Lantern Festival Launches CNIS

First Minister opens 2008 programme.

Strengthening our links with China in education, commerce, culture and science will help create the Celtic Lion economy we aspire to, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

The First Minister was speaking at the launch of China Now In Scotland (CNIS), the largest festival ever in Scotland to be devoted to China.

The First Minister was joined at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) by a number of dignitaries from both countries to open Spirit, the Chinese Spring Lantern Festival – the first of more than 100 events being co-ordinated by the Confucius Institute for Scotland as part of China Now in Scotland.

Mr Salmond said:

“Tonight`s event marks not just the end of the Chinese New Year but the start of a year long programme of events celebrating Scotland`s links with China”.

“My government places real value on our growing partnership with China. Building trade links internationally is vital to our future economic success, and China is clearly a key market for Scotland. We are fortunate to already have strong links with China. You only have to look at the number of Scottish businesses, universities, and school children working together and learning to see the mutual benefits of this partnership”.

“China Now In Scotland provides a real opportunity to celebrate our friendship and economic opportunities with China. The Botanics` Lantern Festival is a spectacular start to what I am in no doubt will be a year-long success of events, promoting this bond, across Scotland.”