Honorable Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance of Canada,
Ms. Christina Martins, Member of Provincial Parliament of Ontario,
Mr. William Boyle, CEO of Harbourfront Center,
Dr. Nelly Ng, Chair of Canadian Fund for International Understanding through Culture,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of China Now Festival. It is highlight of this year's cultural exchanges between China and Canada. On behalf of Chinese government, I want to express the warmest congratulations to this great event.
And I would like to express my thanks to China Arts and Entertainment Group, Harbourfront Center, and Canadian Fund for International Understanding through Culture. Because of your great efforts, we are able to enjoy this event.
Firstly, this Festival is a window into the Chinese culture.
China Arts and Entertainment Group has invited over 70 folk artists from different parts of China to present various forms of Chinese folk arts and culture, such as folk song and dance, Chinese Kong Fu, paper-cutting, calligraphy, porcelain and cooking.
By watching and touching, you can really feel and experience the unique charm of the traditional Chinese culture.
Secondly, this Festival fully demonstrates the strong interest of the Canadian people in the Chinese culture and the support of multi-cultural tradition.
Canada is an open society advocating for co-existence and common prosperity of different ethnic culture.
China and Canada are far away from each other, the elements of Chinese culture have been rooted and growing in Canada since the first group of Chinese came here in the 1850s.
Now there are over 1.4 million overseas Chinese living in Canada.
And Chinese culture has become a part of Canada's cultural life.
In recent years, with the fast development of China-Canada relations, more and more Canadian people start to show interest in the Chinese culture.
Every year, Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.
And the Chinese Spring Festival is now celebrated by more and more Canadian people.
Thirdly, this Festival is a bridge linking the peoples of our two countries, and is a platform for the Canadian people to understand Chinese culture.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states".
The fundamental driving force of our relations is the enrichment of our peoples' friendship.
In recent years, China and Canada have conducted close cultural exchanges and cooperation.
Last year, the National Ballet of China and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada respectively made performance tour and both were warmly welcomed by the audience.
With China Now Festival now staging in Canada, the mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples will for sure be further strengthened.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese people have strong interest in the Canadian culture.
The famous Canadian Museum of History and Royal Ontario Museum are displaying the colorful history and culture of your great country.
I sincerely hope, in the near future, more Canada's multi-cultural shows can be brought to China.
With cultural exchanges, China and Canada can make new and important contribution to the development of human civilization.
I wish China Now Festival a great success.
Thank you all.