China has been in London for a long time, and it's not just been in the series of streets, shops and restaurants that constitute Chinatown. As well as a marvellous amount of fun things to see and do around Chinatown this weekend for Chinese New Year, it seems the whole of London wants to get involved.
The Victoria & Albert museum, National Film Theatre, City Hall and the Trocadero are all hosting events and exhibitions to celebrate Chinese culture in Ken Livingstone's second China in London festival. It was so successful last year, he's doing it again, and we're pleased because there's a great pile of stuff to enjoy over a longer period than just the Chinese New Year weekend.
There is a photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery: Cherish: Chinese Families in Britain at the National Portrait Gallery is a collection of photos that look at the contemporary Chinese community in Britain and is a rare insight into a sometimes quite closed part of British society.
For film, the National Film Theatre is hosting Shanghai Animation on Screen, nine days of diverse and delightful animation that ranges from hand-drawn traditional features to stop-motion and digital work. Other film events in the season will be held in Canary Wharf, the National Portrait Gallery and various libraries and community centres for the presentation of the fascinating oral history project.
And in case you can't wait until Sunday for the big events in Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, the Victoria & Albert museum are having a whole weekend of arts, crafts and performances to see in the Year of the Pig. The events here are probably a bit better for those with very small kids or elderly friends and family as everything is indoors and there's less walking around.
China in London, 15 February until March 2007. For the full China in London programme, go to the website here.