China to provide cultural feast during Olympics

July 29th, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 29 (Xinhua) The Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) will provide a variety of unique cultural activities during the coming sports gala in August. The Ministry of Culture, Beijing municipal government and the BOCOG have jointly developed the 2008 cultural programme and mapped out the Olympic Cultural Festival from June 23 to Sept 17, said Zhao Dongming, director of BOCOG Culture and Ceremonies Department.

“The cultural festival will last nearly three months throughout the Olympics and Paralympics. It will be a marvellous Olympic cultural event with the longest time, the most abundant contents, the largest number of performance teams and the most complete artistic variety,” Zhao said Monday at a press conference at the Main Press Centre here.

The festival will host significant cultural activities with “Meet in Beijing 2008″ as the theme, including Asia Night, Africa Night, Latin America Night, Arab Night, SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Night and other song and dance shows.

Nearly 20,000 artistes from more than 80 countries and regions will feature in 600-plus performances, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Chinese Taipei.

On Aug 8 when the Olympics officially opens, the Olympic Expo will also be launched in a grand way at the Beijing Exhibition Centre.

“During the Olympic Games, we will strive to make opportunities for ordinary citizens to share the joyful atmosphere. All the Olympic cultural squares, as well as most exhibitions, will be open to the public free of charge,” Zhao promised.

According to the official, more than 20 Olympic cultural squares will be set up in Beijing and other co-hosting cities will also stage cultural activities in the open.

During the Olympics, there will be nearly 40 international and over 150 domestic exhibitions of arts, artefacts, painting, photography, sculpture, murals and non-material heritage.

While most state-level museums will be open for free during the Olympics, some historical heritage sites, such as the Forbidden City and the Gongwang Mansion, will keep requiring admission fee from visitors in order to better protect the heritages, Zhao explained.

As theatre performances will be aimed for public welfare during the Olympic Games, the government has started to provide subsidies for domestic art troupes, together with low-price tickets.

“We have definitely put security as our priority to ensure a worry-free Olympic Games. We will intensify our efforts to help the public understand the importance of security checks,” Zhao said.

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