Egypt: New Op­por­tu­nity for an An­cient Civil­i­sa­tion

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

Sit­u­ated in the eastern part of North Africa, the Arab Repub­lic of Egypt's ter­ri­tory also in­cludes east of the Suez Canal and Si­nai Penin­sula at the south­west end of Asia. Egypt has served as a strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions hub be­tween Asia and Africa and is near a con­ve­nient mar­itime route be­tween the At­lantic and In­dian oceans. Egypt is a Mediter­ranean coun­try and borders Libya to the west, Su­dan to the south, and the Red Sea to the east and south. It lies south of the Mediter­ranean across from Eu­rope and Turkey. Across the Gulf of Aqaba and the Si­nai Penin­sula lie Jor­dan and Saudi Ara­bia, re­spec­tively. The to­tal length of Egypt's coast­line is more than 2,700 km. It has the high­est pop­u­la­tion of Mid­dle Eastern and North African coun­tries and is the sec­ond most pop­u­lous coun­try in Africa. Its econ­omy and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries have taken the lead in Africa.

Egypt was once an an­cient king­dom and is one of the world's “Four Great An­cient Civil­i­sa­tions.” It was es­tab­lished as a uni­fied slav­ery king­dom in 3100 BC and 31 dy­nas­ties fol­lowed. Many his­tor­i­cal sites from an­cient Egypt still ex­ist to­day and are the foun­da­tion for de­vel­op­ing the tourism in­dus­try. In ad­di­tion to fa­mous scenic lo­ca­tions and works of ar­chi­tec­ture, there are nu­mer­ous cul­tural sites, such as the Tem­ple of Luxor, the Aswan Dam, Sharm El Sheikh, the Sal­adin Ci­tadel of Cairo, the Pyra­mid of Djoser, the Ci­tadel of Qait­bay and the Val­ley of the Kings.

The Em­bassy of the Arab Repub­lic of Egypt in Bei­jing ex­hib­ited pa­pyrus paint­ings and hand­crafts with na­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics, land­scape pho­tos and other items rep­re­sent­ing Egyp­tian cul­ture from var­i­ous per­spec­tives at the third “Colour­ful World” event.

Pa­pyrus paint­ings are the quin­tessence of Egyp­tian cul­ture and can be seen in air­ports, at tourist at­trac­tions and in craft shops. Though pa­pyrus can be a bit yel­low­ish and wrin­kled, it is flex­i­ble and elas­tic. The paint­ings are con­cise and dig­ni­fied and usu­ally de­pict pyra­mids, an­cient Egyp­tian deities, mas­cots and land­scapes. The pa­per is made from the pith of the pa­pyrus plant. Has­san Ragab (1911–2004) was ap­pointed the first Egyp­tian Am­bas­sador to China. Af­ter re­tir­ing in 1968, he be­gan to re­search how to make pa­pyrus as it was done by an­cient Egyp­tians. He fi­nally re­dis­cov­ered the an­cient process and this an­cient Egyp­tian cul­tural process was re­vived.

Many vis­i­tors at the ex­hi­bi­tion were at­tracted by the ex­quis­ite cop­per plates in the Egyp­tian booth and looked at them care­fully. The cop­per plates were cre­ated us­ing tra­di­tional Egyp­tian tech­niques and fea­ture a va­ri­ety of pat­terns. Some of which are en­graved with pas­sages from the Ko­ran, an­cient paint­ings, pharaohs' heads and fairy­tales. Some of the plates are very valu­able.

An image of a pharaoh was dis­played in the mid­dle of the booth's dis­play and fea­tured the words: “Where Belt and Road Civil­i­sa­tion Be­gins.” China-egypt re­la­tions have de­vel­oped smoothly since the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic ties be­tween the two coun­tries on May 30, 1956. In April 1999, the two coun­tries es­tab­lished a strate­gic co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ship. In May 2006, the for­eign min­istries of the two coun­tries es­tab­lished a strate­gic di­a­logue mech­a­nism. In June 2006, the two coun­tries en­tered into a co­op­er­a­tive pro­gramme to deepen strate­gic re­la­tions. In May 2007, the Na­tional Peo­ple's Congress of China and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Egypt es­tab­lished a reg­u­lar ex­change mech­a­nism. The two gov­ern­ments have ad­vanced the ex­pan­sion of eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion be­tween their en­ter­prises, and bi­lat­eral trade vol­ume has seen sta­ble growth since 2008. In 2012, bi­lat­eral trade vol­ume was US$9.54 bil­lion, a year-on-year in­crease of 8.4 per­cent, of which China's ex­ports to Egypt reached US$8.22 bil­lion, an in­crease of 12.9 per­cent, and China's im­ports from Egypt to­talled US$1.32 bil­lion, a yearon-year de­crease of 13 per­cent. China's main ex­port com­modi­ties to Egypt in­clude me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal prod­ucts and tex­tiles. China's im­ports from Egypt mostly con­sist of crude oil, liq­ue­fied pe­tro­leum gas and mar­ble. China and Egypt have ex­pe­ri­enced great ex­changes and ac­tive, friendly, bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion re­gard­ing cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, news, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. From 2005 to 2012, the two coun­tries have held a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing cul­tural weeks, film fes­ti­vals, arte­fact ex­hi­bi­tions and photo ex­hi­bi­tions, which were well re­ceived. In re­cent years, China and Egypt have co­op­er­ated ex­ten­sively in eco­nom­ics and trade cen­tred on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Chi­nese en­ter­prises have taken part in ma­jor Egyp­tian projects such as the up­grade of the Egyp­tian power sys­tem and devel­op­ment of the Suez Canal and im­proved them­selves as well. China-egypt co­op­er­a­tion will reach a new stage with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

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