Chinese singer Li Yuchun joined by members of the organization Young Pioneers of China at the opening ceremony of the 11th Beijing International Film Festival, 20 September 2021. Photo courtesy of BJIFF
The event was co-organized by the People’s Government of Beijing. The opening ceremony took place on 21 September. The honorary guests at the opening ceremony were the Minister of Culture and Sports of Greece, Lina Mendoni, and the Ukrainian First Lady, Olena Zelenska. Both delivered their addresses via video link.
Their speeches were recorded on the previous day at the Beijing Yanqi Lake International Convention & Exhibition Center to be presented on following day, according to the website China.org.cn.
“I believe that the film and television industry will open a new chapter in China-Ukraine cooperation…The BJIFF will not only be a perfect example of in-depth exchanges between filmmakers and other sectors of the two countries, but also an important platform for cultural cooperation between China and Ukraine,” Olena Zelenska said,
Olena Zelenska is the wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which makes her the First Lady of Ukraine. During her husband’s TV career, Olena worked as a screenwriter with Zelenskyy’s Kvartal 95 Studio, which produced a number of TV shows and movies, including the infamous series “Servant of the People,” which became one of the centerpieces in Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign and later passed its name to Zelenskyy’s party, formed shortly after his victory at the elections.
In Ukraine, the local Communist Party of Ukraine has been legally prohibited from participating in elections under the Decommunization Laws since April 2015. Moreover, its symbols are banned in the country alongside the Nazi ones under the same legislation.
Human rights organizations and major Western countries have been consistently criticizing China for the systematic repression of ethnic minorities in the country and for harsh crackdowns on human rights activists and dissidents. Moreover, the US imposed sanctions and visa restrictions against the Chinese government and key members of the Chinese Communist Party in 2020 in response to allegations of genocide against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang and human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Tibet.
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