Tang Shouyuan, Mayor of Fengdu City of China’s Chongqing Municipality and Mario Alejandro Navarro, Mayor of Guanajuato in central Mexico, show the signed agreement to establish friendship-city relations at an online signing ceremony on November 10 (FILE)
Guanajuato, capital of the eponymous state in central Mexico, established friendly ties with a Chinese city--Fengdu in China's southwestern municipality of Chongqing--on November 10.
The two cities are both known for their rather unusual spiritual culture.
"Thanks to our cultural legacies, we are both international tourist destinations. In addition, we share a deep tradition of ghostly legends and afterlife culture, manifested through different artistic means," said Mario Alejandro Navarro, Mayor of Guanajuato, in his address to the online signing ceremony in Mexico City.
Wang Guangcheng (center), Vice President of Chongqing People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, presides over the signing ceremony on November 10 (FILE)
Zhang Guozhong, Secretary of the Fengdu County Committee of the Communist Party of China, delivers his address at the signing ceremony on November 10 (FILE)
According to Zhang Guozhong, Secretary of the Fengdu County Committee of the Communist Party of China, the friendly relationship between both cities dates back to December 2018, when a delegation of Fengdu government officials paid a visit to Guanajuato. They participated in an array of activities surrounding cultural exchange and city promotion during their stay and signed a letter of intent to establish friendship-city relations with the Guanajuato authorities.
"Guanajuato's Day of the Dead and the 'Fengdu Temple Fair,' the No.1 asset in the local ghost culture of Fengdu, are common cultural heritage with a high degree of similarity. The friendship city agreement has arisen from our commitment to and confidence in our respective cultures," Zhang further remarked.
Originating in Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a joyful celebration that sees family and friends gather to pay their respects to those loved ones who have already gone onto the next life. The indigenous festivity was declared by UNESCO "Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" on November 7, 2003. Guanajuato, in turn, is recognized as one of the cities that best represents the tradition. Fengdu's ghost culture, then, can be traced back 2,000 years.
Via ancient myths and legends passed on from generation to generation, the traditional backdrop holds both the social and educational functions of punishing the guilty and supporting the good. The annual Fengdu Temple Fair features a variety of unique entertaining delights, including ghost mask dances and street parades themed on the legend of the Ghost King's Wedding Procession. The city was listed in China's fourth batch of national intangible cultural heritage projects in 2014.
Due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, the signing ceremony took place online with over 20 attendees from five Chinese and Mexican cities. Fengdu's County Mayor Tang Shouyuan and Navarro signed the Friendship City Relationship Agreement on behalf of both governments.
According to the agreement, both cities will tap into mutually complementary advantages, actively carry out exchanges and collaboration in the fields of economy and trade, culture and art, tourism, plus education and talents, by making full use of their respective resources and promoting common development. More specifically, they plan to conduct a field visit centering on "cultural tourism" in 2022, together with an online forum to discuss the utilization and management of folk culture resources.
In 2023, the Fengdu local government will undertake more extensive cooperation with Guanajuato in modern agriculture and foreign investment promotion. In the meantime, they would like to promote the export of Fengdu local agricultural and sideline products, such as beef and squash, to Mexico.
Ricardo Ballesteros, head of political affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in China, delivers his address online on November 10 (FILE)
"The relationship between Mexico and China has strengthened through bilateral cooperation on COVID-19 containment efforts, particularly with China's provision of medical supplies and Chinese vaccines to the Mexican health sector," Ricardo Ballesteros, head of political affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in China, said at the signing ceremony.
"The agreement signed today is another example of the friendship and cooperation between both countries as well as the dynamism of the Mexico-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, in which the interaction between local governments is becoming progressively important," Ballesteros stressed.
Li Yafang (center), President of the Center for Americas of the China International Communications Group (CICG), and Liu Shuangyan (right), Vice President of CICG Europe-Africa Center are invited as special observers to witness the online signing ceremony on November 10 (FILE)
Li Yafang, President of the Center for Americas of the China International Communications Group (CICG), and Liu Shuangyan, Vice President of CICG Europe-Africa Center, were invited as special observers of the online signing ceremony.
Online group photo of signing parties of China and Mexico on November 10 (FILE)
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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