LONDON, April 15 (Xinhua) -- A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official attended an opening ceremony here Sunday to promote China as the Market Focus country of honor at this year's London Book Fair.
"The London Book Fair is one of the most important of its kind in the world. Being the country of honor at the London Book Fair, China believes that it will open an important window for foreign people to take a closer look at Chinese culture and provide a prime opportunity for Chinese publishers to learn from international peers," said Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, at the ceremony.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level between the two countries and will see London host the Summer Olympics, bringing new opportunities for China and Britain to further their ties, said Li, who was accompanied by Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong at the ceremony.
The London Book Fair was started in 1971, and was regarded as the world's second largest marketplace for copyrights trading only after the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.
To be held from Monday to Wednesday, the London Book Fair is expected to attract about 25,000 professionals this year.
The Market Focus program was launched in 2004, under which the London Book Fair chooses a single country or region as the country of honor, with an aim to promote trade ties with the chosen country and building long-term business partnerships between the country and the international publishing industry.
About 181 Chinese publishers as well as rights managers and celebrities from literary circles will take part in the London Book Fair to promote Chinese works.
Some 300 activities will be held during the book fair, during which 57 leading Chinese writers, including Tie Ning, chairwoman of the China Writers Association, as well as renowned Chinese writers Wang Meng and Mo Yan, will participate in literary events with well-known British writers and readers.
"The rich and varied events hosted by China as the country of honor will give a full picture of China's unique culture and its modern development," Li said. "Our friends will have a chance to feel China, know China and understand China."
On the British side, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, said at the ceremony that dialogue was the key to building relationships among countries.
"As both nations are proud of our literary heritages, I think it is a right and proper way to recognize the creative industries in both our countries," he said.
Li arrived in London Sunday on a four-day official visit to Britain, with an aim to promote cultural exchange and bilateral ties between the two countries.