Brussels International participates in the largest ever Belgian economic mission to China
From 17 till 22 November 2019, Brussels International participated in the most recent princely economic mission to China. What better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the cooperation agreement between the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) and the City of Beijing.
Seven hundred participants joined the largest ever Belgian economic mission to China, which was led by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid. The Brussels delegation was led by Pascal Smet, the State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region responsible for European and International Relations.
Meeting with Belgian students in Beijing
The programme kicked off with a meeting with students of the Brussels-based INSAS film school, who were staying at the Beijing Film Academy – China’s most prestigious film school – where they were producing documentaries. The Cinémaster programme and its “Regards croisés” subprogramme, which has received funding from the Region since 2008, enables Brussels students to travel to China and Chinese students to travel to Brussels to produce documentaries. Many of these documentaries have gone on to win awards at international festivals. Such exchanges also give students an opportunity to further their education, while gaining international experience.
25 years of cooperation between Brussels and Beijing, a reason for celebration
That same day, an official meeting and a lunch were organised in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the cooperation agreement between the Brussels-Capital Region, represented by State Secretary Pascal Smet for the occasion, and the City of Beijing, represented by its Vice-Mayor Wang Hong. Many cooperative projects, on the economic, academic and cultural level, were brought up at these two events. Wang Hong is also expected to attend eat! BRUSSELS next year.
On 18 November, the companies were invited to various meetings such as the ‘Legal & Arbitration Forum’ and ‘Smart city and sustainable building’, which were both organised by hub.brussels, or ‘Brussels & Wallonia, a multiple face destination’, organised by visit.brussels and Wallonie Belgique Tourisme. That evening, 1,100 Belgian and Chinese guests attended an official reception.
Sport, culture and society
On 19 November, the Brussels delegation participated in various seminars on the subject of sport, gender equality in the workplace, intellectual property and mutual investments. The participants then had the opportunity to attend a special preview of the exhibition of the Chinese ink works of the Brussels artist Antoine Mortier (1908-1999). This exhibition, which was shown for the first time in Asia thanks to the financial support of the Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonie-Bruxelles International, will run at the Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing until February 2020.
Art and economy in Shanghai
The Brussels delegation then travelled to Shanghai on 20 and 21 November for another, economic anniversary this time around: Solvay was celebrating the 40th anniversary of its presence in China. There were several activities on the programme in the country’s second largesr city, including an investment lunch, a visit to the headquarters of the Alibaba B2B trading platform as well as an event organised by hub.brussels and visit.brussels on the theme of Brussels lifestyle, which was attended among others by Wolfers Jewellers, the fashion designer Carine Gilson and the chocolate maker Pierre Marcolini.
Finally, the official delegation also visited ‘Convex/Concave’, a Belgian contemporary art exhibition in Tank Shanghai, which was organised by the Brussels-based Wiels art centre and which also marked the end of the mission. The works of fifteen famous Belgian artists, including Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Michel François, Ann Veronica Janssens, Thomas Lerooy, Valérie Mannaerts and Sophie Whettnall, were exhibited in this astounding industrial space (disused oil tanks). The exhibition by Wiels will run in this new arts district, which is situated along Shanghai’s West Bund until the end of January 2020.
Back to Beijing
On 22 November 2019, the team of Brussels International returned to Beijing for the official inauguration of the exhibition of Antoine Mortier’s works, which was attended by representatives of the Belgian Embassy to China and several Chinese artists and art critics. The opening was a huge success and a nice way to wrap up the participation of Brussels International in the largest ever Belgian economic mission.