Neri: Chinese Friendship Day, diplomatic relations

Chinese Friendship Day, diplomatic relations

In a bustling event donned in red and gold visuals, Cebu celebrated the 49th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China’s diplomatic relations with the Philippines and the 23rd Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. The event was held at the Cebu Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Social Hall in June 2024, featuring a program that focused on cultural exchanges and appreciation.

According to Ami Li, one of the organizers of the activity, this was the second year that a group of nine Chinese schools in Cebu spearheaded the commemoration of the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. The activity aims to celebrate Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day through the music and art culture of the two countries. She added that the group is also considering the observance of the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day next year.

The nine Chinese schools presented Filipino and Chinese songs and dances while the Childlink Learning Center Rondalla ensemble played two music pieces. The guests were swept away by the beautiful medley of beloved old songs performed by teachers at Lahug Elementary School.

Consul-General Zhang Zhen of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu explained that the event commemorates the 49th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “My dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, given the current situation of our bilateral relationship, it is extremely important to promote mutual understanding and take our destiny into our own hands. We need to forge a closer bond between our peoples and open our hearts to each other,” Consul-General Zhang said.

Cebu Vice Governor Hilario Davide III pointed out the shared history and cultural bonds that Filipino and Chinese communities share in a friendship and cooperation that has flourished over nearly five decades. “Obstacles may arise along the way. Nevertheless, we must continue to prioritize dialogue, cooperation and mutual respect by focusing on the common ground that unites us, rather than the differences that divide us,” he said.

In his message Cebu City Councilor Jaypee Labella, recalled the long-standing relationship between China and Cebu, with the establishment of the first Chinese settlement in Parian district.

“In Cebu, the mark of the Chinese is everywhere, with the Cebu Chinese community credited for transforming the once modest village into the vibrant Queen City of the South,” Labella mentioned. He continued by saying, “As we celebrate this special day, let us honor an enduring friendship between China and the Philippines, and reaffirm our commitment to strengthen the bonds of cooperation, understanding, and mutual respect.”

Though cultural exchange events are always eye-catching and enjoyable, beyond the revelry there lies a deeper importance in the way these activities impact society and contribute to global cooperation. Fingers crossed that more events like these will be available to a wider local audience so they can experience and immerse themselves the intricate culture of China.

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