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Consul General Ma Zhanwu Briefed Indian Media on His Consulate Joining Durga Puja Celebration

Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata, held a press briefing at Hotel Oberoi Grand on 17 August 2018, during which he announced that the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata would join the BJ Block Sarodotsav Committee to hold the Durga Puja celebration from 13 to 17 October 2018. Over 60 reporters from mainstream media houses were present, including PTI, UNI, Times of India, The Telegraph, Statesman, The Indian Express, The Hindu, Millennium Post, NDTV, and ABP.

Mr. Ma said that Durga Puja is a cultural event appreciated by people from around the world despite its religious elements, and it will be the first time for the Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata to be directly associated with the Puja celebrations. During the celebrations this October, a structure of Chinese bottle gourd will be built in the pandal complex. He explained that in Chinese gourd is called "Hulu", which signifies happiness and prosperity, and is very popular in China, especially in Yunnan Province. The plant is grown widely, and has been used to hold water as scoops and bottles, but also made into a beautiful musical instrument called "Hulusi". In order to help the BJ Block Durga Puja Committee learn more about "Hulu", this Consulate has arranged a trip for some of the members to Lincsang, Yunnan Province, where they studied the "Hulu" installations and gained an understanding of the artistic nuances, so that they would be better able to make a "Hulu" in the pandal complex. Besides the Hulu Pandal, over 20 Chinese artists will visit Kolkata and put on cultural performances, including songs, dances, lion dance, acrobatic shows, etc. At the same time, Chinese paper-cutting and other cultural shows and artifacts will be displayed, and Chinese snacks will be available, too.

He also said that it is quite significant for the Chinese Consulate and the BJ Block to work together to hold the Durga Puja celebrations, and the backdrop for the cooperation is the development of China-India relations after the successful meetings between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi, who have set the direction for the bilateral ties and turned a new chapter for the relationship.

Why would the Consulate be involved? Because it is in line with the purpose of the Consulate, as told by the Consul General. Firstly, it will promote cultural exchanges between China and Eastern India. The bottle gourd in the pandal complex will stand as a testimony for the love of art and culture that the people in Bengal have in common with the people of China.

Secondly, it will contribute to the development of the understanding and trust between China and India. Both countries are blessed with long history and rich culture and there is a lot of similarity in the two cultures (for example, Goddess Durga is known also in China and she is called Nan Jin Mu, meaning the Formidable Goddess), and the two peoples have conducted long years of interactions between them, and helped developed what was later called the Silk Road.

Thirdly, it will push forward the in-depth development of exchanges between Yunnan Province and West Bengal. There exist many advantages for interactions between the province and the state, and the room for growth is still huge.

U.S.Ghosh Dastidar and Bhaskar SinhaRoy, joint secretaries of the Puja Celebration Committee for BJ Block, briefed the media on its work on the event, and played a video they made. They thanked the Chinese Consulate for its assistance, and said as neighbors India and China should strengthen cultural exchanges, learn more about each other, and develop a friendly and cooperative relationship.

Mr. Ma also answered questions from the media on preparation for the celebration, recent exchanges between China and Eastern India, and other programs by the Chinese Consulate in the coming months.

At the onset of the press conference, as suggested by Mr. Ma, all the participants observed one minute of silence to express their condolences on the passing away of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister of India.

Consul Wang Mei, Vice Consul Xie Chao and Vice Consul Shi Lijun were present at the briefing.


On the next day, many newspapers carried stories related to the press briefing, and paid tribute to the Chinese Consulate for the work it has done to promote exchanges and cooperation between China and Eastern India.


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