China, Sri Lanka celebrates conclusion of friendship year

2008-03-03 12:01:18 Xinhua English

BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- A gala dinner and a cultural extravaganza were held by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing here Monday night to celebrate the successful conclusion of the China-Sri Lanka friendship year and the 60th anniversary of the independence of Sri Lanka.

The event, named "Sri Lanka - Beyond Your Dreams", draw First Lady of Sri Lanka Shiranthi Rajapaksa, China's Vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Gu Xiulian, who is also president of the All-China Women's Federation, and some 600 other guests of both countries.

Rajapaksa said the China-Sri Lanka friendship year beginning in2007, saw the fruition of many activities between the peoples of China and Sri Lanka, marking the celebration of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The First Lady, who accompanied his husband, President Rajapaksa to visit China in February last year, said she was impressed with the way women in China are involved in the development process of the country.

She also wished the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games a great success, saying she believed the games will allow China to reveal to the world more of her rich history and culture, its modern day progress and show the country's true potential to the world in a most memorable way.

Gu praised the continuously strengthened cooperation between China and Sri Lanka in the past 50 years, saying the friendship year program has enhanced mutual understanding between the two peoples.

"The Chinese people cherish the friendship with the Sri Lankan people...I believe that with joint efforts of both sides, the China-Sri Lanka friendly and cooperative ties, which have a long history, will show new vitality," she said.

Rajapaksa awarded certificates to three friends who have promoted China-Sri Lanka friendship, namely Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Wan Ji fei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and Thosmas Cheung, consulate of Sri Lanka in Hong kong.

She also donated 50,000 yuan (about 7,000 U.S. dollars) to the Chinese women and children.

The Chana company, based in China's Chongqing, also donated three ambulances to the Sri Lankan government.