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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe at the Opening Ceremony of the China Story Photo Exhibition

Experience a Diverse China and Deepen Mutual Understanding

Respected Vice President Mr. Gianni Pittella,
Vice Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Mr. Ioan Pascu,
Members of the European Parliament,
Mr. Zhao Hui,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I wish to welcome all of you to the China Story Photo Exhibition. I wish to thank Mr. Pascu and your assistants for the efforts to make this exhibition happen. It is my sincere hope that this event will open up a window to look at China, so that the MEPs, who represent the people of Europe, and people who work in the EP, will have an opportunity to observe, experience, and learn more about China.

As you may have already found, that the pictures shown today are not jungles of skyscrapers or cobwebs of packed streets. We've selected pictures of ordinary Chinese people living their everyday life, which we hope will offer a vivid sketch of China's diverse culture, traditions, and national conditions. Some pictures capture the peace of riverside towns and interesting details of city life, while others depict the beauty of places where ethnic minorities live. You'll have a chance to see our cultural heritages like the traditional Chinese opera and the martial art. At the same time, you'll also find how dancing and other forms of modern arts prosper in today's China. I fully believe that these pictures of strong Chinese flavor will give you a fresh taste of our rich cultural heritage, vigorous and dynamic society, and our people's love, hope and pursuit of a bright future.

Sharing a time-honored friendship, the exchanges between China and Europe over the past two millenniums have bestowed our relations with remarkably rich substance. Today, as we further our relations, we enjoy even stronger links in our political mutual trust, business cooperation, and people-to-people exchange. Both sides are now working actively to make people-to-people exchange as the third pillar for China-EU relations, as a complement to our political and business ties. As we successfully conclude the EU-China Year of Youth by the end of this year, we will launch the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2012 to give another stronger boost to our cultural and people-to-people exchange. I strongly believe that the time-honored history and splendid culture of both China and Europe will greatly benefit stronger cooperation in our cultural and people-to-people exchange, bringing about not only inclusive and complementary progress, but also harmonious coexistence among different cultures and common prosperity of the humanity.

When you walk through the exhibition, you will discover huge differences between China and Europe both in a geographic sense and in terms of cultural traditions, life style and development level. However, we shouldn't let such differences become barriers to our exchange and cooperation. Rather, we should regard them as a driving force to promote mutual learning and shared prosperity. We are confident that as long as we respect each other and treat each other as equals, we will be able to appreciate and support our respective development path and attain new progress in our relations. We are willing to work together with the European Parliament to strengthen mutual understanding, remove differences, and expand common ground and cooperation to promote healthy growth of China-EU ties.

We warmly invite all of you to visit China when there is a chance, so that you will see with your own eyes the changes and progress in the country. To conclude, I wish this photo exhibition a complete success, and I wish a prosperous friendship between the peoples of China and Europe.

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