Ambassador of Switzerland to China Jürg Burri and CEO of Poly Culture Group Guo Wenpeng delivered speeches. President of Switzerland’s Blinde Kuh Foundation Christina Fasser and Vice Chairman of China Association of the Blind He Chuan held a dialogue discussing social inclusion in both countries. Two Chinese blind ping pong players were also invited to demonstrate their ping pong skills and interact with attendees. More than 50 media representatives attended the event, followed by enlightening experiences where visitors were guided by blind guides in absolute darkness.
The "Sensory Parcours in the Dark" was inspired by the world's first dark restaurant, Blinde Kuh (or Blind Cow) in Zurich, Switzerland, where sighted patrons dine in total darkness and experience what it's like to be blind. The Swiss embassy invited the creative Blinde Kuh team from Switzerland – including two professional blind guides – to Beijing to lead an adventurous sensory journey open to the Chinese public.
During the event week, visitors will have the opportunity to step into the world of the visually impaired and have a temporary "blind" experience. Guided by a blind guide from Switzerland, participants can expect to taste common ingredients, try everyday activities such as writing or playing a game, and enter into dialogue with the other guests and blind guides. Guests will also be able to try their hand at blind ping pong, taste Swiss wine (certain sessions) and listen to the sounds from the faraway Swiss Alps, provided by the Swiss Alpines Museum.
The "Blinde Kuh – Sensory Parcours in the Dark" is part of the Swiss Embassy’s 2023 campaign "Diversity + Me". Cultural and societal diversity is one of Switzerland’s greatest strengths. Switzerland is known for its linguistic, cultural and political diversity, and in more recent years, has invested in other areas such as gender equality, disability, age, LGBTQI and social mobility, etc.
By shining a spotlight on disability, this project seeks to showcase Swiss social diversity, including approaches to addressing the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities, as well as enhance public awareness on these topics. In his speech at the press conference, Ambassador Burri said, "This year, the Embassy of Switzerland in China is not only shining a spotlight on diversity, but also demonstrating how people of all backgrounds, colors, genders, ages and abilities contribute to the strength of Switzerland. Blinde Kuh is a perfect example. For over two decades, their professional blind guides have been raising awareness on blindness in the Swiss public. Plus, as a business, they provide employment, including to people with disabilities. I am thrilled we bring them to China, where I hope they will also inspire and empower people to celebrate diversity."
The week-long ‘Blinde Kuh – Sensory Parcours in the Dark’ was made possible through the generous support of Poly Culture Group, Swiss Alpine Museum, Diderot Cultural Lab, blind ping pong athletes from Beijing and Band 8772. It will be open to the Chinese public between 11:00 – 17:30 from July 30th to August 6th (closed on August 1st) at the Beijing Time Museum, a public museum under the management of Poly Culture Group.
Together with Poly Culture, the Swiss Embassy will continue to share stories of socially disadvantaged groups and inclusion in both Switzerland and China to increase public awareness of the topic.