An Egyptian participant picks books about China at the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 2019. In celebration of the World Book Day which falls on April 23, the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo held on Monday its fourth reading salon under the title "Travelling and Poetry." (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Ahmed Shafiq
CAIRO, April 22 (Xinhua) -- In celebration of the World Book Day which falls on April 23, the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo held on Monday its fourth reading salon under the title "Travelling and Poetry."
At the beginning of the event, a short video clip introducing Chinese tourist attractions and natural landscapes was displayed, winning admiration from the audience.
During the salon, dozens of reading and literature lovers enjoyed poetry performances by both Chinese and Egyptian participants.
Notably, the audience at the theater of the cultural center gave a standing ovation to two Egyptian young people who performed Chinese songs.
"Every year, the Chinese Cultural Center celebrates the World Book Day with our Egyptian friends and this is our fourth year in a row," Shi Yuewen, cultural counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, said during the event.
Such event helps the Egyptians get closer to China and its history, culture and literature, Shi added.
"Like Egypt, China has a long history, natural landscapes and unique traditions ... We want the Egyptians to see this through our salon," the Chinese counsellor noted.
First celebrated in 1995, World Book Day, also known as International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by the UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright.
During the event, Egyptian and Chinese readers have the chance to pick a large number of Chinese books that were placed on tables at the center's theater.
The event reached its climax when Chinese ping-pong masters gave a quick lesson to Egyptian guests on how to play the ball.
"The event is really marvellous. I feel like I am in China," Musafa Mahmoud, a student of Chinese language at Cairo University, told Xinhua.
Mahmoud, who performed poem Facing the Sea with Spring Blossoms written by the late famous Chinese poet Hai Zi, said he was keen to participate in the salon because he always wanted to know more about China and its rich culture.
"I was scared before I went on the stage to read the poem, but the good reactions of the Chinese audience encouraged me," he added.
At the end of the salon, the Chinese cultural counsellor donated 500 books to the Chinese Language Department of Egypt's Kafr al-Sheikh University.
"The Chinese books will definitely help our students," Wafaa Darwish, a professor of Chinese language at Kafr al-Sheikh University, told Xinhua. "These books are rare and we cannot find them easily in Egypt."
Since the upgrading of relations between China and Egypt to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, cultural exchange has been at its peak as demonstrated by frequent mutual visits between artists as well as cultural and musical delegations.
Both countries hope to boost friendly ties through the Belt and Road Initiative, which has promoted deeper understanding between them.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa through the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.