Cinema China, a celebration of the past and present of Chinese film-making, will launch on March 9 in Edinburgh and unfold across 20 cities until March 18.

The line-up brings together over 20 significant films, from the three Chinas of the People's Republic, Hong Kong and Taiwan, going back to the Shanghai movies of the 30s to a current highlight, the premiere of Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles, directed by Zhang Yimou.

Zhang Yimou and Xie Fei will be the focus of the present day programme, with Xie Fei conducting a masterclass. There will also be previews of Curse Of The Golden Flower.

Other features of the festivities will be a masterclass with actress Maggie Cheung who starred in In The Mood For Love and Hero, and a screening of Chinese classic, Centre Stage, directed by Stanley Kwan and starring Ruan Lingyu, with a newly composed score played live by Hongkongese-Scottish Kimho Ip.

The festival is curated and funded by Scottish backers including Scottish Screen National Lottery, Scottish Executive, Film House and the University of Edinburgh. The University will be holding a series of lectures to compliment the festival.

A spokesperson from Scottish Screen, enthused,'China, for so long a hidden society, is now opening the door and allowing the rest of the world a glimpse of the rich heritage of arts it has produced over centuries. It will be fascinating to see the work that has been done there and how it compares with films produced in the West at the same time.'