Regional/ Shenzhen Special

Shenzhen set to mirror its economic performance with cultural refinement

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-29 11:19

Shenzhen, a Chinese vanguard in reform and opening-up, has pledged to use its soft power to turn itself into a model for urban civilization, culture and city image by the end of 2025.

The city, located in South China's Pearl River Delta, is an economic miracle that has soared to become the country's third-strongest city in GDP over the past four decades.

It has worked and poured funds into improving cultural infrastructure, activities, industries and public education to raise its overall performance in culture to parallel its economy.

According to Wang Qiang, director of Shenzhen's publicity department, the city will issue an official outline to achieve the goal by 2025, in which 10 projects will be addressed.

These include popularizing the thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, establishing a civilized model city, developing literature and art of the new era, reforming the cultural system, and promoting the convergence of new and traditional media.

Building a leading internet city, raising the quality and efficiency of the city's public services for culture, flourishing the cultural industry, improving the international communications performance and attracting cultural talents are also among the 10 priority projects.

By the end of 2025, the urban civilization level, public services for culture and the quality of the cultural industry will be enhanced with a group of iconic cultural facilities, Wang said.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen's image as a globalized, modern and innovative city will be enhanced and can exert a wider influence on the global community, he said.

Ten years from then, the city will have more outstanding cultural characteristics that feature openness, diversity and inclusiveness. Its fashion and innovation industries will play an increasingly important role in the world, Wang noted.

It is expected to become an urban model for China by the end of 2035, which could mirror the country's soft power in culture and represent the country when participating in global cultural exchanges and dialogues, he added.

Jiang Nan, a middle school music teacher, said the artistic atmosphere has been stronger since she started working in the city in 2000.

She has witnessed the construction and operation of a group of new concert halls and theaters with topnotch design in the city. For example, the Shenzhen Concert Hall, which was opened in September 2007, was appraised by conductor Zubin Mehta as "the best concert hall in the Asia".

"The sound infrastructure has attracted top artists and troupes to Shenzhen," she said. "We don't have to envy audiences in Beijing or Shanghai any longer now that Shenzhen has been an important leg of the performance tours of many world-famous symphony orchestras and conductors."

Besides the gorgeous venues downtown, some suburban district governments have built their own concert halls and theaters and staged performances to enrich the lives of locals.

Jiang was impressed by the charity program of the Shenzhen Concert Hall held every Sunday night, which provides a chance to some amateur but devoted music groups and individuals to hold public performances.

"The public performances have nurtured a big number of young music lovers and encouraged more people to step inside concert halls and appreciate fine music," she said.

According to the city government, it has planned another 10 cultural assets, including the Shenzhen Opera House, Shenzhen Conservatory of Music and Shenzhen Institute of Creative Design. These projects will add glamour to the city when they are opened in the coming years.

Liu Qiao, the office director of Shenzhen Yantian Library, said the application of new technologies in the library's operation can provide convenient services to readers.

About 650 public libraries and nearly 300 self-service library facilities are in service around the city, according to official figures.

Benefiting from China's reform and opening-up, Shenzhen has witnessed increasing enthusiasm for the study of the Communist Party of China's history. From government agencies at various levels to schools and businesses, Shenzhen residents have initiated a variety of events to learn about the growth of the CPC.

Local authorities released a map focusing on the city's Red culture in mid-June. The map, which also has its online and mobile versions, shows routes to 33 CPC historical educational bases and more than 50 revolutionary heritage sites in Shenzhen.

Li Fengliang, president of the Institute for Cultural Industries at Shenzhen University, said the city should be bolder and more open-minded to build its own unique cultural brands and earn fame in the global community.

Besides bringing in and sponsoring more international art and music events and competitions, the local government can create more powerful cultural icons, he said.

The government has developed a couple of high-level cultural industry platforms, such as the annual China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, the Shenzhen Culture Assets and Equity Exchange and the China Industry Investment Fund, according to Li.

These platforms, which can cluster quality cultural products, can work as a foundation for the city to develop an external exchange for culture, he said.

He also suggested the government attract a pool of talent, including famous artists and social sciences celebrities, to settle in Shenzhen.

In September 2019, Shenzhen was selected by the State Council as a demonstration pilot zone of socialism with Chinese characteristics. One of its goals is to become a model of urban civilization.

The city has closely associated the core value of Chinese socialism with its spirit. The city government believes this will work as the motivation to fulfill its mission and lead its residents to a better life.

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