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Angry Birds join Finland's envoy at opening for Harbin ice fest

Updated : 2013-01-13

By ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Diplomatic Pouch | Mike Peters

Being a wingless bird with a tuxedo doesn't automatically make you a penguin, but the whole cast of Angry Birds was in the frigid city of Harbin last week to kick off the annual Ice and Snow Festival. Finland's Ambassador to ChinaLars Backstromlaced up his winter wear and trekked up to China's Northeast to make opening-day speeches at the festival and the concurrent Arctic Exhibition. He was ably seconded, we hear, by those best-selling game birds, who have their own 3,000-square-meter park this year. The international crowd included more diplomats and sister-city representatives (Harbin has 27 sister cities in 23 countries at last count), includingSanta Claus, from Harbin's sister city Rovaniemi in Finland's Lapland.

If the cold weather in Beijing is getting you down, the Indian embassy invites you to warm up with free dance classes taught byAnuradha Sharma, from Saturday to Monday, and Wednesday to Thursday (except holidays), between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm. No dance classes are held on Tuesdays or Fridays. Class times are flexible and can be arranged by visiting the culture wing of the embassy or calling 010-8531-2500, Ext 263 (Chinese and English).

The Austrian embassy co-hosted the opening of Werner Berg: From Expressionism to Pop Art at the National Art Museum of China last weekend, presenting a string trio with musicians from the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The art exhibition continues at the Beijing museum through Jan 14. 

Norway's Ambassador to ChinaSvein O. Saetherrecently hosted 20 Chinese journalists and editors for lunch and a chat about the upcoming 150th anniversary of the birth of fabled Norwegian painter Edward Munch next year. Introducing "a modern artist with a modern eye for the world," Saether promises the 2013 events will give Munch fans worldwide, old and new, a fresh perspective. After a short seminar on Munch, the ambassador took his guests on a guided tour of the original Munch pieces at the embassy residence.

Munch's originals have been exhibited twice in China. The first exhibition, in 1983, toured from Beijing to Chongqing and Kunming, while the second took place in Shanghai in 1997. In 2013, almost all of Munch's paintings will return to Norway for a series of exhibitions. More info at www.munch150.com.

Zbynek Noha, the new deputy ambassador at the Czech embassy in Beijing, was in Tianjin recently for the ribbon cutting at the new Crystal Art Gallery, an exclusive venue for works by Prague-based artistPetr Doubek. Doubek says the impetus for opening a gallery comes from his good friendChen Pingling, a former employee of the Chinese embassy in the Czech capital.

China's Ambassador to FranceKong Quanbraved an afternoon rainstorm in Paris last week to participate in the launch of the Chinese Year of the Snake stamp, issued by the French Post Office. Also in attendance was the stamp's designer, the Chinese expat painterLi Zhongyao- who has designed eight of the nine Chinese New Year stamps (all except the rat stamp) issued by France since 2005.

"I have come to these launches over the last few years and am always happy to see stamp collectors eager to buy the new stamp," Kong said, noting that the French postal service plans to print 3 million of the stamps. Kong said there are currently talks about creating a commemorative stamp to celebrate the 50 years of Sino-French relations in 2014.

Send embassy news to michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn.

(China Daily 01/13/2013 page5)