 12 months, thanks to the Cultural Year of Greece that was celebrated here in China, we've found more similarities than differences between these two ancient civilizations located at opposite ends of the Eurasian continent.

Angela: For many Chinese people, Greece is so far away. And in China we don't have a big Greek population, so there are very few chances to know the Greek culture.

BJW: The Olympic fever that gripped China contributed to a growing thirst in all things Greek and the timely cultural year just complete nourished this curiosity.

Qiao Luqiang, Dept. of International Arts Exchange, National Center for Performing Arts: "A lot of Chinese people are very interested in Greek drama and Greek cultural History. We are very happy to see that many people came to our center to see the performace.

BJW: At the recent International Touristic Cultural Festival that took place over the October National Week Holiday at Beijing's Chaoyang Park, Greece was the country of honor. Sunny weather saw visitors flock to the Greek pavilion, sampling food, wine, song and dance.

Mr Oikonomou, President of Greek National Tourism Organization: "One of the reasons for the very good relationship is our history and the history of China. In Asia China and in Europe Greece - we are the oldest countries and we have a common similar history."

BJW: Both Greek and Chinese civilizations began around 2000BC. Written literature also began for both at a similar time --around 800BC. Three centuries later philosophy flourished in both east and western circles bringing forth legends like Socrates, Plato, Confucius and Laozi.

For five centuries Greeks also traded gold with China for silk and business today is on an increasingly upward trend underpinned by new agreements in trade and education.

With the cultural exchanges that have taken place last year, the previous divide between east and west has definitely been diminished.