Prince of Wales opens Chinese cultural centre

Updated: 2015-02-20 08:21

By Cecily Liu(

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Prince of Wales opens Chinese cultural centre

Britain's Prince Charles is greeted by a Chinese lion as he visits Chinatown in London, February 19, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Funding for China Exchange came from a combination of various organizations and individuals, and one leading figure who worked relentlessly to make it possible is Sir David Tang, a Hong Kong businessman best known as the founder of the Shanghai Tang fashion chain.

Tang said that he is thrilled that the prince could open China Exchange. He said he hopes the venue will be used for many insightful cultural lectures, talks and performances, so that the British public can understand that Chinatown is not just about Chinese food.

When the royals arrived in Chinatown, they were greeted by a Chinese lion dance performance and Chinese children singing songs in Chinese.

They then visited Dumplings' Legend, a Chinese restaurant that specializes in making dumplings and dim sum. At Dumplings' Legend, they saw how to make dumplings, and the duchess made a dumpling herself with the advice and help of Ching He Huang, a Chinese celebrity chef in London.

They were then shown around China Exchange, where they watched a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy and saw an exhibition showing the work of The Prince's Charities Foundation China.

The exhibition, known as the Beijing Hutong project, shows the work the charity has done to conserve Hutongs, or alleyways surrounding the Forbidden City.

These alleyways can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th Century but have been gradually destroyed over the years. The project carefully restored an historical courtyard house using traditional craftsmanship and green technology.

The royals' visit to Chinatown has thrilled members of the Chinese community, and outside China Exchange a large crowd gathered, keen to observe the royals.

Also, many people are excited about the prospectof being able to use the center for events. Linda Lee, CEO of EquexChina, an equestrian industry consultancy and events management company, said that she looks forward to the time her team will use the space to host events and exhibitions.

"I feel that the royals' visit significantly increases recognition of Chinese culture in mainstream British society, and culture exchange is a great way for two countries to build a closer relationship," Lee said.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK, said that he looks forward to witnessing a series of important cultural exchanges between the UK and China throughout this year.

"There will be unprecedented opportunities for China-UK relationships. I am confident that the Year of the Sheep will witness ever- strengthening China-UK cooperation," Liu said.

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