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The Foresight of Mainland Culture Development and Cross-Strait Culture Exchanges

chinadaily 2013-10-30

(Taipei, China, September 6th, 2010)

Cai Wu

Minister of Culture, the People’s Republic of China

Chinese culture, endlessly stretching for five thousand years, is the solidest spiritual tie and the common heritage of Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. As the firm foundation of Chinese cohesion and the spiritual home of Huaxia offspring across the strait, Chinese culture is not only the precious contribution made by Chinese people, but also the shared fortune for the whole world. In recent years, we are increasingly recognizing the vital significance of promoting and inheriting the outstanding traditional culture for modernization and globalization. While making efforts to carry out economic development, we need to attach importance to cultural construction for its great development and prosperity.

At present, there is a scene of prosperity for cultural construction manifested as follows in the mainland: First, public culture service system and network covering urban and rural areas are initially formed.

We always believe that people are the subject of culture. We have the obligations to offer basic cultural products and services for the masses while safeguarding the fundamental cultural interests of every citizen. Over the past few years, we have kept increasing the investments in facilities of public culture service represented by the library system and museum system. The established system not only contains such iconic culture facilities as culture centers or performance arenas in large and medium-sized cities, but also has libraries and culture houses in counties, culture communities in towns and activity rooms in villages. Besides, public museums, libraries and culture centers are all free to citizens in cities and downtowns.

Second, cultural development is vigorously promoted

We realize that, in the market economy, profitable culture industries should be initiated in cultural development in order to make the market, instead of the non-profitable culture activities, work as the main basis in resources allocation. Many cultural industries, such as film and television production, publishing, advertising, animations and games, performance entertainment, cultural innovations and digital creativities, can mobilize the social capitals and the market mechanism to form an industry development style subjected by enterprises. The cultural administrative sector positively establishes five major platforms to foster cultural industries as the new economic growth directions, namely policy support, public technology and information service, funds investment and financing, cultural trade and exchanges, and talents training. Our goal is to make cultural industries develop as the strategic backbone of the national economy with non-profit and for-profit industries as both wings of culture construction. We need to unfold the wings, helping them to soar the highest.

Third, the achievements are remarkable in cultural relic conservation.

The ancestors of Chinese people have left us the most glorious fortunes, resources and relics of culture, so it’s the responsibility of this generation of Chinese to protect, inherit and promote them. After the vicissitudes of the past years, mainland Chinese increasingly realize the great significance of heritage conservation. We expand the protection scale and improve the conservation system so that the effects are prominent and the public protection sense is on the rise. Not only the Central Plain Culture and the Han Culture but also the fortunes of fifty-five minority cultures are effectively protected. In recent years, many protection measures have been carried out on the basis of traditional heritage conservation. The archaeological work in lots of major large-scale projects enjoys further progress, such as the Three Gorges Project, West-East Natural Gas Transmission, Qinghai-Tibet Railway and South-to-North Water Diversion Project. Protection of the Great Wall, the Silk Road, the Grand Canal, great sites, industrial relics and vernacular architecture are put forward on the agenda. Now there are 40 world cultural and natural heritage sites in mainland China with the total volume ranking the third worldwide.

Fourth, Intangible Cultural Heritages are protected and promoted.

Chinese culture is so pluralistic that we always have abundant folk-customs and traditional legacies, which are the precious spiritual products accumulated in the long-term practices and production by people of all nationalities. Once put forward by international communities, the concept of “Intangible Cultural Heritage” is rapidly recognized and reacted to by a large number of mainland citizens. In 2005, we initiated a census of Intangible Cultural Heritage. According to the statistics, there are nearly 560 thousand items of intangible cultural resources and over 260 thousand units of valuable objects and materials in China. Nowadays, a protection mechanism is coming into being, which is overseen by a protecting organization, safeguarded by fiscal investments, based on the non-heritage census and directory system, supported by the educational institution, carried out by the successors as well as underlain by the productive protection and biological protection as the basic method. Eight cultural ecological conservation zones have been established, such as the Minnan culture area (South Fujian), Huizhou region, Regong Art, Qiang ethnic minority and Meizhou Hakka culture. Twenty two items of intangible cultural heritage are recorded on the Human Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage released by UNESCO and 3 items are listed on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Urgent Need of Protection.

Fifth, literary creation is becoming prosperous.

With a rapidly developing economy and successively increasing consumption, the public’s demand for literary works vigorously spurs the progress of literary creation. At present, China annually produces more than three thousand novels, 400 movies, tens of thousands of TV sets and 300 thousand publications. We also have hundreds of TV channels and thousands of TV programs. Art performances now reach an unprecedentedly prosperous peak. Every year, the public can enjoy thousands of new stage arts and hundreds of large-scale dramas, music, fine art performances, all of which represent both the development trend of contemporary art and the incomparable glory of traditional art. The cultural life of the whole society is one of vigor and vitality. \

Sixth, the cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Straits have never been livelier.

The Fifth Cross-Straits Trade and Cultural Forum, held in Changsha in 2009, took culture and education as the theme for the first time, coming up with 29 “common suggestions” for their promotion, deepening the communications across the Straits and announcing various policies and measures to encourage educational exchanges, because all these actions had positive significance to persistently strengthen the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. Thanks to the joint efforts of the two sides, the exchanges and cooperation in literature, art, cultural relics, intangible cultural heritages and cultural industries have been promoted all around in recent years, whose areas are expanded, whose scale is extended, whose level is enhanced and whose influence is increased unprecedentedly wide. We have started direct dialogues between administrative departments across the Straits and have begun firsthand communication among the Palace Museums on both lands. A series of large-scaled cultural activities work as the major platform for exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland, such as the “Cross-Straits City Art Festival”, “Cross-Straits Folk Art Festival”, “Cross-Straits Cultural Industry Fair” and “At Spiritual Homeland——the First Cross-Straits Intangible Cultural Heritage Month”. The formally initiated “Cross-Straits Art Festival of Chinese Characters” continues the context of Chinese. China has held a few special exhibitions like “Golden Family——Inner Mongolia Museum Boutique Special Exhibition”, “Treasures near Heaven——Tibetan Art Special Exhibition” and “Heroes Again——Three Kingdoms Special Exhibition” in Taiwan, sharing the pearls of traditional culture with our Taiwan siblings. What’s more, for artists from both sides, their joint efforts represent the good momentum of cooperation in protecting traditional Chinese culture. For example, they have offered influential art works like the large-scale opera “Turandot” at the Beijing National Stadium directed by Zhang Yimou, a new Gezi Opera ( local opera in Taiwan) “ Love of Butterfly”, Yu Opera “Taipei Magistrate” and Kunqu Opera “the Jade Hairpin”. Gradually, the cooperative relations among art colleges, libraries, galleries, museums, cultural relics preservation organizations and culture research organizations are established across the Straits.

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