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China: developing a strong socialist culture

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to the development of culture and tourism. With great care for the field, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important expositions and instructions, bringing about historic achievements and transformations in culture and tourism. Over the past decade, keeping in mind the missions and tasks of holding high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uniting the people, cultivating the younger generation, boosting culture and presenting a good image, China has continuously developed tourism through culture and displayed cultural developments through tourism. China has promoted the prosperous development of cultural undertakings and cultural and tourism industries, leading to new landscapes in this regard. Culture has played a visible role in nurturing spirit and empowerment, and tourism has played a salient role in benefiting the people and driving economic growth. The influence of Chinese culture has continued to rise, which has laid a solid foundation for accelerating the development of a great socialist culture in China and creating new splendour for Chinese culture.

First, artistic creation has continued to flourish to meet people’s cultural needs, and at the same time provide them with a stronger source of inspiration. China has continued to improve the work mechanism with creation as the core task and performances as the key link, implemented projects to support national fine stage art creations and art production series for a new era, and actively built an artistic creation system for a new era. Major cultural and artistic performances and productions including “The Great Journey,” “Strive Forward, Sons and Daughters of the Chinese Nation” and “Our Four Decades” have conveyed the mainstream of the times and written a splendid chapter of the new era. China has enhanced support via the China National Arts Fund and given play to the driving role of various cultural and artistic awards, performances and exhibitions. China has organized and broadcast performances, integrating both online and offline channels. As a result, many outstanding works have continued to emerge and have gained wider popularity. The dance drama “The Eternal Wave,” the poetic dance “The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting,” the opera “Yimeng Mountain,” the drama “Gu Wenchang” and other cultural and artistic works have been widely praised, and we are constantly making strides toward the “artistic summit.”

Second, the modern public cultural service system has been steadily improved to promote spiritual enrichment for all. The Law on Guaranteeing Public Cultural Services’, Law on Public Libraries, Regulations on Museums, and National Standards for Guiding Basic Public Cultural Services were promulgated successively, effectively protecting the public’s basic cultural rights and interests. China has actively built a public cultural service network covering six levels from the state to villages and communities. By the end of 2021, China had 3,215 public libraries, 3,316 cultural centers, 40,200 cultural stations and 575,400 comprehensive cultural service centers at the village level. All public libraries, cultural centers and stations, art galleries and 91% of museums are free to visit. Projects benefiting the people, such as “Bringing Opera to the Countryside,” have been further conducted, and brand cultural activities like “Village Spring Festival Gala” have been widely carried out, making people’s cultural lives richer and more colourful. The construction of a smart library system and online, digital public culture has been accelerated, and new public cultural spaces are constantly emerging. People have access to cultural services online at their fingertips, which has made public cultural services more convenient and more targeted.

Third, industrial development has gained momentum, and innovation and creativity have been booming. The culture and tourism industry system has been gradually improved, with the system of standards constantly being refined and industrial scale consistently growing. In 2019, the added value of culture and related industries reached 4.44 trillion yuan, and that of tourism and related industries reached 4.5 trillion yuan, accounting for 4.5% and 4.56% of GDP, respectively. The digital culture industry has developed rapidly, and new business forms including online exhibitions, online broadcasting, internet live streaming and immersive experiences have emerged at a faster pace. Mass tourism and smart tourism have continued to develop. Self-drive tours, camping tours, ice and snow tours, health care tours and marine tours have been leading new trends in leisure and vacation. Cultural creativity, intangible cultural heritage workshops and rural tourism have continued boosting rural revitalization. Visits to historical sites with revolutionary legacies and tourism-related artistic performances have flourished, and culture and tourism have become more integrated. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the culture and tourism industries have been seriously impacted. China has made practical efforts to ease the difficulties of enterprises, who have also proactively sought to save themselves rather than “lying flat,” which has boosted the confidence of the culture and tourism industries and promoted their steady development.

Fourth, China has achieved remarkable results in protecting, inheriting and carrying forward our cultural heritage, and promoted the creative transformation and innovative development of fine traditional Chinese culture. China has gradually become clearer about the status quo of cultural heritage resources. By the end of 2021, China had 108 million pieces or sets of state-owned movable cultural relics, 767,000 immovable cultural relics, 5,058 cultural relic units under key national protection, and 6,183 museums on record. By the end of 2021, China had more than 100,000 representative items of intangible cultural heritage at all levels, including 1,557 at the national level. There were more than 90,000 representative inheritors at various levels, including 3,062 at the national level. China had 13,026 national rare ancient books and 203 ancient book units under key national protection. China had 56 world heritage sites, ranking second in the world; and had 42 items inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List and Register, ranking first in the world. China has fully rolled out projects exploring the origin of Chinese civilization, protecting cultural relics, as well as protecting and utilizing cultural relics with revolutionary legacies. China has carried out the major “Archaeology in China” project and implemented plans to protect ancient Chinese books and revitalize traditional Chinese crafts. A steady progress has been made in the construction of national cultural parks for the Great Wall, Grand Canal, Red Army’s Long March, Yellow River and Yangtze River. The recovery and return of cultural relics lost overseas has yielded fruitful results, with more than 1,800 pieces or sets of lost cultural relics returning to the motherland. Cultural heritage has been further brought to life, with enthusiasm for archaeology, museums, intangible cultural heritage and ancient books thriving. Chinese styles have become new fashion trends among young people.

Fifth, China has carried out in-depth exchanges and cooperation with other countries, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and the cultural and tourism fields have further opened to the outside world. An all-around, multi-level and wide-ranging international exchange and cooperation pattern in the cultural and tourism sector has been gradually established. China has hosted a series of major cultural events that coincided with the head-of-state diplomacy and several major diplomatic events such as the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. China has also sped up the efforts to build Chinese cultural centers overseas. China has set up overseas cultural and tourism agencies in 93 countries and signed inter-governmental cultural and tourism cooperation treaties with 157 countries. China has taken an active part in the development of international rules on this front. The system for international trade in culture has gradually improved, and core cultural products and services have been introduced to the outside world, with their export growing rapidly. The culture year and tourism year (festival), as well as some signature events such as “Happy Spring Festival” and “Beautiful China,” have great influence and have greatly contributed to the image of China as a trustworthy, lovable, and admirable country. We have also made great efforts to promote culture and tourism in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan and launched a series of cultural and artistic events with patriotic themes to increase cohesion and mutual understanding among the Chinese people.

China will follow the new development philosophy in the new development stage, serve and integrate into the new development paradigm, and promote the high-quality development of culture and tourism to further contribute to developing a strong socialist culture in China.

Li Bijian, "China: developing a strong socialist culture," Business recorder. 2022-10-09.
Keywords: Economics , Economic growth , Younger generation , Public cultural , Long march , Xi Jinping , China , Hong Kong , Macao , CPC , UNESCO

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