Irish share a touch of green this month

Beijing (China Daily/ANN) - Irish Ambassador to China Declan Kelleher and his wife, Sigrun, hosted an embassy reception on Friday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day as Ireland's National Day. But the party will last more than a day: The embassy has sponsored a month of cultural events on tap around China, including the third annual Irish Wave series of art exhibitions.

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The UK and China celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations this week, with the British embassy in Beijing pointing out that the 1972 agreement built on his country's "existing recognition" of the PRC dated from 1950. "The UK-China relationship continues to become both stronger and deeper with every passing year," London's Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood said, noting:

UK exports to China grew 40 per cent in 2010 and 20 per cent more in 2011;

The UK was China's number-one source of foreign direct investment (FDI) among EU countries in 2010 and between January-August in 2011;

China co-authors more scientific research papers with the UK than with any other country other than the US and Japan;

The UK has more joint programs with Chinese higher education institutions than any other country (131 as of June 2011);

There are over 100,000 Chinese students in the UK - more than any other foreign student group in the UK. More than 500 schools now offer Mandarin classes, and there are 3,300 British students studying in China;

In 2010, over 575,000 British nationals visited China in 2010, and nearly 130,000 Chinese tourists visited the UK;

The total number of visas issued for Chinese visitors to the UK has doubled in the last two years. Tour group visas have risen by 250 per cent over the same period, and business visas by 50 per cent. Student visas have continued to rise, despite the high numbers already in the UK.

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Germany will also celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations with China and the embassy in Beijing is inviting Chinese followers of its website to submit photos that showcase the ties between the two countries and have the chance to win a Leica X1 camera. Deadline: March 25. For more information, see www.peking.diplo.de/.

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Australia's Ambassador Frances Adamson hosted special guests at her residence on Monday to celebrate the opening of the 2012 Australian Writers' Week. Chinese author Mo Yan was at the reception to launch the translation of Alexis Wright's award-winning novel Carpentaria.

Adamson also honored the winners of the Australia China Council Competitive Project Awards. The winning students, who are in Australian studies programs at six Chinese universities, received grants to pursue research projects in Australia this summer.

Australian writers participated in events in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.

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An exhibition by the Greek painter and sculptor Kostis Georgiou concludes Tuesday in the Museum of Fine Arts in Suzhou.

At the show's opening earlier this year, Greek Ambassador to China Theodore Georgakelos said the exhibition "will contribute to the knowledge of the Chinese public on modern Greek art and the friendly relations between our two people.

"Culture is the best way to develop the friendship and cooperation between people," he said.

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Czech Ambassador Libor Secka and his wife, Sabrina, hosted a private reception on Friday for the opening of Two Sides of A Mirror, an exhibition by Chinese artists Yan Li and Li Yan at the embassy in Beijing.

The event was the latest in a three-year series, Embassy Art, under the primary sponsorship of Skoda automobile company and the Chinese telecom firm Huawei. An exhibition of Czech crystal was held simultaneously.

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