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Shandong charms US visitors with cultural delights

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-11 07:14
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A girl tries a burr puzzle, an art form of intangible cultural heritage, at the event in San Francisco on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Shandong province, a cradle of Chinese civilization in East China, is rolling out the welcome mat for US tourists, eager to showcase its rich cultural heritage and tourism scene.

At a promotional event held at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco on Thursday, visitors were enthralled by the intangible cultural heritage of Shandong.

Maneuvering puppets, their expressive faces coming alive in your hands, meticulously "painting" a masterpiece with tiny grains, or playing with miniature kites, smaller than one's palm, the event showcased several art forms that embody Shandong's cultural heritage.

Lively Laixi puppetry, with its demonstrative, rod-controlled puppets, captivated the audience. The Weifang kite, renowned for its intricate designs and vibrant colors, symbolizes not only a love for the skies but also the yearning for home and a pioneering spirit. Paper-cutting, another traditional art form, was also on display, showcasing delicate depictions of people, flowers, animals and landscapes.

"Shandong is blessed with a wealth of cultural and tourism resources," Vice-Governor of Shandong Deng Yunfeng said.

Deng emphasized Shandong's commitment to becoming a global cultural and tourism destination. "We are building an industry with international perspectives while retaining our unique charm," he said.

San Francisco was the first stop of the Chinese delegation's visit to the United States with the aim of turning the province into an international tourism destination.

Shandong is home to four UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage sites and is the second-most populous province in China, with more than 100 million residents.

It is also an economically developed province, with a GDP of nearly $1.3 trillion, ranking third in China. In addition, it generates China's highest agricultural output and is the country's second-largest industrial producer, Deng said.

To make travel easier, the province has expanded its visa-upon-arrival and visa-free programs, which aim to deliver a seamless inbound and outbound tourism experience.

The event was not just about cultural exchange; it was a bridge between people, said California Secretary of Government Operations Amy Tong, representing Governor Gavin Newsom.

She said she "followed in Newsom's footsteps" to visit China last year to help foster the relationship between sister cities. Among climate exchange, business, economic development and other topics she discussed with her counterparts, it was the people-to-people exchange that "everybody focused on", she said.



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