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Yunnan brings Lunar New Year show to Laos

2014-01-28 10:08:37




A Chinese artist performs at the Spring Festival show in Vientiane.

Chinese performers presented a Spring Festival show on Jan 25 in Vientiane, hosted by Yunnan TV and Laotian National Television to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a Laotian audience, as part of Yunnan's effort to promote cultural exchanges with Southeast Asian neighbors.

For about two hours, 180 local performers from Yunnan province showcased traditional and popular songs and dances at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, along with 20 Laotian performers staging their classic shows.

This was the second effort to take a Spring Festival gala abroad to share the joy with ethnic Chinese and local friends in the region; the first one was a success in Bangkok, Thailand, last year. The programs include acrobatics, opera and multi-ethnic dancing.

Yunnan shares more than 4,000 kilometers of border with Southeast Asia, an immense advantage for interacting with the neighboring countries. "The Spring Festival is the most important occasion for the Chinese people," says Li Xuemei, the coordinator of Yunnan TV for the gala. "Yunnan TV has to make the best of its geographic advantage."

Each television station in China broadcasts a Spring Festival gala in its own style and facilities, Li said. While the Yunnan station is not as high-tech as its big-city counterparts, "it is impressive if we work with foreign performers in the gala show and many Chinese viewers will be interested," Li says.

Millions of ethnic Chinese live in Southeast Asia—Thailand alone has a population of 10 million people with Chinese blood. In February 2013, Yunnan TV co-hosted a celebration for the Spring Festival in Bangkok with Thai Central Chinese Television to attract more than 2,000 officials and businessmen in Thailand.

In Laos, thousands of Chinese workers are completing foreign-aid projects sponsored by the Chinese government, such as employees of the Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co Ltd. Meanwhile, Chinese teachers have been sent to teach Mandarin in Laos, where Chinese is getting more popular due to the increasing economic interaction between the two counties.

Yunnan TV spent 4 million yuan ($666,000) to co-host the event, while another 4 million yuan was provided by the State Council Information Office of China and the Yunnan provincial government.

Yunnan has a long tradition in television cooperation with Laos, with companies in the province selling millions of set-top boxes for television signals, said Li. Pineprathana Phanthamaly, director general of the Mass Media Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos, said in a previous interview that China has assisted Laos's information and media personnel for a long time. Last year, China Central Television and China Radio International helped Laos upgrade its TV and radio systems.

Boun Jom, president of Laotian National Television, said around 6 million people are estimated to have watched the gala.

"The connection with Southeast Asian neighbors is much more valuable than the money we spent on the galas, and we will continue the festivity show in the future to further promote interaction and understanding of Yunnan people and our neighbors," Li says.

During the gala, the international channel of Yunnan TV announced to offer service in Laos and other Southeast Asian countries. "Yunnan is the only province in China that neighbors Laos, and the increasing cooperation between Yunnan and Laos has contributed to the strategic partnership between China and Laos in recent years," says Zhao Jin, director of Yunnan's provincial publicity department. "The performances by Chinese and Laotian artists will further promote the cultural exchange and communication between the two countries."

Guo Anfei contributed to the story.

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