The “Charming Chinese Art – Prosperous Silk Road 2023 China-Cambodia Friendship Year” event, a vibrant showcase of cultural performances, was held on December 1 at the Secondary School of Fine Arts (SSFA)in Phnom Penh.

The event was held as part of ongoing celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Cambodia-China diplomatic relations and of the 2023 China-Cambodia Friendship Year. It featured lively performances by artist from the Gannan Normal University of China and their counterparts from the SSFA.

Londy Sannara, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, described how the event – which featured live performances as well as painting exhibitions – served as a cornerstone in the celebrations of Cambodia-China diplomatic relations. 

“The ‘Chinese Diversity’ themed performances underscored the deepening cultural exchanges and brotherhood between the nations,” said Sannara, as she attended the joint performance. 

She explained that this year, the already robust Sino-Cambodian relations have been further strengthened through exchanges between the leadership of both countries. 

“As we reflect on the 65-year historical relationship, we see that Cambodia and China have achieved a ‘diamond-level’ cooperation, which focuses on building a new shared destiny community,” she said.

“This cooperation is a testament to the strong ties between the governments and people of the two nations,” she added.

The team from Gannan University brought a rich blend of Chinese cultural elements, which showcased the traditions of various ethnic minorities.

Raksmey Hong

Sannara said the event epitomised the Chinese proverb, “We have the temperament to meet, even though we are thousands of miles apart”, which strengthened the cultural bond between the two nations.

Quan Xiaoyun, vice-chancellor of the Chinese university, spoke highly of the Sino-Cambodian friendship. 

“The resilience and strength of this friendship can be seen through Cambodia’s active role in initiatives like China’s Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], which has contributed to fruitful collaborations,” Quan said.

Quan stressed the role of cultural and artistic performances in enhancing ties. The Gannan University’s delegation, under the Chinese education ministry, has received numerous accolades for its cultural performances and exchanges worldwide.

The delegation presented a variety of traditional dances, folk songs, theatre music, martial arts, and circus performances, illustrating the rich tapestry of Chinese culture.

In 2022, a collaboration between the Chinese and Cambodian education ministries integrated Chinese language education into Cambodia’s system, deepening mutual understanding and friendship. 

Raksmey Hong

Chang Jian, advisor to Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh, reflected on the historical ties between the two nations.

“Under the strategic guidance of Chinese President Xi Jinping – and in collaboration with King Norodom Sihamoni and Hun Sen, Chairman of the Supreme Privy Council to the King, the partnership has entered a new historical stage,” he said.

“This collaboration aims to build a high-quality, high-standard joint community between China and Cambodia in the new era,” he added.

He noted various strategic collaborations and a recent declaration that was made during the 3rd International Belt and Road Cooperation Forum, which announced that 2024 will be a “China-Cambodia Year of People-to-People Exchanges”.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet announced that 2024 would be designated as a year of transformative people-to-people exchanges between the two countries,” said Jian.

In addition, the Gannan University delegation had the honour of being invited to perform at the opening ceremony of the 10th Sea Festival, held in Kep province from December 1-3.