Tunisian culture, literature and music shine in China through visit of President of Republic

Tunis: The State visit of the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, accompanied by his wife, to China was an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries at several levels, particularly in the cultural field.

This first state visit to China made by President Saïed focused on the richness of the Tunisian culture and the intellectual, literary and artistic icons of the country.

The Tunisian culture was highly present throughout the president’s visit, both in terms of literature and thought, so were authentic Tunisian music, art and Arabic calligraphy.

The official meetings and gatherings held in Beijing were crowned by the signing of a series of cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding in various fields. The Head of State, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, chaired the signing ceremony of these agreements.

In the cultural sector, three agreements in the audiovisual sector were signed: a cooperation agreement between the National Radio Establishment and the National Radio
of China (CNR), a cooperation agreement between the Tunisian Television Establishment and the China Media Group as well as a cooperation agreement between the Tunis Afrique Press Agency (TAP) and the Xinhua News Agency.

Collection of Tunisian books presidential donation to the Great Library of “Huawei”

In the province of “Dongguan”, the Head of State, his wife and the members of the delegation accompanying him visited, on Saturday, the Great Library of the company “Huawei”. A presentation on the different pavilions, including the one dedicated to Tunisia, was given to them by the curator of the Library named after the global mobile phone giant.

President Saïed learned about the different components of this architectural jewel whose roof is decorated with inscriptions bearing the names of many cities and capitals including that of Carthage, in recognition of this thousand-year-old city and its historical and cultural status.

The President of the Republic offered this library a large collection of Tunisian
reference works including works by the great scholar Abderrahman Ibn Khaldoun al-Hadrami (1332-1406). “The Muqaddima” or the “Prolegomena to Universal History”, an introduction in three volumes, is one of the most important works of this philosopher, historian, economist and sociologist considered to be the precursor of sociology. The donation also includes contemporary works by eminent thinkers who have left their marks on the national literary and cultural heritage, such as historians Ahmed Ibn Abi DhiSf, 1804-1874, (IthSf Ahl al zamSn bi akhbSr mulûk Tûnis wa Ahd al AmSn (Present to the men of our time, chronicle of the kings of Tunis and the Fundamental Pact) and Hassan Hosni Abdelwaheb, 1884-1968 (“Kitab al omr”, Book of Life, 1947).

The collection also brings together the complete works of the writer, thinker and politician Mahmoud MessaSdi (1911-2004), author of books in Arabic such as “The Dam” published in 1955, “Thus Spoke Abou Houraïra” (1973), “The Birth of Oblivion” (1974). The works of MessaSdi
are translated into many languages and some of his works are studied in school curricula.

“Tunis métropole arabe méditerranéenne”, a collective reference work on the history of Tunisia, was also part of the presidential donation to the Chinese library. Published in 2019 on the occasion of the celebration of “Tunis is the Capital of Islamic Culture”, this encyclopedia focuses on the history, architecture, literature and arts in the capital known for its Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Tunisian-Chinese cultural events organized on the occasion of the state visit

On this occasion, the president spoke of the convergence of civilizations and the intercultural mix between Tunisia and China, as evidenced by the depth of diplomatic relations between the two countries, whose 60th anniversary (1964-2024) is being celebrated this year. Tunisian-Chinese diplomatic relations were established in 1964 on the occasion of the historic visit to Tunisia by Prime Minister “Xu Anlai” (9-10 January 1964) laying
the foundations for a lasting partnership and cooperation.

This event was at the heart of cultural events organized on June 2 by the Tunisian Embassy in Beijing, on the occasion of the State visit made by the President of the Republic to China. Cultural diplomacy was at the center of a cultural day organized by the Embassy in partnership with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the office of the National Office of Tourism and Handicrafts (French: ONTT) in China, in the presence of a number of media representatives, cultural actors and influencers as well as members of the Tunisian diaspora living in China, particularly students.

The day was marked by the organization of an artistic exhibition and a workshop dedicated to Arabic and Chinese calligraphy under the supervision of well-known calligrapher Omar Jomni with the participation of a number of eminent Chinese calligraphers. History researcher Jomni is one of the most eminent calligraphers and author of numerous exhibitions in various countries across th
e world.

The exhibition was an opportunity to shed light on the heritage of the Arabic calligraphy and Tunisian masterpieces as well as to highlight the strong ties between the Tunisian and Chinese cultures.

The rapprochement between the two countries was also reflected by the host country’s choice to pay tribute to the Tunisian culture, through the instrumental song “Sous le jasmin la nuit” of famous late singer Hédi Jouini performed by Chinese Army Orchestra during the official welcome ceremony for the President of the Republic and his wife.

This song from Tunisia’s national musical heritage, widely covered, sings of jasmine, the emblematic flower of Tunisia with several species, some of which are native to Asia.

President of the Republic Kais Saied paid a state visit to China from May 28 to June 1 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. At the end of a series of talks and consultations, the two leaders jointly declared ‘that they are promoting their countries’ relations to the level of a s
trategic partnership.’

In their joint statement, the two leaders reiterated the key role of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) mechanism in consolidating collective cooperation between China and Arab countries, reaffirming the willingness to establish “active cooperation” on the path to implementing the outcomes of the first China-Arab Summit.

The two sides expressed common will to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, with emphasis on economic development based on solidarity and social justice.

The state visit of President Saied to China reaffirms the will of the two countries to foster bilateral relations established since the times of Habib Bourguiba, builder of modern Tunisia and president of the first Republic from 1957 to 1987 and Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China who ruled the country from 1949 to 1976.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse