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Michael D walks on the Wilde side after visit to Great Wall

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State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins.
President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins. President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the Peoples Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins.
President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the Peoples Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins. President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the Peoples Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins.
President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the Peoples Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins. President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins.
President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins. President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

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State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by the President of Ireland and Sabina Higgins. President and Sabina Higgins are pictured at The Great Wall

AS PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins continued his State visit to China he let his hosts in on a little secret - Oscar Wilde can be credited with the country's independence.

Speaking at the launch an Irish art exhibition in Beijing, he informed the crowd that Wilde's essay, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, had influenced those who overthrew the emperor in 1912.

Which just goes to show, look hard enough and you can find an Irish connection to almost every world event.

The President extolled the virtues of Irish artists going back as far as the Book of Kells and the Tara Brooch as he helped launch the Weathering exhibition showcasing contemporary Irish crafts.

"Ireland shares with China a strong sense of societal connection with our ancient traditions of craft and design," Mr Higgins said.

Elsewhere in Beijing, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and his IDA entourage met with China's Financial Regulator.

Relationships

The purpose of the meeting, according to an IDA official, was "fostering relationships".

Due to the one-party system in China, the financial regulator is often the final arbiter on whether a domestic company will be allowed to invest abroad.

Mr Noonan's job this week, is to convince them that it's safe to come to Ireland and spend their money.

Last night, the IDA, along with Mr Noonan and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, hosted a dinner for 16 companies that they hope will soon make the plunge.

"We are meeting with some of the top people in a lot of big companies and we wouldn't have that opportunity without President Higgins' state visit," said one IDA official.

In a packed schedule yesterday, Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the Great Wall of China and they were guests of honour at a concert by Irish artists, including Sharon Shannon and the poet Paula Meehan, at a concert hall within the Forbidden City.

Tomorrow Mr Higgins is scheduled to attend a business breakfast with IDA Ireland clients, attend a science and technology event and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in the afternoon.

hnews@herald.ie


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