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Tea brings Friendship
-- China Now's Tea Festival opens in London
2008/06/13

On 3 June 2008 China Now's Tea Festival opened in Asia House. Charlotte Pinder, Executive Director of Asia House, Simon Heale, Executive Director of China Now and Ambassador Fu Ying attended the ceremony. They tasted tea, meet friends and watched exhibition with 100 guests.

Charlotte Pinder and Simon Heale delivered welcoming remarks. They expressed condolences and sympathy to the heavy casualties of the Sichuan earthquakes and appreciation of the efforts and determination of the Chinese government and people in rescue and relief work. They hoped to, on the occasion of rebuilding homes for the people in the disaster areas, further enhance the understanding of the Chinese people by the British people through this exhibition and China Now.

Fu Ying thanked Asia House for hosting this exhibition and expressed her appreciation to the China Now for enhancing the mutual understanding between peoples of both China and Britain. She said she believed that the exhibition would further enhance the mutual understanding between the two peoples and further promote the bilateral relations.

Fu Ying introduced the history of tea culture. She said China was home of tea. It discovered tea tree 3000 years ago. It was the first country to plant tea and drink tea. Dr. Joseph Needham, famous historian on science and technology, regarded tea as the fifth major contribution by China to the world in addition the four already known major inventions. Tea has become an inseparable part of the life of Chinese people.

Fu Ying said tea, silk and porcelain started exchange and understanding between China and the rest of the world. As early as Tang Dynasty, Chinese tea was sold to Japan and Korea, later to India, Central Asia and Arabic Peninsular. In early 17th century Chinese tea was brought and sold to Europe.

Fu Ying said that people in Britain creatively produced "English tea" by mixing tea with milk. It is said that a third of their time is spent on tea. An English song was like this: when the clock strikes 4, everything stops for tea. The English brand Lipton has become the No. one band in the world. The exhibition has provided a good opportunity for the two countries to learn from each other in the field of tea. She said she believed that the two sides would find new opportunity for cooperation through exchange.

Fu Ying introduced the earthquake rescue and disaster relief in China. She said that the focus now had changed to reconstruction and China was faced with many difficult tasks as arranging accommodation for people suffered from disaster, discharging earthquake lakes, evacuating people trapped, providing psychological help and restarting schools.

Fu Ying thanked the British people again for their condolences, support and donations. She thanked the British media for reporting the earthquake fairly. She said that the embassy had received over 970,000 pounds and that the 5000 tents provided by the British government had arrived in the disaster areas. Reconstruction takes a long time and she looked forward to continuous support from the international community including Britain. She also told the story of Isaac Lewis, an 18-year-old who planned to walk from North Wales to London to raise funds for Sichuan.


Tea Exhibition is held from 3 to 18 June in Asian House.(http://www.asiahouse.org/net/)

Isaac Lewis's fund-raising website: http://www.justgiving.com/walktolondon

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