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China in Cohen's Eyes Put on Show in Latvia



The Festival for Documentary Films of China, sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Latvia, was opened at the Glorious Palace Cinema in Riga, Capital of Latvia, on November 26, 2018. The event attracted about 200 participants including dignitaries and councilors of Latvia, foreign envoys, and media representatives. At the opening ceremony, the guests enjoyed and highly praised the documentary "China in Cohen's Eyes" provided by Changchun Municipal People's Government. 

Sun Yinglei, Temporary Representative of the Embassy of China in Latvia, said: “The documentary reflects the tremendous development and changes that China has made since its reform and opening up. It is a window for the world to see China, thereby playing a positive role in helping more people around the people to get to know, know and understand China. This documentary film has received a warm response in Latvia and played a positive role in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Latvian people.” 

It has been agreed by audience representatives that the documentary film is characterized by long time span, different places for fieldwork research and rich exhibition contents, which fully reflects the development and changes of China, the world’s second largest economy, and the great improvement of people’s living standards. And as friends, the Latvian people through the documentary pair have obtained a clearer and deeper understanding about the development of China and thus reinforced confidence and determination to carry out cooperation and exchanges with China. 

In 1957, Robert Carl Cohen, a 27-year-old American journalist, became the first American film director to enter New China to make documentaries. He used a camera to record eight Chinese cities he had visited. Fifty-eight years later, Cohen, at the age of 85, returned to China to produce the documentary “China in Cohen’s Eyes” with the help of Changchun Radio and Television Station, which serves as a witness of the great changes of China for more than half a century. The film adopts the internationalized first-person narrative technique, records the real Chinese style, tells the Chinese story to the whole world, and shows the development and progress of China. Since July 2016 when it was officially unveiled, the documentary has attracted the attention of the public at home and abroad and won several national honorary awards. 


Changchun Foreign Affairs Office (CCFAO) has long been attaching importance to publicity as an important part of its work, with measures taken, and various ways and means used to publicize the achievements made at country and city levels in economic and social development. Latvia is located in the western part of the Eastern European Plain, bordering Russia and Belarus, and jointly known as the three Baltic States with Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia is a member of the European Union and the OECD, and also a country in the Euro Zone and a Schengen Visa Country. Latvia is also an important node of China's Silk Road Economic Belt, with its conspicuous geographical and regional advantages.  

In April 2018, at the news that the Embassy of China in Latvia launched the project publicizing the reform and opening up of China, CCFAO actively recommended the documentary. Thanks to the joint efforts by Changchun Radio and TV Station, Mr. Cohen, and all others involved, a high-definition film source with subtitles in both Chinese and English was provided to the embassy at the earliest possible time. 

China in Cohen’s Eyes, a documentary made to make the audience understand a real China and the great achievements China made in the past 40 years of reform and opening up, was successfully premiered in Riga, Latvia, on November 26 this year.  

Having Chinese stories well told is a proposition of the times, which has important historical value and practical significance. In Latvia, China in Cohen’s Eyes can be regarded as a successful example of spreading the voice of the new era of China, telling the story of China's new journey, enhancing the external dissemination of Chinese culture and communicating with the world.