The 3rd Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo opens in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu province, on Sept 28, 2018. (Chinaculture.org)
The third Silk Road International Cultural Expo was inaugurated this Thursday in the time-honored city of Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu province. In response to the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, this year's expo aims to showcase the charm of the ancient Silk Road, promote people-to-people exchange and build a more beautiful and harmonious world.
It is hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Gansu provincial government, the National Radio and Television Administration and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Luo Shugang, Chinese culture and tourism minister, and Du Jiang, member of the Party group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, attended the opening ceremony along with other distinguished members.
More than 1,300 guests from political, academic and business circles at home and abroad arrived for the event and the subsequent summit.
In the keynote speech, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan underlined the unique role of Dunhuang and the expo in Chinese history. She said Dunhuang used to be the junction of Chinese civilization with Central Asia and Europe. As the only comprehensive exposition themed on BRI cultural exchanges, the Dunhuang expo has seen multiple achievements in relic conservation and international communication, as well as cultural tourism.
Sun also pointed out the value of inclusiveness and cooperation. "Since President Xi put forward the Belt and Road Initiative five years ago, China has made concrete progress showing a vision can be transformed into reality."
Harboring deep respect for cultural diversity and equality, she said China will work with other countries to build the BRI as the most inclusive cooperation platform in the world. And the Dunhuang cultural expo offers a great opportunity for people-to-people contact and mutual understanding.
Lin Duo, party secretary of Gansu province, said the expo emerged as the BRI continues its rise. Having become a signature event for the BRI, the expo will continue to connect hearts among many different walks of life.
Lelenskyi Viktor, deputy chairman of the Committee on Culture and Spirituality of Verkhovna Rada in Ukraine, spoke about the similarity between the Chinese and Ukrainian people. As this year's guest of honor, Ukraine brings to China unique art and performance, allowing more Chinese to learn about Ukrainian culture.
"Openness to intercultural dialogues, new ideas and cooperation is the core of the Silk Road concept," he said. "I'm convinced the Silk Road was and remains not only a platform for the exchange of goods and technologies, it also makes people more merciful and educated, and the world a much better place."
Assistant director-general of culture at UNESCO Ernesto Renato, fascinated by the Mogao Caves, commented on it as one of the most impressive things he has seen in his life. He said the creative economy, such as the cultural tourism industry, can be a powerful engine for regional economic growth, and a key factor in boosting individual creativity and gender equality.
"With rich cultural heritage, communities along the Silk Road are well-placed to tap into the enormous potential of the creative economy. UNESCO looks forward to supporting China in its efforts to develop sustainable creative economy."
The expo highlights innovation and exchange. The 32 ongoing exhibitions consist of nearly 7,000 cultural relics, artworks, art installations and cultural creative products. High-level forums have invited top experts in tourism, history, paleontology and relic restoration.