Respected Chairman Majia, Deputy Director Chen Hua, Your Excellencies, poets, ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings to everyone!
Today, we hold the Du Fu Thatched Cottage International Poetry Day of the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor in the former residence of Poet Saint Du Fu, and I am honored for we are able to invite distinguished world-class poets like Chairman Jidi Majia, Mr. Jack Hirschman. Here, I represent the Luzhou Municipal People's Government, one of the sponsors of the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor, in expressing the most passionate welcome to our guests here, as well as the most sincere gratitude for the prolific support from China Writers Association, Poetry Periodical, Publicity Department of CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee, Federation of Literary and Art Circles of Sichuan Province and Writers’ Association of Sichuan Province. Also, gratitude shall likewise be extended to Luzhou Laojiao Co., Ltd., Zhongshi Huakai Media Group and Chengdu Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum for the tremendous efforts they have contributed to this event.
Luzhou is located in western China, in the southeast of Sichuan Basin, at the junction between the provinces and municipality of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Chongqing, at an overlap of the Silk Road Economic Belt and Yangtze River Economic Belt, and at the confluence of the Yangtze River, Tuo River and Chishui River.
In terms of natural and industrial environments, Luzhou is a city of liquor. It is not an overstatement to say that Luzhou is heaven's gift to humankind, as the climate here features warm winters, early springs, hot summers, rainy autumns, heavy precipitation, humid atmosphere and distinct seasons, all of which combine into an environment where microorganisms beneficial to baijiu distillation thrive. Thus, this is one of the earliest cities in China to begin making liquor, as in the saying "city that flourished because of liquor, liquor that is named after the city". For thousands of years, the city of liquor has nurtured many hallmarks such as Luzhou Laojiao, the "pioneer of strong fragrance," and Langjiu, "the benchmark of sauce fragrance". Of which, Luzhou Laojiao is China's most historic famous liquor and one of the most beloved brands of the Chinese people. Luzhou Laojiao is produced at the latitude of 28 degrees north, where the climate is warm and humid, and it is a region confirmed by experts with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations as the world's most suitable place for distilling pure grain liquor. The distillation pools where Luzhou Laojiao baijiu is made were first built in the year 1573 and they have been in continuous use for 444 years, famed as the only "living culture" of China alongside Dujiangyan. The Luzhou Laojiao distillation technique was first invented in 1324 and has been passed on as an oral tradition for over 690 years and for 23 generations, making it a truly precious intangible cultural heritage of China. The selection of raw materials in the creation of Luzhou Laojiao is stringent and demanding, using only sweet and crystal-clear spring water and the special waxy red organic sorghum from southern Sichuan, enabling Luzhou Laojiao to become China's only strong fragrance baijiu granted organic certification. The most amazing thing is, Luzhou Laojiao possesses a natural cave cellar that extends for seven kilometers, and for its absolutely massive scale it has been referred to as "reservoir of liquid gold".
In terms of historical and cultural environments, Luzhou is a city of poetry. Accessible nautical transportation has endowed Luzhou with unrivaled trade resources, and almost every renowned men of letters in the past have passed through Luzhou, including masters and gurus like Su Shi, Huang Tingjian and Zhang Chuanshan, remembering the wonderful city with age-honored rhymes like "scent of fine liquor drifts from southern Sichuan, so fragrant the moon is allured and the flowers are intoxicated" and "Luzhou liquor is fit for the glass of the emperor," among a score of others. For more than 2,000 years, the reputation of Luzhou as a city of remarkable liquor has spread across the globe through cultural exchanges. Today, when one stroll along the streets of Luzhou, it is common to see poems and rhymes inspired by liquor, and reciting while drinking is still one of the most popular activities for literati of the city.
In recent years, the Chinese government has been propagating confidence in culture, and the belief in inheriting and promoting outstanding Chinese cultural traditions has taken root deep inside the heart of everyone. As such, the prosperity and development in cultural and artistic creativity have reached new heights. The city of Luzhou, having basked in the glory of liquor and poetry culture for a thousand years, will no doubt make the most out of this historic opportunity and propel civilization establishment in the city to unprecedented apogee. Looking ahead to the future, Luzhou is striving to forge its emblem as a "famous city of poetry and liquor," so that the liquor of Luzhou can travel better and further abroad alongside the culture of China. Under this backdrop, the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor was born as a necessity of historical development and as a fruit of cultural cultivation. Earlier this month, the Southern Sichuan Cultural and Arts Fair of the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor came to a successful conclusion in Luzhou, and now, an even larger number of poets from even more countries and of even great distinction will come to Luzhou. This is a pride of the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor, and a pride of Luzhou. The beautiful liquor city - Luzhou, a most beautiful city in China, will definitely give the guests and poets the unforgettable experience and memory of the following three aspects:
First of all, the fragrance of the Luzhou liquor will certainly intoxicate and bedazzle everyone. Luzhou possesses rich baijiu culture, the ancient Guobao Jiaochi of Luzhou Laojiao and the fabled natural liquor cellar silently exhibit the profundity of history and the mysteries of nature, while the modernized production, management and sales models of Luzhou's liquor industry, especially the creation of the Luzhou Free Trade Zone, demonstrate the contemporary prowess and vitality of our Chinese city of liquor.
Secondly, the unique cultural ambiance will renew your knowledge of Luzhou. The city is not only the cradle to baijiu, but also red culture, Yangtze culture and folk culture. As everyone here today are poets, writers and artists, I believe that this trip to Luzhou will be one filled with fabulous inspirations and fantastic memories.
Thirdly, the charms of the city will surely leave a lasting memory. Luzhou is acclaimed as a city of liquor, and it is also an Outstanding Tourism City of China, National Sanitation City, National Forest City, National Garden City, National Strong Quality Model City, National Credible City Establishment Model City and many others. Our city has river, mountain, liquor and harbor, and in the process of civilization establishment, Luzhou's soft capacity is improving gradually. We welcome everyone in using the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor as an opportunity to better understand Luzhou. You all are the distinguished guests of Luzhou, and the friends of the people of Luzhou.
Finally, we thank you again for accepting the invitation to the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor in this gorgeous autumn, and we earnestly welcome each and everyone of you to visit Luzhou, the home to poetry and liquor. I firmly believe that with the care and support of everybody here, the International Festival of Poetry and Liquor will achieve even greater triumphs. At the same time, we wish everyone an enjoyable time with the liquor and poetry during the span of this event.