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Home > Embassy News > 2011
"Eric Liddell and Tianjin" Photo Exhibition Held in London

On November 1, the Tianjin Municipal People's Government held the opening ceremony for the "Eric Liddell and Tianjin" Photo Exhibition at the Pewterers Hall in London. Minister Qin Gang attended the ceremony and delivered a speech. Nearly a hundred people attended the opening ceremony, including Ms. Nicola Roache, Director of the Government Olympic Executive, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, FCO Director for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mr. Hua Tian, Chinese Olympic equestrian athlete, and the representatives from the Chinese and British governments, business, cultural and sports circles and media.

Minister Qin first extended warm congratulations on the "Eric Liddell and Tianjin" Photo Exhibition on behalf of the Chinese Embassy. He said that Eric Liddell, an envoy for the friendship between the Chinese and British peoples, created an ode to the China-UK friendship with his legendary life. Mr. Eric Liddell taught in China for nearly 20 years. He sympathized with and supported the fight of the Chinese people against the Japanese fascists. Even when detained at the Japanese internment camp, he never gave up his love of life, pursuit of freedom and desire for brightness and encouraged his fellow prisoners with his optimism and perseverance until the last moment of his life. For his sincere help in hardship, Mr. Liddell is still remembered by many Chinese people today.

Minister Qin said that Eric Liddell is also a pioneer in the China-UK cooperation in the Olympics who first brought the idea of the Olympic Games to China. In particular, Mr. Liddell was the head coach of the Chinese delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, the first Olympic Games attended by China. In 2008, the Chinese people realized their dream by successfully hosting the Beijing Olympic Games. Next year, London will host the next Olympic Games. As the two countries hold the Olympic Games in succession, they have carried out close exchanges and cooperation in this respect. In such a context, the photo exhibition on Eric Liddell is of special significance. Minister Qin looked forward to an equally wonderful and unforgettable London Olympic Games.

Minister Qin said that over the past century, Tianjin has undergone dramatic changes. Today's Tianjin is full of charm as a vibrant and open city with advanced economy and a blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Minister Qin thanked the Tianjin Municipal People's Government for hosting the exhibition and called for a joint effort to carry forward the lasting friendship between the Chinese and British people, for the promotion of the Olympic spirit and for a peaceful and better world.

Mr. Gong Jiansheng, Director General of the Information Office of Tianjin Municipal People's Government, recalled in his speech the life of Eric Liddell and his association with Tianjin. Mr. Gong also briefed the guests on the contents of the exhibition and Tianjin's economic and social development in recent years. He hoped that the exhibition would help the guests to learn more about Eric Liddell and his ties with Tianjin and to appreciate the charming beauty of this open coastal city in China.

Ms. Roache said in her speech that she had been to Tianjin and was deeply touched by the story of Eric Liddell and Tianjin. The Olympic Games successively hosted by China and the UK have brought new opportunities to the cooperation in sports and Olympic Games between the two countries. The leaders of the two countries have mentioned the importance of human and cultural exchanges on a number of occasions, and sports cooperation is an important part of human and cultural exchanges. Ms. Roache expected to further deepen the exchanges and cooperation in the related fields between the two countries and wished the Chinese athletes new successes in the London Olympic Games.

Mr. Hua Tian said in his speech that he was honoured to attend and address the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition as an athlete. He was deeply impressed by the story of Eric Liddell and felt the responsibility to make continuous contributions to the China-UK friendship.

After the Chinese and British guests opened the exhibition together, the visitors toured the exhibition with great interest. They said that the exhibition vividly reproduced the life of Eric Liddell and the moving story between him and China and Tianjin, displayed the past and present of Tianjin, helped the British people to know more about China and Tianjin and enhanced the friendship between the two peoples.

* * *

Eric Liddell is a British Olympic champion born in Tianjin, China. He broke the Olympic and world records for 400 metres race at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Later Mr. Liddell gave up a comfortable life and returned to China. He taught in a secondary school in Tianjin for nearly 20 years and was deeply loved by the students. Mr. Liddell was imprisoned by the Japanese army during the war against the Japanese aggression and died from illness in Weihsien Internment Camp.

The four-day photo exhibition attracted a large number of British visitors from all walks of life.

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