The prime minister's wife is helping to bring Anne of Green Gables to China.

Laureen Harper promoted the book during the prime minister's official visit to China earlier this month.

She handed out copies of the first official Mandarin translation of L. M. Montgomery's classic novel.

Harper also wrote a foreword for the new edition of the book.

"As a girl, I got a gift of a book — Anne of Green Gables. And I loved the book," said Harper, who was on P.E.I. Tuesday, announcing an upcoming event for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ride for Heart.

Her visit to the Island this week also included a stop in North Rustico's Montgomery Theatre; a sign of her interest in all things to do with Anne of Green Gables — a book that continues to attract readers worldwide more than a century after it was first published.

Ride for Heart


Laureen Harper says she has loved Anne of Green Gables since she was a girl. (CBC)

Ride for Heart, a non-competitive mass cycling event, will be held June 3 in the Charlottetown area. There will be three routes for the PEI race.

Islanders are invited to ride their bikes to raise money for research. It's a great opportunity to get in shape and raise money at the same time, said Harper.

Last year, 13,000 riders took part in the event in Toronto raising $3.9 million. The event in June will be the first Ride For Heart held outside Ontario.

"The more people that read it, they love it and hopefully they want to come to Prince Edward Island and experience everything and then it’s a win-win for everybody," said Harper.

Tourism backs effort

The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island is a sponsor of the newly published book and is backing efforts to promote it in China.

Executive director Don Cudmore said the association hopes to make Anne of Green Gables as popular in China as it has been in Japan for decades and Harper's endorsement is a huge boost.

"It's great," said Cudmore. "And now that she's here and Anne is first and foremost of some of the things she's talking about, you couldn't ask for a better promotion."

The federal government has also contributed more than $27,000 toward the publication of the book through ACOA.

Tourism officials are betting more Chinese tourists will come to Canada in years ahead.

Upcoming promotions will include a contest for Chinese fans of Anne. The first prize will be a trip to P.E.I.