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China in London 2008

11/01/2008, By

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Preparations for the 2008 China in London season are now well underway and this year will see more organisations, galleries and museums taking part than ever before. The season, now in its third successful year, is organised in conjunction with the Mayor of London and aims to engage businesses and creative organisations in China.

In 2008, visiting Chinese artists will be joined by some of Londonís great cultural institutions, V&A, British Museum, Royal Academy of Music, Kew Gardens and the London Zoo to celebrate Chinaís wonderfully rich, varied, vibrant and historic cultural life. Across the capital, which is very proud to host the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside Asia, Londoners will get the chance to experience Chinese culture, including Londonís Underground coming alive with poems by Bei Dao and Yang Lian and fortune cookies filled with facts about modern China given out to commuters.

The two-month season launches on February 6th 2008 with the Chinese lanterns lighting ceremony at Oxford Circus. Highlights include visiting dance troupes, Beijing Dance Drama and Opera House (BDDOH) and Beijing Modern Dance Company (BMDC) performing in iconic London locations including Trafalgar Square and the Royal Opera House, a Beijing on Screen film season, Chinese opera workshops, China Tea tasting and the All China Womenís Federation exhibition.

Chinese New Year will once again be celebrated in Trafalgar Square on February 10th with musicians, dragon dances and parades. China in London 2008 will culminate on April 6th 2008 with the spectacular finale, with London playing host to the Olympic Flame as part of the Beijing Olympics Torch Relay Ė which will take place on the final day of the First Emperor exhibition at the British Museum.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London said: 'The capital's Chinese New Year celebrations are a key date in London's cultural calendar and have grown to become the largest outside China. The past few years have seen an increasing number and range of activities and activities that coincide with those celebrations, as well as throughout the year, which highlight the breadth of Chinese culture as well as the importance of links with China to London's continued economic success.

'2008 will provide a unique context in which to celebrate Chinese arts, heritage and culture and the strengthening ties between London and China, as Beijing prepares to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in August, before handing over to London as host city for the Games in 2012.'

Supported by a major marketing and media campaign, China in London seeks to involve as many Londoners and visitors to the capital as possible and increase knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Chinese vibrant culture and in 2008 only it will have an association with CHINA NOW, a six month festival across the UK focusing on Chinese business, education and culture.

Stephen Green from CHINA NOW said: "China in London is now in its fifth year and goes from strength to strength. It has done much to increase knowledge and understanding about China, and as we move into the year of the Beijing Olympics, is important that even more is done to build bridges between our two countries. I'm delighted that CHINA NOW is working closely with the Mayor of London's China in London festival. Our programmes of events complement each other extremely well'.

More information about China in London is available on the London Mayor's Website.

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