2017 is a special year for Hong Kong as it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Brussels, the “head office” of the Hong Kong Government in Europe, is looking forward to organising and supporting a series of activities in Belgium throughout the year.
Since China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong has continued to thrive as it enjoys the benefits of “one country, two systems” and its role as a super-connector between the Mainland of China and overseas markets. Belgium remains one of the key trading partners of Hong Kong in the European Union, with the diamond trade accounting for over 70% of Belgian exports to Hong Kong.
Today HKETO will welcome the Year of the Rooster with its annual Chinese New Year reception, a glittering and exclusive event firmly established on the city’s diplomatic calendar. It will feature a performance by the Hong Kong Drum Ensemble, which has also been invited to conduct a workshop with Year 3 pupils at the British School of Brussels on 8 February.
In April, the HKETO will support the screening of Hong Kong films at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) at Bozar. In June, that world-renowned citizen of Brussels, Manneken Pis, will be presented with a new costume. In August, HKETO will bring a group of young people from Hong Kong to Eupen to take part in the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in one of Belgium’s most beautiful regions, the Hautes-Fagnes. They will be given the opportunity to share their experience during Belgium Week in Hong Kong in November 2017. In September, the Asian Youth Orchestra, comprising 100 young musicians from ten Asian countries and regions will perform the grand finale of its world tour at Bozar. The popular Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Antwerp will take place the same month. In October, there will be a special event that blends Hong Kong-style gastronomy with martial arts. A business conference is also on the cards.
Antwerp welcomes the Year of the Rooster with Lion Dance exhibition
Antwerp got into the spirit of Chinese New Year with the opening on 27 January of the “Legends of Lion Dance” exhibition. Organiser Joe Choi, a lion dance performer of 20 years’ experience, shares his passion for this unique blend of tradition and martial arts with a display of 12 authentic and unique lion heads, made, embroidered and adorned by skilled Hong Kong craftsmen using traditional techniques. Lion heads like those from the “Three Kingdoms” story are also on display. Visitors can learn how lion heads are made, the meaning of the dance and its associated legends and stories, and the difference between a lion dance and a dragon dance. A live lion dance will be performed on the last day of the exhibition on 16 February.
“Legends of Lion Dance” is being held at Permeke Bibliotheek, 26 De Conickplein, close to Antwerp’s central railway station and Chinatown. It is open seven days a week and entry is free of charge.