Chinese call Hamburg “Hanbao”: China’s gateway to Europe. Insights into the diverse cultural, economic and social exchange between China and Hamburg have been presented since 2006 by “CHINA TIME” every two years. In 2014, CHINA TIME will return, and once again present China along with Hamburg’s Far East expertise to a broad public. For two and a half weeks, visitors are invited to participate in 200 events, ranging from exhibitions to concerts, panel discussions, lectures and a large open Chinese market right in the heart of the city. A month earlier, current economic and politic developments will be discussed by global leaders of business and politics at the Sino-European conference “Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe” hosted by the Hamburg chamber of commerce.
Hamburg: China’s gateway to Europe
Hamburg is China’s gateway to Europe, and Europe’s gateway to China. For more than 200 years, Hamburg and China have been maintaining close trade relations. More than 50 per cent of Germany’s total foreign trade with China ins handled by the Port of Hamburg, with trade volumes worth 10.billion euro in 2013. More than 500 Chinese companies are represented in Hamburg with offices. In return, 720 Hamburg companies have close economic ties with China. Also, more than 10,000 citizens of Chinese descent are living in Hamburg, the second largest Chinese community in Germany. Since 1984, the Chinese Consulate General in Hamburg has been taking charge of their affairs. And almost a long, i.e. 28 years, Hamburg has been maintaining a vibrant city partnership with Shanghai, which is represented by a House of Friendship in the Hanseatic city. In return, the Elbe metropolis in China built the Hamburg House for Shanghai’s Expo 2010.
Theme 2014: Scripture
The theme of CHINA TIME 2014 is the Chinese script. For more than 3,000 years, it has been the carrier of Chinese culture, and the only logo graphic writing system used up to the present day. Each character, each word can be traced back to an origin, and each one has its special meaning and history. For thousands of years, writing had been the key to power in China. With the writing reform of Mao Zedong in 1956, this system began to change: calligraphy lost its monopoly status for scholars. Then, the avant-garde movement of the 1980s put all the academic rules and the guidelines of Socialist Realism in question. With the introduction of new media, a different Chinese writing system evolved. Against this background, and current tensions in some parts of the country, the CHINA TIME exhibition at Deichtorhallen has gained more importance than anticipated when planing it. Titled “Secret Signs”, it describes the cultural, social and political power of Chinese character by 66 works. On display will not only be “landmark” works like “Today No Water” from the Red Humor Series of Wu Shanzhuan, but also touching and poetic works by Xu Bing made from the dust from the destroyed World Trade Center. Also shown will be works influenced by pop art, which satirise the Chinese language system.
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