A special Chinese martial arts show was staged in the Lyceum Theater in downtown London Monday, giving the British a virtual tour of Beijing.
The show, organized by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, aimed to promote tourism in Beijing among Britons, said Zou Weinan, an official with the commission.
Starring 10 Chinese martial arts champions, the show featured two pandas who want to learn kung-fu in Beijing. During their tour of Beijing, the two pandas meet some local residents and enjoy some famous scenic spots.
"This show was launched as a gift for the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Britain," Zou said.
He said that a large number of British tourists travel to China. In 2011 alone, Beijing received 5.2 million overseas travelers, among whom 187,000 were from Britain, up 12 percent from the previous year.
"From this show, we want the British people to know that apart from the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, Beijing has hutongs (lanes) as well, so that they have lots of things to explore," he said.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, said "Beijing is best known for its political role as the capital, but it also has rich cultural heritage and tourism resources."
Liu hoped that tourism could serve as a bridge between China and other countries and help foreigners learn more about China.
"From the performance, I learned more about Chinese kung-fu and pandas," said Khan Arculus, a 10-year-old member of the audience.
Gavin Allen brought his two daughters to watch the performance. "I had thought that Chinese culture was serious, but now I know it has a lot of fun as well," he said.