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The Czech National Theater Ballet perform Sinfonie

A visit to the Beijing residence of Ambassador of the Czech Republic to China Libor Secka is much like being inside a miniature museum of Chinese contemporary art.

From the elegant parlor to the luxurious, crystal-chandeliered dining room, the walls are lined with the works of established Chinese artists such as Huang Rui to new talents Wei Qingji and Zhao Xiaojia.

"To be a diplomat one has to be well rounded: legal issues, history, art. But it's important to involve yourself in things close to your heart, as they are a good way to connect with people. And for me, that connection is art," Secka told the Global Times.

Now six months in China, the newly appointed ambassador is expecting more Czech paintings deliv-ered to his home in Beijing.

"I want to make the embassy a place of dialogue between Chinese and Czech culture," said Secka, smiling.

Pavillion plans

However, the ambassador placed more emphasis on his country's participation in the upcoming Shanghai Expo, saying that the Czech Republic is hoping to project a new cultural image among visitors from around the globe.

"We would like to show our culture in a broader sense, from modern painting to different types of music, from classical ballet to modern dance, as well as the latest trends in Czech literature," Secka added.

According to the ambassador, one of the main draws to the Czech Pavilion in the Expo will be its Monkey King exhibition. Visitors will be presented with the famed illustrations inspired by the Chinese legend by Czech painter Zdenek Sklenar produced in 1959.

Scheduled from May and October, the show will be complemented by dazzling animation and interactive exhibits.

Another highlight of the country's Expo program, 200 Czech artists will take the stage to perform a program of musicals, plays and dance in celebration of Czech National Day (May 17), the finale an appearance by the Czech National Theater Ballet.

Visitors of the Expo will also be treated with the very best of Czech modern art, including graffiti and street art. The displays of Czech history and architecture provide a unique juxtaposition to the minimalistic design of the Czech Pavilion.

The ambassador added that the Czech Republic is also looking to expand its presence in China through cultural events as well as economic and scientific cooperation beyond the Shanghai Expo. "I think China is such a powerful player in the global economic system. What happens in China has an impact on the whole world," Secka said, "We are currently promoting Czech- Chinese trade, to bring more Czech enterprises here and connect them with Chinese partners."

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