Nepean MP Chandra Arya (left) talks with China's ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, on Oct. 1 at the Algonquin Commons Theatre. Photo credit: Mingan Wang

A special performance took place on Oct. 1 at the Algonquin Commons Theatre celebrating the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as the 53rd anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations.

China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, told the audience in his opening remarks that the two countries need to “seek common ground.”

The two nations’ relations are strained due to political disputes. However, the event showcased a break in the clouds.

“China will stay committed to upholding the policy of peace,” said Cong. “We do hope the Canadian side will work with the Chinese side, towards the same direction, (to) improve bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”

Nepean MP Chandra Arya echoed Cong’s comments.

“We have to look forward to how to improve the diplomatic relations between Canada and China, which is slightly under stress today,” said Arya.

“Ambassador Cong is a wonderful representative of the People’s Republic of China,” said Yuen Pau Woo, Canadian senator from British Colombia. “He’s sincere in his efforts to try and build stronger relations. He is willing to listen to anyone that speaks sincerely to him about the challenges in the Canada-China relations.”

Woo added, “We in Canada have to reciprocate by finding solutions on our side, so that both sides can find a way to resume high-level discussions and dialogues, deeper trade and investment.”

Kevin Wu, a member of the audience who traveled from Kanata for the performance, said he hopes Canada and China could work together to mend their relations.

“I don’t see a reason why Canada and China can’t get along,” said Wu. “I think the two countries should let differences aside and co-operate where they can. After all, no one benefits from conflicts and confrontations.”

Hosted by the Canada-China Culture and Art Association, the event featured 15 programs, ranging from traditional Chinese opera to ethnic dancing performances.

Jenny Shen, the lead of the dancing team Style-out, which performed the opening dance, said she was “beyond satisfied” with her team’s performance.

“I do think we could’ve done more in terms of marketing,” said Shen. “We were expecting more audience, but overall I’d say we put up a fantastic show tonight.”

Woo felt the same way.

“The event is wonderful. I’m so impressed by the performance,” said Woo. “While they’re amateurs, the performances were so professional.”

Ruolong Tang, the director of Ottawa-Beijing Association who provided support for the event, said he was glad to see all the guests attending the event.

“The event was a big success, and I’m delighted to see the MP Chandra Arya, Senator Yuen Pau Woo and Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu joining us tonight.” said Tang.

“There are some difficulties in the current Canada-China relations, but I believe they will all be overcome given some time,” Tang added.