September 3 2011
The 2011 Chinese Writers Festival "would encourage a greater appreciation of Chinese literature and celebrate its particular ties to Melbourne" said Ken Smith, Speaker of the State Parliament's Legislative Assembly, as he took part in opening the Festival in Melbourne on September 3. Mr Smith was representing the Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu at the event.
The Chinese Consul-General in Victorian, Mr. Wei Qiang Shi, joined with Mr Smith for the launch.
Hosts for the occasion were Ms May Hu, Secretary of the Chinese Writers' Festival and Mr Chap Bow Chow, the English Secretary of the Festival. They welcomed Mr Smith and Mr Wei and the delegation of distinguished writers visiting Melbourne for the Festival. The writers were led by Mr Hongbo Gao, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Writers Association, based in Beijing. Among the prominent writers were Zhang Wei, Mo Yan, Zhao Mei, Hu Ping, Li Er, Sheng Ke Yi, Xu Biao Bin, Zaxidawau（Tibetan）, Shang Zhen and Zhuang Wei Jie.
The hosts extended their welcome to Mr Hong Lim MP, and Chinese community leaders Mr Wah Yeo, Chairman of the Chinese Arts Festival, Dr Jiang Tian Lin, former VMC commissioner, and Ms. Marian Lau, newly appointed VMC commissioner. They welcomed all overseas, interstate and local writers and friends.
In his address, Ken Smith commented that "there's no better place to celebrate this festival than in Melbourne, a city renowned for its strong arts and and festival culture." The Chinese Writers' Festival coincided this year with the Melbourne Writers' Festival.
The Legislative Assembly Speaker applauded the coalition of Chinese writers' associations in Melbourne who had worked hard to organise this year's Festival. "You have devised a great program of talks and presentations", he said. He thanked the Consul-General "for the role he had played, not only within the Chinese community, but also in supporting multiculturalism in Victoria."
In his address, Mr Smith noted that Victoria is Australia's most culturally diverse State. It's five million people come from over 200 countries, speak more than 200 languages and dialects and follow more than 120 faiths. He acknowledged the contribution of Chinese people to Victorian life, dating back to the 1850s.
To this day Chinese participation continues "across all fields of social, cultural and corporate endeavours...the Chinese community plays an important part in creating the vibrant, multicultural society of which we are so proud."
Over 100 people took part in the opening which was followed by seminars where writers discussed their work with participants at the Festival.
The Melbourne Chinese Writers' Festival was organised by three local organisations - the Australian Chinese Writers' Association, the Melbourne Writers' Association and the Chinese Poets and Authors Society of Victoria. The Melbourne Chinese Writers' Festival has been held annually since 2008.
Richard Wong, CPBA Newsletter Features Editor, was invited by the Chinese Writers' Festival to attend the launch.