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Speech at the Cultural Ministers’ Joint Meeting of the Asia Culture Cooperation Forum

chinadaily 2013-10-30

Fourth, enrich public cultural resources. We have launched the National Cultural Resources Information Sharing Project, which uses modern science and technology to digitize and integrate the best cultural information resources of China and spread them nationwide through an extensive network of outlets, including Internet, satellite, radio and TV networks. Since the initiation of this project in 2002, a total of 750,000 service outlets of different levels have been established, providing altogether 74.7 TB (1TB=250,000 digital books or 926 hours of video programs) of digital content to the public. There is also a project named Sending Books to the Countryside, which is jointly initiated by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of book shortages at the grassroots level, whereby much demanded books will be purchased by the earmarked funding of the central budget and sent to 592 national key poverty-ridden counties and townships. The Farmers’ Library Project was launched by the State Administration of Press and Publications to benefit the farming population. A total of 93,000 libraries have already been built in rural areas. And the Travelling Stage Truck Project and Rural Film Screening Project have provided nearly 1000 travelling stage trucks for local troupes and cultural institutions from 2007 to 2010, greatly enhancing the service capacity of these local institutions. The Rural Film Screening Project, initiated by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, in the meantime, provides 3 million film screenings on average to farmers every year. Fifth, community culture is greatly enriched and thriving. In both urban and rural areas, public cultural entertainments such as choruses and dance parties are increasingly vibrant due to the constant progress of society. Public squares, communities, enterprises, campuses and army camps have become meeting points of dynamic cultural events. At the same time, cultural authorities of all levels have made full use of the rich resources of intangible cultural heritage of all localities to launch exemplary cultural programs, giving new impetus and richness to public community cultures. The idea that “The mainstay of cultural construction is the people” is fully implemented.

Sixth, focusing on special target groups for cultural service, supporting ethnic minority cultures. China’s social demographics have changed profoundly in the last few years, making it ever more imperative to focus on such target groups as the seniors, minors, the physically challenged and migrant workers. Cultural departments of different levels have taken this into account and designed a variety of cultural programs. In 1999, the Ministry of Culture initiated “Eternal Glory”, an annually held choral festival for elderly people. In 2005, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Finance and six other departments jointly carried out the “Chinese Children’s Songs Creation and Promotion Plan”, which has gradually established a long-term mechanism encouraging the creation and wide-spread dissemination of children’s songs, and started to take an active part in creating a social environment favorable to the healthy development of minors. The cultural rights and interests of the physically challenged have also been given much attention, and creative activities as well as physical activities of these people have started to flourish.

Bearing in mind the current situation of ethnic minorities and their development needs, the Ministry of Culture has formulated the “Policy of Four Priorities”, namely, construction of cultural infrastructures, training of cultural and artistic talents, cultural exchanges with foreign countries and protection of cultural relics. We have also taken many concrete and practical measures to cater for the different needs of different regions, prioritizing on ethnic cultural affairs, giving major support to key projects and counting on partner assistance models. All these efforts have strengthened our support for the cultural infrastructure construction of ethnic minorities and forcefully promoted their cultural development.

On the whole, China’s public cultural undertakings have witnessed notable achievements in the last few years. However, in view of the rapid development of social economy, the growing and diversified cultural demands of the people and the opportunities and challenges posed by globalization and modern science and technology, China’s cultural development still has a long way to go and there are a lot of challenges ahead. We still need to overcome a lot of difficulties, tackle many problems, and deal with new situations through efforts and innovation. Culture is the soul of a nation. The Chinese people are great lovers of culture and life. The year 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and in 2009 we have embraced the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In the last 60 years, the Chinese people have never stopped striving forward both in the creation of material wealth and the inheritance and renewal of cultural traditions. China is now committed to becoming a modernized country of prosperity both in economy and culture, a country that will make greater contributions to the peace and development of the whole world. The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the cultural exchange and cooperation with all other Asian countries, firmly believing that the world should keep its cultural diversity and calling for strengthened cultural exchange and mutual learning between China and all other Asian countries based on the principles of mutual respect and absolute equality, so that we could strive for common prosperity together. We sincerely hope to join our hands with other Asian countries towards our common goal, that is, to benefit all Asian peoples with rich cultures, to ensure the consistent inheritance, innovation and development of all the best of Asian cultures, to safeguard the peace and stability of Asia through the unique charm of culture, to promote the overall development and progress of Asia, to carve out a bright tomorrow for Asian civilizations and embrace a most splendid future for all human civilizations.

(Hong Kong, China, 8 October 2009)

(Translated by Luna Fang)

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