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Grand Canal will help with flow of prosperity

By Ma Zhenhuan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-05 07:30
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Delegates attend a session of the Grand Canal Cultural Belt Beijing-Hangzhou Dialogue, held in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Oct 22. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Scholars, officials and experts from numerous fields, including foreign and domestic academic research and the culture and tourism industries, called for greater effort in the construction of China's Grand Canal Cultural Belt and Grand Canal National Cultural Park at a recent forum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Also discussed was the protection, inheritance, and utilization of this world cultural heritage site, as China moves to achieve common prosperity in the years to come.

The three-day 2021 China Grand Canal Cultural Belt Beijing-Hangzhou Dialogue kicked off in Hangzhou on Oct 21.

Themed "The age-old canal taking us to common prosperity", the event aimed to explore the contemporary value of Grand Canal culture, highlight the exemplary and leading role of Beijing and Hangzhou in the construction of the Grand Canal Cultural Belt, and strive to promote the high-quality development and construction of establishing Zhejiang as a demonstration zone for common prosperity.

A symphony production on the Beijing-Hangzhou ancient waterway is staged at Hangzhou Grand Theater on Oct 22. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"This year China has unveiled a series of measures for building a demonstration zone for achieving common prosperity through high-quality development in Zhejiang province, which points out that it is necessary to fully explore Zhejiang's cultural advantages and promote the construction of the Grand Canal Park and the Grand Canal Cultural Belt," says Zhu Guoxian, member of the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of its publicity department.

The Grand Canal, the 3,200-kilometer-long, 2,500-year-old waterway connecting Beijing and Hangzhou, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest artificial waterway in the world. It consists of three sections built during different periods, unifying the powerful northern and the fertile southern regions of ancient China.

As Beijing's Tongzhou district is at the northernmost end of the Grand Canal, and Hangzhou's Gongshu district is located at the southernmost end of the Grand Canal, the two districts have signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement for the development of economy, industry, trade, culture and tourism, and Hangzhou Canal Group has also signed a cooperation agreement with Beijing Shougang Construction Investment Co to further promote cooperation between the two representative cities.

According to Zhu, Beijing and Hangzhou will strengthen the sharing of resources, the creation of new projects, and education of talent, as well as jointly build the Grand Canal National Cultural Park, making it a calling card for China, displaying Chinese civilization, and demonstrating cultural self-confidence.

Xu Jiang, vice-chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, says the Grand Canal is a treasure trove of cultures and a corridor of cultural innovation, which contains Chinese wisdom and requires greater cultural research and exploration.

The 8th China Grand Canal Temple Fair offers intangible cultural heritage exhibitions in Hangzhou in October. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"As the economy grows, people's level of satisfaction and happiness has followed suit. Top-notch integration of culture and tourism plays a vital role in meeting both the commercial and spiritual demands of the consumer as China seeks to realize common prosperity," notes Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy.

Earlier this year, the academy, in partnership with Yuhang district of Hangzhou, published a research index report on integration of culture and tourism, which aims to encourage more local residents and tourists to participate in cultural tourism activities.

"On the road to common prosperity, both Hangzhou and Beijing can use cultural innovation to improve the wealth of people living in the cities along this ancient canal. As the capital of cross-border e-commerce, Hangzhou can use new technologies, new industries, new cultures and new models to make people's life more prosperous," says Liu Xin, mayor of Hangzhou.

Before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Hangzhou Dialogue, a Chinese and foreign media tour, starting on Oct 17, was launched in Tongzhou.

With themes of "a thousand-mile journey on the age-old Grand Canal" and "love for the Grand Canal", reporters from Chinese and foreign media visited cities along the Grand Canal, such as Zaozhuang in Shandong province, Yangzhou in Jiangsu province and Hangzhou, seeing the achievements made in the construction of the Grand Canal Cultural Belt.

In addition to the main forum, there were multiple sideline events held to enrich the cultural feast, including the expert seminar, a temple fair, an art gathering, Peking Opera performances, cultural tourism promotion, scientific and technological exchanges, and media communication.

Fang Xiaoying in Hangzhou contributed to the story

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