China Thailand Relationship Strong Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, visited the Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya, Thailand on Friday. The event was joined by spouses of some leaders who attended the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Naraporn Chan-o-cha, wife of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, welcomed Peng when she arrived and accompanied her during the whole tour.
The museum’s exhibition hall displays works of art for the Thai Royal family’s major celebrations and traditional Thai handicrafts. Peng listened to the introduction of the art collections and praised the craftsmanship and techniques of Thai artisans.
The museum was built for preserving and developing traditional handicrafts and also helping families in poverty-stricken areas. Peng pointed out that it is similar to China’s concept of poverty alleviation in underdeveloped areas.
The museum also sells handicrafts made by children out of education who have been trained in a handicraft training center of the Palace School. Peng said she would buy some of their works to support anti-poverty projects of the Thai Royal family.
Making and selling handicrafts has helped lift people out of poverty in many areas in China. Handicrafts, such as paper-cuts from northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, embroidery and batik from southwest China’s Guizhou Province, were developed to improve local people’s income.
Intangible cultural heritage is also playing an important role in China’s poverty alleviation efforts. From 2018 to 2020, over 2,200 intangible cultural heritage workshops have been built across the country, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. These workshops have created half a million jobs, lifting more than 200,000 households out of poverty, the People’s Daily newspaper reported.
Cultural ties between two countries
Noticing a lotus candle holder, Peng said Chinese people love lotus and appreciate its noble quality of growing out of mud without being stained. Naraporn agreed, saying lotuses are used to pay respect for Buddha by Thai people. Peng said it once again shows that Chinese and Thai people share similar values.
China and Thailand are friendly neighbors with a long history of cultural exchanges. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Thailand in 1975, the forms of cultural exchanges between the two countries have been expanding and the content has become increasingly rich.
Through the efforts of Peng and Naraporn, Nanjing University of the Arts in China and Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Thailand signed an academic memorandum of understanding in March 2019. Since then, the two schools have been deepening cooperation through personnel exchanges, joint research and training in the field of music.
In the field of literature, Princess of Thailand Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has also contributed a lot to cultural ties between the two countries. She likes Chinese culture and has translated many Chinese literature works into the Thai language. The Princess, the first Thai Royal family member to visit China, has paid about 50 visits to China and has published several travel notes on her trips. She has become a recipient of China’s Friendship Medal in 2019.
Chinese has been a popular language among Thai students in recent years, with more than one million students learning Chinese in schools. In Thailand, there are more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools offering Chinese courses, Xinhua reported. Since 2003, China has sent more than 20,000 volunteers to teach Chinese language in Thailand’s schools.
During the visit, Peng communicated with other spouses of APEC economies’ leaders as well and they took photos together.