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New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries
24 May 2017

 

The opening ceremony of the seminar on New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries

 

May 20th, the seminar on New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries kicked off at Tang West Market, where the ancient Silk Road started in Tang and Sui Dynasty. Experts and scholars focused on new issues and challenges in the new context of internationalized cultural exchanges, and offered their insights on the new modes for cultural exchanges among the Belt and Road countries. The seminar was co-sponsored by Xi’an Municipal Government, CCOIC, CCPIT Shaanxi Chapter, Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, and Chinese Culture Promotion Society, and hosted by Da Tang Xi Shi Group.

 

New and full-range cultural exchanges

 

The recent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing sent a strong signal to the world: the Belt and Road Initiative will replace cultural barriers with cultural exchanges, conflicts with mutual learning, ascendancy with co-existence, so that mutual understanding, respect and trust can be achieved among nations. And the seminar in Xi’an is the footnote and extension of the idea.

 

Mr. Zhang Wei, Vice-Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) addressed the seminar.

 

“Cultural connectivity and exchanges are a crucial part of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is more important and sustainable than trade.” Mr. Zhang Wei, Vice-Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) stated, “In the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, cultural connectivity provides a solid social foundation and cultural foundation for the political and economic cooperation.”

 

Mr. Feng Jicai, Counsellor of the State Department, Standing Member of the CPPCC, and Chair of CFLAS, gave a keynote speech.

 

“The Belt and Road Initiative needs the soft support of cultural exchanges as well as the hard support of trade cooperation. It is indispensable because it fosters mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect.” As Mr. Feng Jicai, a Standing Member of the CPPCC and the Chair of Chinese fold Literature and Art Association, saw it, cultural exchange is the essence to the Silk Road Spirit, the civil root for connectivity, the core driving force of the Belt and Road Initiative. Only with deepened cultural exchange can inclusiveness and sustainable development be achieved. And in this context, a community with shared destiny will be formed in mutual understanding and friendship.

 

Reactivate the cultural resources

 

“The Belt and Road Initiative sprouts from the historic soil of the Silk Road and embraces the Asian, European and African continents, open to all friends. The Silk Road Spirits call for cooperation in all areas, including science, education, culture, health care, and people-to-people communication. The cultural resources are to be reactivated as public and social foundation of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

 

Mr. Guan Qiang, Deputy Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, addressed the seminar.

 

“We need to jointly develop tourism and protect the heritage related to the Silk Road, and make the best of the cultural and historical heritage.” Mr. Guan Qiang, Deputy Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, pointed out, “government need to join hands with the public sector in protecting cultural heritage. In this process, the government takes the leading role, and the public sector helps it in promoting new modes for cultural exchanges in the Belt and Road Initiative.”

 

Li Dongyu, Deputy Chair of Shaanxi Provincial CPPCC, addressed the Opening Ceremony

 

“The seminar is of great importance in exploring new modes for cultural exchanges, and the resources in Xi’an and Shaanxi.” Li Dongyu, Deputy Chair of Shaanxi Provincial CPPCC, said, “Shaanxi Province will live up to its role as an example Free Trade Zone. We will build a comprehensive mechanism for international cultural exchange and communication based on a better international cultural trade. In this mechanism, the government leads the way, businesses are the key player, and the public sector facilitates the cooperation. The triangle will reactivate the Silk Road culture and regional economy.”

 

Chi Fulin, economist, Member of the CPPCC, head of China Institute for Reform and Development, gave a keynote speech.

 

Chi Fulin, economist, Member of the CPPCC, head of China Institute for Reform and Development, pointed out, we need to pinpoint the essence, extension, role, and objects of the Belt and Road Initiative in the economic globalization. We need to promote the network of diversified Free Trade Zones, and push for a faster global free trade featuring the Belt and Road mechanism. China needs to actively promote an open transform based on Belt and Road Initiative and facilitating trade, in order to adapt to the new landscape of economic globalization. Chi Fulin suggested Xi’an might apply to be the first Special Cultural and Historic Zone, as it is home to abundant historic and cultural resources.

 

Wang Shi, Chair of Chinese Culture Promotion Society, addressed the seminar.

 

Wang Shi, Honorary Chair of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, Chair of Chinese Culture Promotion Society, said, cultural exchanges along the Silk Road start with understanding, acknowledgment, and inclusiveness, even appreciation. And the key task is peaceful co-existence with different cultures, to “appreciate the culture/values of others as do to one’s own, and the world will become a harmonious whole”.

 

New platform for communication and mutual learning

 

Qiang Xiaoan, Deputy Mayor of Xi’an gave a keynote speech.

 

“For four years since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative, we have seen improved full-range mechanisms in both cultural exchange and cooperation between China and the Silk Road countries. In cultural exchange projects like culture years, tourism years, art festivals, video presentations, seminars, and think tank dialogs, peoples gained closer understanding in communication.” Qiang Xiaoan, Deputy Mayor of Xi’an, hopes the seminar will provide a new way to promote cultural exchange and cooperation between Xi’an, Shaanxi and the Silk Road countries, for them to be more integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

Zhang Zhigang, former Deputy Minister of Commerce, former Deputy Director of Economy Committee of the CPPCC, gave a keynote speech.

 

“We need a new mechanism for cultural exchanges between governments, communities, and businesses. We need a wider coverage of cultural exchanges in science, health care, culture, education, sports, tourism, and exhibit. We need the national chambers of commerce along the Silk Road, as they are the windows for businesses to conduct cultural exchange.” Zhang Zhigang, former Deputy Minister of Commerce, former Deputy Director of Economy Committee of the CPPCC said.

 

Lu Jianzhong, Board Chairman of Da Tang Xi Shi Group, Chairman of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce addressed the seminar.

 

“Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce has expanded its membership to 71 since its establishment two years ago. It has founded seven committees in trade, finance, culture, transportation, energy, information and industrial parks. Lu Jianzhong, Board Chairman of Da Tang Xi Shi Group, Chairman of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce stated that the next step for the SRCIC would be the improvement and fine-tune of their seven platforms, i.e. eSilkRoad, Silk Road International Development Fund, Silk Road Trade Expo Park, Silk Road Think Tank Association, Silk Road International Commodities Exchange, Silk Road International Artworks Exchange, and Silk Road International Museum Alliance. It looks forward to closer relationships with national chambers of commerce. As they work together, the public sector will be mobilized in promoting the new modes for cultural exchange in Belt and Road Initiative. The SRCIC, he said, will make bigger contribution to the inclusive development.

 

Keynote speeches by scholars and representatives of culture industry.

 

Scholars and representatives of culture industry explored the theoretical frameworks of the new modes for cultural exchange in the Belt and Road Initiative. They focused on four topics, which are: better culture industry, better cultural understanding, better cultural exchange; to promote culture industry with Internet Plus for a better international cultural trade; a new Silk Road cultural tourism, a flagship of the international tourism. Their keynote speeches and dialogs covered both theory and implementation and aimed for a mechanism for conversations between cultures on both micro and macro levels. The seminar concluded that cultural exchange among the Silk Road countries would promote the development of culture industry and boost cultural trade. It would help Chinese cultural businesses to go out and take a new peak in the Belt and Road Initiative. Shaanxi and Xi’an would be the cultural hub in building the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

Source: Guangming Daily, People.com.cn