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The Cooperation and Progress of Culture Industry

chinadaily 2013-10-30

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

(Sanya, China, 27 March 2010)

Cai Wu

Minister of Culture, the People’s Republic of China

March is the season when spring returns and life renews. As an old Chinese saying goes “Well begun in spring is half done in a year”. At this picturesque place of Sanya in this season of hope, please first allow me, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture of the PRC, to bid my most earnest welcome to all the members of the delegations coming all the way here! And I’d also like to express my sincere thanks to the Secretariat of the SCO and the Cultural Expert Working Group for their arrangements and preparations for this conference. I believe this conference will bear all of us fruitful results with common ground reached, friendship cemented, and prospects for the future brightened.

It has been nine years since the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 2001 with the purposes of sustaining regional security and stability and promoting common prosperity for the member states. Though the SCO is rather young compared to other international organizations, growing healthily and stably, it has proven to be a crucial constructive power in Eurasian geopolitics.

Being first held in April, 2002 in Beijing, the meeting of the Culture Ministers of SCO member states is an important mechanism in the organization’s framework of multilateral cultural cooperation. Since 2005, the meeting was established to be hosted alternately by one of the member states each year. Thanks to the unrelenting endeavors of my colleagues present here, the meetings, over the years, have played an important role in pushing forward the bilateral and multilateral cultural cooperation between SCO member states, observer states and promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between people from member states.

It is our great pleasure indeed that China, after eight years, will host the conference once again. Despite the warm sunshine and refreshing breeze in beautiful Sanya, we, as the culture ministers of different countries, cannot totally throw ourselves into the merry spirits, instead, we are pondering on the questions about how to improve our respective national cultural undertakings and further boost the cultural cooperation in the framework of the SCO. Upon unanimous agreement, the theme of the meeting was decided to be the SCO Cooperation on the Culture Industry. We hope this meeting will usher in a bright prospect for the SCO cultural communication and cooperation.

Now, I’d like to shed some light on the following aspects on our part.

Ⅰ .The necessity of promoting the cooperation of culture industry

As we all know, the overwhelming financial crisis has struck a heavy blow to the development of the global economy as a whole, bringing adverse impact on nearly every stratum of social life not only the economic sector. As for the culture industry in such situation, it is blessed with a silver lining of rare opportunities around the cloud of severe challenges because of its “counter-cyclical” regulatory features: at a time when material consumption is on the wane, cultural products may become popular in the market and when economic growth slows down, culture industry may turn out to be a new momentum.

Compared to other industries, especially the traditional ones, the culture industry does have its unique characteristics and advantages:

1. Culture industry features low resource consumption and little environmental pollution. Relying on its fountain of creativity and its core of content, the culture industry can maintain its output and profits as long as the fountain doesn’t dry up. Limited resources we have, but limitless creativity we possess. Nowadays, owing to its eco-friendliness and energy-efficiency, the culture industry, to some extent, leads the transformation in the economic development pattern and guides the human society to develop in an environment-friendly and resource-saving mode.

2. Culture industry features an enormous market demand and development potential. Developing culture industry is an important approach to meet people’s pluralistic, diversified spiritual and cultural demands at different levels in the market economy. As an American scholar, Mitchell Wolf pointed out “It is the entertainment industry, rather than the industry of automobile manufacture, steel, financial services, that is springing out to be a new driving wheel for global economic growth.”

3. Culture industry is highly compatible with new-techs and adaptable to innovations. In terms of its content, the culture industry particularly values innovation and creativity and in terms of its form and carrier, the culture industry will adjust itself to and search for changes of its own accord in the face of new technologies and new consumption habits. A series of new commercial activities, such as online games, online audio and visual services, mobile phone services, web publishing, digital programs, and 3D animation, provides the culture and arts with new forms of presentation and channels of communication, which makes the dissemination of cultural products more convenient, the content of culture more fascinating and exhibits the vitality and innovation-adaptability of the culture industry.

4. Culture industry has a low threshold and can absorb an abundant labor force. With a wide range of sectors, a relatively long industrial chain, low threshold and flexible employment, the culture industry is not only suitable for those big and modernized enterprises owning the newest and most advanced equipment but also accommodative for small and individualized market entity making profits through personal creation and traditional expertise. As the result of its excellent capability of absorbing labor of various kinds, the culture industry can strongly raise the employment rate.

5 Culture industry has high economic returns and a long benefit period. Once being recognized and sought after by the consumers, cultural products will be rewarded with relatively high returns. For example, the American film Titanic collected 1.8-billion-dollar revenues in the global box office with a 200-million-dollar investment. Besides, cultural products of good quality will not be overtaken by events, instead, they will appreciate with the lapse of time. Classic songs will never pall upon us and delicately-wrought works of art will preserve their freshness for us, just like the British musical Cats——it has been performed on the stage for more than two decades with gross revenues exceeding 2 billion dollars worldwide.

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