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Five northern places agree to have exchanges
By Cao Yin ( China Daily )

BEIJING - Representatives of five places in North China signed an agreement on Tuesday to form a cultural agreement that will bring together those who work in the book, film, drama and Internet industries.

The representatives, who came from Beijing and Tianjin, Hebei and Shanxi provinces, and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, also said they will try to encourage residents of those places to communicate about culture and promote opportunities for cultural enterprises, according to the agreement.

"The five places, especially Beijing and Tianjin, have a better economic base to support the development of culture," Cheng Qisheng, director of the Tianjin Committee of the Communist Party of China's publicity department, said at the signing ceremony.

"So it's the right time for the five authorities to reach an agreement today to set a good example for cooperation in cultural communication in the country."

Wu Lan, director of the Party's publicity department of Inner Mongolia, echoed Cheng's words. She said the agreement will be a means for members of the ethnic groups who live in the autonomous region's grasslands to broaden their cultural horizons and also as a way to enable them to spread their "grassland culture".

Besides the culture alliance, the five governments also plan to hold art festivals and promote tourism. And they hope to offer various types of cultural services to residents and enterprises.

"The authorities are like five fingers," said Lu Wei, deputy mayor of the capital. "As they become a fist, they will show their maximum energy."

Experts, though, expressed concern about the development of cultural industries in the five places and suggested ways to encourage them to cooperate more with each other.

"Cultures should serve residents instead of paying so much attention to big projects," said Yang Lihui, a council member of the China Folklore Society and a professor at Beijing Normal University.

"A community that can bring its residents together can make many sorts of cultural activities popular," she said. "And that's a stage for people to understand the culture."

She said cultural cooperation among communities is more important than big vague projects. The most important goal is to find a way to enable everyone to enjoy culture, Yang said.

Cao Hui, a resident of the Xibianmen community in Beijing, agreed, saying she hopes film and drama performances will take place in more communities in the future.

"If residents can watch more movies, that will help enrich their lives," she said, adding that communities can work together to establish book centers.

"Besides, we should also consider the best way to strike a balance between the development of the economy and culture," said Xiao Fang, another professor of Chinese folklore at Beijing Normal University.

Governments should not only pay attention to the potential economic benefits of their policies but also to the characteristics of various regions' cultures, he suggested.

"Capital and experiences can be shared, but some precious cultures can't be replaced," he said. "During the future cooperation, the government must avoid having a monolithic development model for culture."

China Daily

(China Daily 10/19/2011 page3)

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