Cultural exchange efforts intensify amid Belt and Road outreach
The home of Confucius and Mencius, Shandong province expects to use the Belt and Road Initiative as a platform to promote its cultural heritage on the international stage, according to local officials.
"The Belt and Road Initiative is not only a platform for business connections, but also a facilitator for cultural exchange," said Wang Tingqi, deputy chief of the Shandong Culture Bureau.
He said the province is the birthplace of Confucianism, holding a unique place in China's cultural development for more than 2,000 years.
A singing and dancing troupe from Shandong performs in Thailand in 2015.
In the context of modernization and globalization, Wang said Shandong is willing to share its culture with the world and in return absorb cultures from around the globe for mutual development and prosperity.
"The Belt and Road regions feature diversified cultures among various people with different religions and customs. We should have fruitful exchanges by respecting these cultural differences," Wang said.
In April, the provincial culture bureau released implementation measures to guide the local cultural sector to serve the Belt and Road Initiative.
The measures will include the arrangement of international cultural exchange events such as exhibitions, forums, conferences and cultural festivals, both in Shandong and overseas.
Heavyweight events in this field will be the annual International Confucius Cultural Festival, World Confucian Conference and Nishan Forum. Nishan in Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, the greatest thinker in Chinese history.
A range of Confucianism-related activities will be regularly staged throughout the year, including exhibitions of Confucian culture, lectures on Confucian thoughts and rituals to worship the ancient sage.
The province has also organized a series of cultural events overseas.
According to Wen Shanchang, an official in charge of foreign affairs at the Shandong Culture Bureau, the province had held more than 600 performances and more than 400 exhibitions in foreign countries during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).
In 2016, the province cooperated with overseas China Cultural Centers to stage cultural events abroad.
These include a Shandong embroidery show in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Year of Shandong Culture in Singapore.
In addition, Shandong has built 25 Nishan libraries in countries such as Malta, Russia, Poland, Australia, Thailand and the United States to promote Shandong's culture.
Wen said Shandong will cooperate with the Chinese Ministry of Culture to build a China Cultural Center in Belgrade, Serbia, this year.
"This will be the first China Cultural Center built and operated by a provincial government," Wen said, adding that Shandong's culture will be a highlight at the center.
"Shandong is among the most active provinces in China in terms of international cultural exchanges, showing its power and charm as one of the cradles of Chinese civilization," Wen said.
(China Daily 05/15/2017 page27)