Plans to take Qilu culture to overseas audiences
Artists from Shandong performed in Bangkok to show the traditional culture of the province. [Provided to China Daily]
With rich cultural resources, Shandong is committed to promoting its local Qilu culture internationally.
As the home of the Qi and Lu states during the Spring and Autumn (770-476 BC) and Warring States (475-221 BC) Periods, Shandong, one of the origins of Chinese civilization, was also called Qilu in ancient times.
"Being a significant part of the Chinese culture, Qilu culture should go abroad to let more people experience the beauty of it, as part of our soft power," said Xu Xianghong, head of the Shandong provincial department of culture.
"The contribution of a nation to the world should not only be material products, but also include spiritual products," Xu added.
With that in mind, the province is speeding up the implementation of its "Qilu culture going global" strategy. Over the past three years, it has sent 428 cultural groups on exchanges to give about 3,000 artistic performances across the world.
Local traditional music and dance performances by Shandong artists greatly impressed Southeast Asian audiences when they were shown during the Thailand-Shandong Culture Year that began in Bangkok in May.
As part of activities marking the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties, the event presents a series of shows including Shandong traditional music, local operas, folk arts, cultural dialogues, forums and seminars.
"Such cultural exchange activities will provide foreigners with the opportunity to understand both the traditional and contemporary aspects of the Qilu Culture, and promote exchanges among artists and scholars," Xu said.
Shandong's martial arts and acrobatics have won acclaim at performances worldwide and brought home many trophies. The Shandong Acrobatics Troupe has won Golden Clown awards - the world's highest prize for acrobatic performance - three times, and was invited to perform in the premiere ceremony of Disney's cartoon blockbuster Mulan.
As the hometown of Confucius, Shandong has fostered many world-renowned cultural brands related to the great sage, such as the Nishan Forum on World Civilizations and the World Confucian Conference.
The Nishan Forum was initiated by Xu Jialu, vice-chairman of the ninth and 10th National People's Congress, with the first held in 2010 in Nishan, Qufu city, where Confucius was born.
During last year's event, more than 130 scholars from China and abroad met in Nishan to look to ancient wisdom for innovative answers to the problems of modern society.
"The Nishan Forum has gradually gained importance and influence as an international platform for cultural exchanges," Xu said, adding that the forum was staged in Paris and New York in 2012, and will be held in Thailand in the second half of this year.
In addition, about 10 million yuan ($1.56 million) is allocated by the provincial government every year to help local cultural companies and products expand overseas. By the end of 2014, Shandong had 1,305 cultural companies who exported products and services to 153 countries and regions. The foreign trade value of the province's cultural products amounted to $287 million last year.