Fused with the technical difficulties of gymnastics, the visual impact of conjuring arts and the artistic beauty of dance, China's time-honored acrobatics have wowed audiences of the Republic of Congo.
It was broadcast live on national television on Tuesday, opening up a new cultural window into the Orient.
"All we knew about China was kung fu," says Bazin M'Boungou, journalist with a local magazine. "I didn't expect Chinese acrobatics to be so skillful and miraculous. I have never been to China, but it makes me want to go and experience the country's culture and art."
Presented by the international award-winning China National Acrobatics Troupe, the show was part of the ongoing Experience China event, a cultural exchange program initiated by the Chinese State Council's Information Office to facilitate mutual understanding worldwide. The program will run until March 30.
Since 1999, the program has toured more than 20 countries. The Republic of Congo is the third African country, after Uganda and Tanzania, to have embraced the event. More importantly, it marked the event's grand opening in 2013.
"We chose Republic of Congo as our first stop in 2013 because it's among the first countries that China's newly elected President Xi Jinping will visit," says Wang Guoqing, deputy director of Chinese State Council's Information Office.
"It's a reflection of the great importance we've attached to the Republic of Congo and to the relationship between the two countries."
In addition to the two-day acrobatics show, Experience China also includes a 10-day telecast on Congo's national channel of 12 carefully selected documentaries capturing the changes in China, publication of China-themed articles in local newspapers, and exchanges between journalists of both countries.
On March 30, Ngouabi University will launch a China Library. A collection of more than 10,000 books and videos, which Wang says will be regularly updated, is aimed at serving as a long-term platform "where the Republic of Congo will come to understand Chinese culture and China's development and changes".
Bienvenu Okiemy, Republic of Congo's minister of communication and the government spokesman, says they've been looking forward to the program and he believes it will give Congo nationals a chance "to see the real China".
"China has been an important partner of Republic of Congo with regard to energy and infrastructure construction. We believe the exchanges between the countries' top leaders will strengthen the connection between its people," he says.
Republic of Congo was one of the first African countries to recognize the People's Republic of China. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the countries' diplomatic relationship. Minister Okiemy says they've already started planning a series of events to commemorate the occasion.
"We've achieved a win-win situation in many aspects. Next year we have many important plans to realize. Republic of Congo will be more dedicated in spreading its history and culture on a global stage," he says.