18 October, 2007
Greek Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis told a press conference here on Wednesday that “The Cultural Year of Greece in China” comes amid a very special period for China, almost a year ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games of Beijing.
In a press conference in the Chinese capital, Liapis China and Greece have a chance to further promote bilateral ties, adding that Chinese society will be offered a taste of Greece and Greek culture.
The Cultural Year of Greece in China will be formally launched on Friday with a concert by music composer Stamatis Spanoudakis.
"The Olympic Flame unites the two countries," he said, adding that western civilization has presented the Olympic Flame to the oldest eastern civilisation, while Athens will be the host of the 2011 Special Olympics, taking over from Shanghai.
Liapis also referred to the very good bilateral relations, within the framework of which Air China will launch a Beijing-Athens flight beginning on Nov. 29, stressing that he had contributed to this development from his post as the transport minister in the previous Greek government.
A cultural cooperation memorandum will be signed in Athens next month by Liapis and the Chinese deputy culture minister providing, among others, for wider cooperation in theatre and cinema, exchange of museum exhibits, museum personnel training, antiquity protection and maintenance and establishment of cultural centers in Beijing and Athens.
On his part, Chinese culture ministry official Wang Zhigang stressed that the Cultural Year of Greece in China is the most important event in bilateral cultural relations. He also pointed out that Beijing is planning a relative initiative in Athens and the establishment of culture offices by Greece and China in Beijing and Athens, respectively.
The press conference attended ruling New Democracy MP and former culture minister Fani Palli-Petralia, who played an important role in the realization of the cultural year event.
Liapis and the Greek delegation visited the Hellenic Cultural Centre in downtown Beijing.
Source: Athens News Agency