Diplomatic Pouch: With Mike Peters

Updated: 2011-09-16 14:13

(China Daily European Weekly)

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Bohemian glass tradition took center stage at the Czech embassy last week as Petr Vavra, the economic counselor, assembled six famous glassware and jewelry makers to present their wares to Chinese businesses and media.

"The Bohemia and Silesia regions have been making glassware for more than 700 years," he says, "and the region has held a unique position in art glass since the 15th century."

Today Czech glass comprises high-end tableware, jewelry and sculptural art coveted around the world. One-of-a-kind pieces have been presented as gifts by Czech leaders to Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, among many others.

The value of Czech glass exported to China reached $4.8 million (3.5 million euros) last year, while jewelry commanded about $200,000. Both are record figures and Vavra sees great potential for growth. Many top hotels in China's major cities currently boast lavish displays of Czech glass - from massive sculptures to chandeliers.

Vavra says the glass is not exclusively a luxe item - China's new middle class has discovered it, too. "The fast-growing imported wine market is driving a strong demand for imported glassware," said Ji Xiaozhong, who represents the Czech line Crystalex in China.

The Danish embassy has just ended a two-week design competition on its micro blog on, and 18 Chinese winners received a sample piece of Danish design. The winners gave the right answers on 20 questions about Danish design and Danish design companies.

Ten companies have sponsored prizes for the competition: Lego, JYSK, Eva Solo, Georg Jensen, Pilgrim, Evita Peroni, Noon Copenhagen, Katvig, Kopenhagen Fur and the Danish caf, Royal Smushi House in Beijing.

The Danish embassy in Beijing has two micro blogs - on and - that combined have 280,000 followers interested in Denmark, Danish design, culture, history, food and Danish society.

Croatia's envoy to Beijing Ante Simonic, who just returned from a summer holiday at home, reports that Chinese artist Rita Zhao is taking Zagreb by storm with her exhibition of photographs taken on her tour of his country last year.

Zhao first exhibited the images at the 20th anniversary party for modern Croatia's independence hosted by Simonic this summer and the show will travel to another Croatian city before returning to China this fall.

The latest EU-China flagship event took place Sept 7-11 within the wider framework of the second Youth Convention on Volunteering.

The public event was organised by the European Youth Forum, together with the European Parliament in Brussels, with an aim to celebrate the work of young volunteers in youth organizations; showcase the role of youth organizations in volunteering; attract and reach out to non-volunteers; involve young volunteers to act afterwards as "multipliers" in their organizations; discuss good practices and possible cooperation with representatives from other parts of the world.

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