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China's International Cultural Exchange Booms


       The brisk cultural exchange between China and other countries is becoming an important link of friendly cooperation between the Chinese and the people throughout the world.

       Up to now, China has signed governmental agreements on cultural cooperation with 143 countries and concluded 682 contracts on cultural exchange for this year. The Chinese Ministry of Culture ratifies about 2,000 foreign cultural exchange programs each year, involving 60-70 countries and 30,000 people.

       The opening China, looking at the world with a broader vision, presents the world a new outlook with each passing day along with its development. More and more foreigners have not only developed great interest in the ancient and mysterious Chinese culture, but also in modern China that is advancing with giant strides. They are making direct and indirect contacts with Chinese history and culture through various ways and different channels. Between 1997 and 2001, the Ministry of Culture alone sent out and hosted 250 governmental cultural and cultural official delegations, accounting for 35 percent of the total number of 690 over the past 20-odd years since reform and opening-up. Contracts on 116 cultural exchange programs were concluded, making up 24 percent of the total number of 450 signed over the past two decades and more.
       Large-scale multilateral international cultural exchange activities have developed vigorously and are exerting increasingly great influences. These activities have extensively spread China's splendid culture, introduced to China other countries' outstanding cultural achievements, boomed China's cultural market, and injected vitality into the country's international cultural exchange. In recent years, the world cultural exchange history has recorded a large number exchange activities and performances between China and other countries, including the performance of the China Traditional Instruments Orchestra at the Golden Hall in Vienna during the Spring Festival of 1998, which marked the entry of China's traditional music, for the first time, into the shrine of world music; the performance of the opera Princess Torandot staged jointly by artists from China and the Florence Opera House of Italy; a series of China year, China season and China week hosted by major Western countries, such as the United States, Germany and France; international festivals such as the Shanghai International Art Festival, Beijing International Music Festival and Wuqiao Acrobatic Art Festival; the art exhibition of China's 5,000-year civilization held in the United States, and the Huston International Art Festival with China as the theme country; the visiting performances of global first-rate art troupes in China, such as the National Philharmonic Orchestra of the United States, the British Royal Ballet, the Kirov Philharmonic Orchestra and Ballet Troupe from Russia, and the Denmark Royal Ballet; the large photo exhibition to celebrate Hong Kong's return to the motherland, and film and television festivals and weeks held in 250 cities of 160 countries and regions worldwide; and the photo exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the broadcast of the documentary The Course of the People's Republic in 197 countries throughout the world.

       International cultural exchange has broadened the vision of Chinese artists and provided them with a large stage to go to the world. Apart from Chinese acrobats who have frequently captured gold medals at international competitions, Chinese artists in other fields also have seized first place in major international competitions on many occasions in recent years. After Chinese ballet performers won the gold medal at the Moscow International Ballet Contest in 1997, ballerinas of the Central Ballet Troupe came first in the women's group at the Varna International Ballet Contest, known as the ballet Olympics for its requirement for difficult feat, longest history and highest authority. Chinese pianist Li Yundi captured the gold medal at the 14th Chopin International Piano Competion, creating strong repercussions at the international musical circle. All this not only shows the progress in China's artistic level, but also marks that China has made breakthroughs and improvement in the quality of its international cultural exchange.

       China's international cultural exchange activities, both governmental and non-governmental, have sown the seeds of friendship and cooperation between the peoples of various countries, and promoted the development of a plural, equal and mutually respecting international relationship and the mutual understanding of humanity.

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