Liu Yandong talks warmly over dinner with Sinologists at a special restaurant in Belgium
Vice Premier of State Council Liu Yandong arrives in Brussels on September 14th to attend the series of events entitled the China-EU High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD). On the evening of the same day, she invites some senior European Sinologists to dinner. This is a photo of Mdm. Liu Yandong together with all the Sinologists before the dinner.
Vice Premier of State Council Liu Yandong arrives in Brussels on September 14th to attend the series of events entitled the China-EU High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD). On the evening of the same day, she invites some senior European Sinologists to dinner. This is a photo of Mdm. Liu Yandong meeting all the Sinologists before the dinner.
In contrast to the slight autumnal chill in the evening of Belgium, La Fontaine de Jade Restaurant in downtown Brussels was full of warmth.
On the evening of September 14th, during her visit to Belgium, Vice-Premier of State Council Liu Yandong invited Sinologists from Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy and other European nations to exchange ideas and enhance friendship over dinner in Brussels.
Before the dinner, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and her entourage had just finished their visit to the Flemish Institute for Technological Research and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre. Without having much rest, Mdm. Liu immediately started a one-hour drive to the restaurant to meet the Sinologists.
Mdm. Liu Yandong said quite frankly, “I have a very tight schedule in Brussels. But, at any rate, I have to meet the Sinologists here for their opinions and suggestions on China-EU cultural and people-to-people exchange. ”
Mdm. Liu Yandong chose to meet the Sinologists at La Fontaine de Jade for a very special reason. The founder of this restaurant is Mdm. Qian Xiuling, who is hailed as “Chinese Mother of Belgium” and “Chinese Schindler”. During the World War II, Mdm. Qian successfully rescued 96 local residents—a heroic deed that has gone down in the history of China-Belgium friendship. In honor of her, a street was named after Mdm. Qian in downtown Ecaussinnes city.
Mdm. Liu said, “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Seventy years ago, we were united against the fascist enemies. Now, for the world peace and human progress, we should work together even closer to strengthen the understanding and friendship among people of different countries. We should cooperate with each other in various fields to achieve mutual benefits and a win-win situation and make contributions to the world peace and human progress.”
The invited Sinologists were all top renowned experts on the Chinese studies from various European countries. Among them were Prof. Alicia Relinque, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Granada in Spain and the translator of several Chinese classics like The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons and The Orphan of Zhao; Prof. Imre Hamar, an expert on Buddhist studies who can speak good Mandarin Chinese and use Tibetan language; and Dr. Richard Trappl, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna in Austria, who will get up at mid-night to watch Chinese news so as to keep informed of what is happening in China.
During the dinner lasting for over two hours, these European Sinologists talked in Chinese with Mdm. Liu Yandong and her entourage amid a convivial atmosphere at La Fontaine de Jade Restaurant.
Dr. Richard Trappl told Mdm. Liu that he will be 65 years old next year and is going to retire soon. But he hoped that he could continue to serve the Confucius Institute in the future.
“Sixty-five years old is not really old. A Sinologist doesn’t really retire,” Mdm. Liu was quick to respond, “As the Chinese saying goes, the older the wiser. This holds true for the Sinologists. You will be more competent as you become older.”
She added, “I used to say that one can still feel young at 70, have many years ahead at 80, be optimistic at 90, and live to 100 easily. As a Sinologist, you have been working in the field of China-foreign exchange. May you live a long life and you will do for sure.”
What Mdm. Liu said gave giggles to all the Sinologists present, who became relaxed for a more heated discussion.
Later on, among others, Prof. Imre Hamar, local Director of the Confucius Institute at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, and Basile Zimmermann, local Director of the Confucius Institute in Geneva in Switzerland, offered their own opinions on a variety of topics including the promotion of China-EU cultural and people-to-people exchange and the improvement of local Chinese language teachers in Europe.
In the brightly-lit La Fontaine de Jade Restaurant, the China-EU interaction gave this autumn night in Brussels a spark of life and a touch of warmth.