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Old Jeddah plays host to China

2010. 3 August

by Naif Masrahi
( The historical area of Al-Balad in Jeddah has turned into a little China for the past week. A 10-day joint Saudi-Chinese exhibition, opened at Bait Nassif last week, displaying photographs illustrating economic developments in both countries during the past two decades and focusing on the strong friendship between the two powers.

The heritage of both countries is displayed side-by-side with antique swords standing in a case next to historic copies of the Holy Qur’an and dated manuscripts. Portraits of former Saudi monarchs were also on show.

Inaugurated by Mohammad Al-Tayeb, General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Makkah Province, and Wang Yong, Chinese Consul General in Jeddah, the purpose of the exhibition is also to introduce civilians to the great power that China has become and the path of reformation since 1987 that has allowed it to become a leader in industry and trading.

“We hope that the exhibition will enrich the cultural relations between the two countries and give visitors a chance to have a closer look at the development in China,” said Al-Tayeb.

Consul General Wang said that the exhibition reflects the reforms in the technological, industrial, educational and agricultural sectors of China.
Pictures of the most recent development projects in China are also being displayed. One of the biggest projects in China these days is a strip of northern forest which has become one of the most important ecological projects worldwide.
In fact, one of the most important theme of pictures focusing on China is the emergence of a newer and modern lifestyle in the country after modernization and the introduction of new languages.He Zhao Zhao, a Chinese nurse who has been working in King Fahd Public Hospital for the past two years, was delighted to visit the exhibition where she found “useful information about Saudi Arabia, its people and its culture.”“The Saudi people are friendly and willing to share ideas with other nationalities,” she said. “It is a good chance for me to discover Saudi traditions in this exhibition.”Another visitor found the exhibition well-organized and reflecting the traditions and the developments of both countries. “It is good to see Saudis preserving their heritage and sharing it with others in such exhibitions,” said Amanda Hicks, the Information Officer at the US Consulate in Jeddah.

The Chinese also took this opportunity to display their own cuisine including their famed noodles and a variety of desserts.
The Saudi-Chinese exhibition is part of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 where the event Saudi Arabian Cultural Days concluded earlier this week. The exhibition is organized by the Tourism and Antiquities Department in the Jeddah Mayoralty in cooperation with the Chinese consulate in Jeddah.

The exhibition ends Wednesday. – SG