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  China’s Photographic Exchanges with the Outside World  

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese photographic undertakings have made great progress along with the rapid development in the socialist economic and culture construction. Photographic exchanges with foreign countries gradually unfolded. Since reform and opening up in the late 1970s, they advanced in unprecedented scales and entered a brand-new stage, with admirable achievements. China has done a lot in arranging photographer exchange visits, holding photographic exhibitions and participating in other international activities. Statistics show that the Chinese photographic circle has come into contact with photography groups, organizations and individuals in 80 countries and regions, sent nearly 1,000 people to visit 40 countries and regions, and received nearly 2,000 foreign photography groups and photographers, totaling 600 cases, from 30 countries. It joined foreign counterparts to sponsor about 500 photography exhibitions on all sorts of themes. China organized seven international photography exhibitions. Works of Chinese photographers have won nearly 1,000 awards and honors in international photography competitions.

These international contacts have become important windows for the Chinese photographic circle to understand the status and trends of the world photography sector, and important channels to learn and borrow advanced foreign technologies. They have served as important fronts to promote the achievements in the Chinese socialist construction and photography, and important bridges of friendship and cooperation among photographers of all countries. They have played a significant role in facilitating the development of international photographic undertakings and the prosperity of the Chinese photographic undertakings.

I. Establishment and development (1949 -- 1965)

Following the establishment of New China in 1949, the country launched cultural exchanges with foreign countries. The Chinese photographic circle truly recorded the process of China’s exchanges with foreign countries with their cameras from keen visual angles. Meanwhile, the photographic circle initiated its own international contacts. In 1956, the Photographic Society of China (PSC) was set up to bring international exchanges of photography into well organized channels. In the course of exchanges with foreign countries during the period, the Chinese photographic circle, in line with international environments and domestic political situations, adhered to the principle of independence to promote the achievements of Chinese socialist revolution and construction, enhance unity with socialist countries and people and photographers of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the meantime, it lost no time in setting up relationship with photographic bodies and photographers in the capitalist world that were friendly to China, so as to enhance mutual understanding and promote friendship and cooperation. The exchange projects were largely done with the Soviet Union, and socialist countries in east Europe and Asia. The exchanges comprised personnel visits, participating in international photographic exchanges, and holding photographic exhibitions in each other’s country.

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