The fair was truly a celebration of 60 years of continued friendship, aptly themed ‘Friendship Forever.’ It was opened by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang. Addressing the opening, the Speaker recalled the 60 years of friendship between the two countries, especially the famous Rubber – Rice Pact which benefited both countries during the times of need. It is significant that this year, the two countries are celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact as well.
The China Cultural Fair was illuminated by the lantern festival, initiated by Chinese Cultural Centre Director Yue Liwen. For the lantern festival held for the first time in Sri Lanka, a delegation was brought down from Sichuan Province which is renowned for lanterns. Apart from the traditional red Chinese lanterns, the Arcade premises had a display of lanterns in the shape of animals and other symbols. In addition, the fair included colourful Chinese dance performances with 15 artistes from Inner Mongolia. Another 28 performers from Jiang Su Province showcased their talents in acrobatics, martial arts and magic. Performances held in Matara and Hambantota. A special performance will be held at the Nelum Pokuna theatre today 16.
The fair saw an array of Chinese books and handicrafts as well as a special kids’ corner for the young ones to enjoy colouring baby panda ornaments. A Chinese celebration is not Chinese without a taste of delicious Chinese cuisine, which was also available at the premises.
Speaking to the dgi.gov.lk web site, Chinese Cultural Centre Director Yue Liwen said the centre has planned many events throughout the year to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. One is the Chinese Film Festival to be hold from February 16 to 21 at the National Film Corporation theatre Tharangani Hall. Entrance is free on a first-come-first-served basis. This is the second Chinese film festival to be held in Sri Lanka.
“Throughout the year, the Embassy and the Chinese Cultural Centre has planned about 20 to 30 events. We hope that the Sri Lankan people will enjoy the Chinese performances and what we have to offer. This is an opportunity for the locals to get to know the Chinese culture and the Chinese people, and build lasting friendships,” Director Yue Liwen said.