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Exhibition revives memory of China-France people-to-people exchanges

An exhibition telling Chinese and French people’s stories through artifacts, pictures and audio is underway in Paris.

Zhou Fang takes a closer look at some of the exhibits and delves into the stories.

The exhibition titled "Friendship Through Sixty Years: Exhibition of Chinese-French People's Stories" features over 40 artifacts.

Musician Liu Yiqing kicked off the exhibition with a pipa piece called "Time" that he composed.

Renowned Chinese guqin performer Li Pengpeng collaborated with Yang Lining to perform the piece "Flowing Water" for the audience.

The exhibits include the inaugural Chinese national flag unfurling on the car of the Chinese ambassador to France in 1964 and a handwritten letter from the famous Chinese writer Ba Jin to a French teacher.

A handwritten letter from the famous Chinese writer Ba Jin to French teacher Tony Legendre is on display at the exhibition. [Photo: CGTN Radio]

Many owners of the items on display have told their unique stories.

Dongchun from the Chinese Writers' Association was among the earliest to engage in the cultural exchanges.

"I graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1964. One notable play we worked on was 'Erzebeth'. In December 1988, the playwright of 'Erzebeth' was invited to China for its premiere. The play garnered significant attention from the cultural and artistic circles in Beijing after its staging."

Chinese Literature Professor Shen Dali, Dong’s husband, says what they did immediately aroused interest.

Dong Chun (L) and Shen Dali (R) talk about their experiences of translating French plays into Chinese. [Photo: CGTN Radio] 

"In 2012, at a Sino-French cultural exchange event, 'The Man Who Laughs' by Victor Hugo was presented. The audience responded enthusiastically to the performance. For example, the French Department of Beijing Foreign Studies University reserved the entire theater for its students."

Joël Bellassen first arrived in China in 1973 to study Chinese at Beijing Language and Culture University and Peking University.

The French Sinologist brought three items to the exhibition.

The picture shows the calligraphic-style dictionary Joël Bellassen bought in Shanghai in the 1970s. [Photo: CGTN Radio] 

 "A few days after arriving in China, I came across two items in a simple shop - an alarm clock and a cup adorned with quotes from Chairman Mao.The Beijing Language and Culture University took us on a trip to Shanghai, where I bought a dictionary showcasing various calligraphic styles from a bookstore on Nanjing Road. While I have many books at home, this one is the most precious to me."

Organizers say the exhibition is not only a retrospective of the past 60 years of friendly exchanges between China and France but also a preview of their future cooperation and friendly relations.

CGTNKailun Sui

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