On 6 April 2023, the opening ceremony of the 2023 Begonia Cultural Festival and Begonia Poetry Event were successfully held at the Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling in Beijing. Hosted by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), supported by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) and Beijing Xicheng District Municipal Government, the event was jointly organised by the Management Centre of the Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling and the Bureau of Culture and Tourism of Xicheng District of Beijing. The opening ceremony was graced with the presence of Mrs. Li Bin, Vice Chairwoman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Chairwoman of the CSCLF, while Ms. Shen Beili, Vice Chairwoman of CSCLF, H.E. Secretary General Shi Zhongjun of the ACC, and Mr. Sun Shuo, Secretary of CPC Xicheng District Committee delivered speeches. Ambassadors of Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Dominica to China, diplomats from the embassies of Viet Nam, Japan, Singapore, Pakistan, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Myanmar and Uzbekistan in China, Mr. Liu Jinsong, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China, Mr. Wang Ning and Mr. Yu Qun, Vice Chairmen of CSCLF, attended the event.
Secretary General Shi emphasised in his speech that in the 1950s and 1960s, Mme. Soong Ching Ling visited several ASEAN Member States (AMS), and established profound friendship with the leaders of those countries. She was not only a great patriot of China, but also a great practitioner of ASEAN-China friendship. Over the years, CSCLF has attached great importance to ASEAN-China relations, and made positive contributions to deepening people-to-people and cultural exchanges and promoting mutual understanding among peoples. Standing at a new starting point with the establishment of ASEAN-China comprehensive strategic partnership, ACC is ready to work together with all parties to contribute to building a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home for ASEAN and China.
Themed “Experience Chinese Culture in the midst of Begonia Blossoms”, the event focused on “Enhancing the Excellent Traditional Chinese Traditional Culture and Promoting People-to-people Friendship among Countries”. Famous reciters, performing artists and junior youths gave the audience a wonderful audio-visual feast with recitations, song and dance, Kunqu opera and other artistic forms. At the event, Chinese and foreign guests dotted golden stamens on the “Xifu Begonia Picture”, released doves of peace, watched the performance and took photos together.
During the Begonia Cultural Festival, a series of activities were held, including an exhibition of “The History of Soong Ching Ling’s Former Residence”, a seminar on Nalan culture, and an interactive display of Intangible Cultural Heritage.