“Chevaux de Przewalski, retour en terre sauvage”

On the occasion of the successful collaboration between China and Belgium to reintroduce Przewalski horses, the last real wild horse breed on Earth, into their natural habitat in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Gansu Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the premiere of the documentary “Chevaux de Przewalski, retour en terre sauvage”, produced by the RTBF with the collaboration of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Domain of the Caves of Han, was held at the China Cultural Center. A unique photo exhibition about Xinjiang was exposed at the same time. The event was held in the presence of prominent guests, namely H.E. QU Xing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr. Paolo Fontani, Director of the UNESCO liaison office in Brussels, Mrs. Brigitte Malou, Director of the Domain of the Caves of Han and Mr. Tanguy Dumortier.

To inaugurate this special event, an opening ceremony was held and orchestrated by the prestigious guests the Center was honored to welcome. H.E. QU Xing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Belgium, took the floor to express his gratitude and joy at the realization of such documentaries, which bring knowledge and awareness to the world while showing the beauty that makes countries unique. He started by pronouncing the name “Han” the way Chinese people pronounce the name of the famous Han civilization, comparing the Belgian Domain of the Caves of Han to the great Chinese civilization. The Ambassador went on by emphasizing the great relationship between Belgium and China: “Belgium’s help to reintroduce the Przewalski horses into their natural habitat represents a great business card towards China. A great friendship was already created between the two nations through the successful adoption of two Chinese pandas in Belgium. Knowing that the Przewalski horses are even more precious than pandas in China, Belgium’s help means a lot to the Chinese nation”, he explained. Ambassador QU Xing concluded his speech by thanking every partner who took part in the realization of this project once again and by expressing his wish for “further successful collaborations between the two countries”.

The Ambassador was followed by Mr. François Tron, Director of the RTBF, who started his speech with a word of thanks: “The long-term relationship we share with the Chinese Embassy is more than cordial, and can better be described as a real friendship. The Embassy not only makes promises, but also keeps them. Indeed, it is thanks to their help that we could realize such a complete and unique documentary. The RTBF is working on further collaborations and exchanges with Chinese institutions and hopes to achieve new successes in the future.”

Mr. Tanguy Dumortier, presenter of the oldest European TV program “Le Jardin Extraordinaire”, was proud to present his work in front of the assembly and highlighted the need of such friendships as the one between Belgium and China to preserve nature and its wildlife. “Indeed, the common interest of our countries to save the Przewalski horses has brought us even closer than before”, he stated.

Mrs. Brigitte Malou, Director of the Domain of the Caves of Han, was delighted to share her enthusiasm about the collaboration between her domain and Xinjiang. “Links were created between countries and people during this project, regardless of the linguistic and cultural obstacles. We are very proud to have contributed to the reintroduction of the Przewalski horses in their natural habitat”, she concluded.

After the opening ceremony, the guests were invited to attend the premiere of the documentary about these special horses. Indeed, even though the Przewalski horses were only discovered in 1879 by a Polish Colonel, who gave his name to the horse species, they have existed for much longer; the wild animals were for example depicted in the wall paintings of the caves of Lascaux. Sadly, the species has been endangered since 1960 because of men’s lust to tame the untamable. With only ten horses left in Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia at that time, important initiatives were taken in order to prevent the complete extinction of the Przewalski horses. China and Belgium have decided to cooperate and have since established a reproduction plan together with other European countries, such as the Czech Republic.

One year after the first transfer of a Przewalski horse from Han-sur-Lesse to China, the RTBF team was delighted to present their latest documentary about the special horse species and the actions that are taken to preserve these animals. The director and presenter of the documentary, Mr. Patrick Destiné and Mr. Tanguy Dumortier, along with their team, followed the work of several people contributing to the smooth operation of the preservation of the unique horse breed, in Belgium, Czech Republic and China. Today, this fruitful cooperation has already enabled the breeding of a hundred horses, and the parties are aiming to reach a total of 2000 animals.

“Le Jardin Extraordinaire” is one of the best programs organized by the RTBF. It started 53 years ago and has since produced documentaries about endangered animal species and unique landscapes around the world.

After attending the premiere of this beautiful and hope giving documentary, the 150 guests were invited to enjoy Chinese specialties at the buffet. With a glass in their hands, the visitors wandered around the Center to discover the exhibition displaying 45 pictures of Xinjiang life and culture, Przewalski’s horses and exclusive shots taken during the realization of the documentary. “Such exhibitions are precious. They help the people appreciate the beauty of unique animals and encourage the protection of these species”, concluded a guest.


The Przewalski horses documentary will be broadcast on Sunday April 22nd 2018 on RTBF and can be viewed online through the RTBF Audio link https://www.rtbf.be/auvio/detail_le-jardin-extraordinaire?lid=128020.