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Speech at the Sixth Meeting of Culture Ministers of SCO Member States

chinadaily 2013-10-30

(Kazan, Russia, April 27th 2009)

Cai Wu

Minister of Culture, the People’s Republic of China

This is the sixth meeting of the culture ministers organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Being one of the most important mechanisms of multilateral cultural cooperation in the framework of the SCO, the meeting provides a communication platform on a regular basis for us working in the Ministry of Culture of each member state, as colleague as and as friends, to reflect on the past, to map out our future, to discuss and decide shoulder to shoulder the critical issues in cultural cooperation. Our meeting embodies the “Shanghai Spirit” of “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversified civilizations and common development”.

On the agenda of this meeting, I’d like to mention the following points:

Ⅰ. Set the agenda of the meeting China approved the agenda of this meeting.

Ⅱ About major cultural events within the SCO framework since the last meeting

We considered the programs specified in the Plan of Multilateral Cultural Cooperation of the SCO Member States have generally been realized and completed rather well.

1. The 4th Art Festival of SCO member states held during the summit in Dushanbe last August was a huge success. The heads of states and delegations highly praised the amazing performances staged at the Festival by the artists from six member states. The success should be ascribed to the personnel of each state’s culture ministry for all the efforts they made. I’d also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation, in particular, to the Ministry of Culture and Information of the host country, Tajikistan, and the Ministry of Culture of all the other member states.

2. Last August, Beijing witnessed the successful holding of the Olympic Games of which the major cultural activities were in charge of the Ministry of Culture of the PRC. As a token of great concern for the multilateral cultural cooperation in the frame work of the SCO, on July 18 and 19, at Beijing’s National Grand Theatre, a special concert, An Evening of SCO Culture was staged. Well-known singers and musicians from SCO member states were a feast for the eyes of the audience in China and for the rest of the world which saw wonderful performances featuring each country’s artistic achievements and ethnic cultural characteristics. In fully embodying the spirit of “Culture-enriched Olympics”, the An Evening of SCO Culture was a great success and was one of the highlights among all the cultural events dedicated to the celebration of the Beijing Olympic Games. 3. Mutual understanding is the foundation for cooperation and friendship, so in order to enhance the friendly relationship and mutual understanding among the cultural departments of SCO member states, China carried out the program of SCO member states’ Cultural Officials Visiting China as earlier planned. Officials in the Ministry of Culture from each member state were, as a delegation, invited to visit China, share their valuable experience and discuss the direction of cooperation in the future. In visiting lots of cultural organizations, stadiums and other cultural facilities in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou, we deepened our friendship and mutual understanding. Thus, China proposed such activities of cultural exchange be held on a regular basis so as to promote mutual understanding, communication and cooperation among all the member states on a larger scale.

In every agreement reached at the SCO summit of the Council of Heads of State, there is an invariable content——to strengthen the practical cooperation among the member states and solidify the foundation of the organization. We feel rather delighted to witness the success achieved in the aforementioned cultural events which exhibited the concerted efforts of the ministry of culture of member states in the practical cooperation.

Ⅲ. Major cultural exchange activities in the SCO framework for this year and next year

1 In the middle of this year, the opening ceremony of the Art Festival of SCO member states will be held in Yekaterinburg, Russia as the celebration of the summit. China will send an art troupe to the festival.

2 China will invite SCO member states to the Nanning International Folk Songs Festival held in

Guangxi in Sept. 2009 and the China International Piano Competition in Xiamen in Oct. 2010. Both of them are mature and influential art festivals. The host cities, Nanning and Xiamen, located in south China, are famous for their unique scenery and folk customs. I hope that the member states would send the best artists to participate in these events.

Ⅳ. Discuss and sign the charter of the 5th Art Festival of SCO member states

Owing to the active cooperation and efforts of the host country as well as the participating countries, each art festival was a great success, wining the appreciation from the heads of the states attending the summit and the rest of the audience. The 5th Art Festival is hosted by Russia. China agreed to sign the charter of the festival and will, together with other member states, give its support to Russia in the organization of the event according to the charter. We believe the art festival of this year will undoubtedly be a complete success. Ⅴ. Regarding the time and the place for the next meeting of Culture Ministers

The host country of the culture ministers’ meeting is decided on the basis of willingness instead of the alphabetic order of each member state. The first meeting was held in China in April, 2002; then from 2005 up to now, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia took turns in hosting the meeting. The time and the place of next meeting will be decided by the specific conditions and each country’s willingness.

Ⅵ. Regarding the signing of this year’s conference minutes, announcements, the Action Plan on implementation of the agreement among the governments of SCO member states on cooperation in the field of culture for 2009-2011, the Work Plan for the Expert Working Group in cultural cooperation for 2008-2009 We highly praise the work done by the SCO Expert Working Group in cultural cooperation. After studying, we agree to sign the above-mentioned documents.

Ⅶ. At last, I’d like to put forward several suggestions on SCO cultural cooperation in the future: 1 Explore more possible fields for SCO cultural cooperation and further the cooperation in the industry of film, television, broadcast, publishing and sports. 2 Involve the SCO observer states in the cultural cooperation in the framework of the organization to extend SCO’s influence and effect. We may invite the observer states to our regular art festivals and to the meetings of culture ministers.

3. Vigorously support and promote unscheduled cultural exchanges and communications between non-governmental organizations. Hosted by the Academy of Traditional Chinese Painting in West Lake, Hangzhou, a SCO forum about the art of painting named Paintings of West Lake was a huge success which encouraged the friendship and artistic communications between the artists from SCO member states. We think there is still much work we can do in similar fields. We firmly believe that this meeting will act as a stepping stone in further pushing the cultural communication and cooperation in the SCO framework. Let’s join our hands to make new contributions to launching more cultural communications and cooperation between us and to deepening the mutual understanding and friendship between our people.

(Translated by Yao Xin)

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