HCA NEWS Hans Christian Andersen 2005 in China

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen appointed the Chinese Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors at a major press briefing in Beijing Friday.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 27 February 2004

China will feature prominently in the worldwide celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005. A whole host of major projects will be featured in China during the bicentenary, including motion pictures, TV features, exhibitions, concerts, new translations, a musical and a number of visiting Danish and international co-productions.

These major Chinese bicentenary celebrations were presented at a press conference, organised by the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing and the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation in partnership, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 27 February 2004.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is conducting an official visit to China from 24-28 February 2004, appointed seven of the most prominent personalities in China within the fields of arts, sport and entertainment as Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors, whose task will be to promote the wider awareness and appreciation of Hans Christian Andersen in China.

The seven Chinese Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are: senior translator Lin Hua, cultural producer Wang Wen Zhang, actor Zhang Jinlai, television hostess Ju Ping, singer Song Zuying, musician Sun Yan and athlete Yao Ming.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen opened the event with the following words:

"(?) From the very first outline of the bicentenary, China has been targeted as a main priority for the world wide celebrations. This decision is well-founded. Not only have our two countries established diplomatic relations as early as in 1950 permitting us to build a good and longstanding tradition for collaboration, business-wise as well as culturally. What is more important in this context is the fact that the Chinese people have a profound and widespread love for Hans Christian Andersen's work. It is not least thanks to the living Chinese appreciation of Andersen that Danes have come to realize the universal qualities of his genius. If the population of a nation so distant and different from Danish society can engage in a passionate relation with a genuine Danish figure like Andersen, then he must really belong to the world. I am equally convinced that they will speak to us in the same manner as the song of his Chinese nightingale: Through our hearts to our minds."

At the press conference, Secretary General of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, Lars Seeberg presented the Chinese Hans Christian Andersen projects. Among the many projects taking place in China during the bicentenary are a contemporary art exhibition inspired by Andersen, five drama-documentaries on Andersen to be broadcast on national Chinese television, an acrobatic show based on the artistic interpretation of Andersen's work by the famous Chinese acrobatic group Shengyang Acrobatic Troupe, new translations of selected works by Andersen by senior translator Lin Hua, the full length movie "Peach Blossom" based upon Andersen's "Under The Willow Tree" and a tour of China and the Far East by The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. 

Lars Seeberg, Secretary General of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005, states:

"China is the country, if any, where the love of Andersen is perhaps almost as great as in his own country. The overwhelming interest China has shown in the worldwide Andersen bicentenary offers clear proof of just how much Andersen is cherished in China. The awe-inspiring celebratory programme featuring exciting renditions of Andersen's work will no doubt ensure the success of the event. It is our hope that the celebration will contribute with new and evocative insight into the image of Andersen so familiar to the Chinese. The many Chinese projects embrace both traditional art forms and visionary modern-day means of artistic expression."

Extraordinarily, the press conference also featured the first peak presentation of the official Hans Christian Andersen dinner service, designed by Danish artist Lin Utzon and produced by Rosendahl.

The dinner service will be launched in Denmark in May 2004, but on account of the fact that Rosendahl has just received the world's most prestigious design award, The DESIGN PLUS Award at the International Trade Fair Ambiente this past week, a preview to the Chinese press has been made possible. The Chinese Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will be the first to receive this present from the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation to all its Ambassadors. 

At the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 in China press conference, Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund of the Royal Danish Ballet performed an extract from August Bournonville's full-length ballet The Flower Festival in Genzano and the Heibei Opera Academy performed their adaptation of Andersen's fairytale The Wild Swans.