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Culture fest with a twist

Sun Ye
Updated: Nov 2,2015 10:37 AM     China Daily

Performers from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region at their pavilion at the expo. [Sun Ye / China Daily]

The 2015 Beijing Culture Expo this year features the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration and various initiatives in technology and finance.

The 2015 China International Culture and Creative Industry Expo, now in its 10th year, was launched on Oct 29 at Beijing’s China International Exhibition Center.

A full slate of forums, exhibitions and competitions in the culture and creative realm will be held through December across the city.

An artist demonstrates a local craft at the 2015 Beijing Culture Expo.[Wei Xiaohao / China Daily]

Some parallel sessions will also be held in Yangzhou in Jiangsu province.

Exhibitors from more than 40 countries and regions have gathered for the event.

The expo also has delegations from 23 provinces.

“The Beijing Culture Expo is the window to understand China’s creative sector and its cutting-edge industries,” Li Wei, vice-president of the expo’s organizing committee and secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, said at the opening ceremony.

In the 10 years since the expo was launched, Beijing’s creative sector has gone on to become one of the pillars of the city’s development, says Li.

The sector has grown at a rate of 17.3 percent annually since 2006.

In 2014, it contributed 13.2 percent to the city’s gross GDP.

The deals signed during the last nine expos are worth 590 billion yuan ($93 billion), according to official statistics.

“The expo provides fuel for the growth of industry,” Li says. “At the expo, you can always catch the tempo of the times.”

The theme this year is “promote cultural prosperity and facilitate innovation”.

As the Belt and Road Initiative continues to expand its influence in nearly all realms of business inside and outside the country, the expo also shows the project’s impact on the cultural front.

Local crafts and artistic products from regions along the Silk Road, from Kyrgyzstan to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, are on show.

Previews of Silk Road-themed performances, from 3-D projection shows to extravagant dance dramas, travel to the Silk Road’s cultural destinations and even holiday resorts are all being promoted at the expo.

Yu Haibo, deputy director of the culture expo organizing committee office, says: “This is the window to display Chinese culture.”

As Beijing and Tianjin cities, and Hebei province have begun regional integration, their common cultural roots and history are also being highlighted at the event.

According to Yu Ping, deputy head of the Beijing’s municipal administration for cultural heritage, a cultural products pavilion displays historical relics, themed toys and gadgets from the three places to show a common identity.

“Our pavilion shows Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei are connected and that they share a common culture,” Yu says.

That culture, historically called Yanzhao culture that dates back to 3,000 years ago, will be shown using up-to-date technology.

Guan Zhanxiu, head of the Museum of Xizhou Yandu Site in Beijing, says: “With contributions from museums in the area, we will tell the story of a region that has historically fought harsh natural conditions.”

At the expo, a travel route that includes the most important sites in the region was launched.

A mobile game based on the region’s history was also unveiled.

Location-based devices that guide visitors to the region’s specialties were also presented at the expo to show regional integration.

As China pushes ahead with its strategy of “Internet plus”, a plan to bring together traditional industries, Internet and new media, the expo is also displaying a variety of crossover projects that have the creative sector bonding with technologies including 3-D and cloud computing.

The expo also has a section devoted to 3-D, from holographic images and virtual reality experiences to city planning.

Riding the tide of Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, a winter sports experience center equipped with an ice rink is open to the public. It shows culture merging with sports and tourism by exhibiting interactive games and holiday plans.

College students are also invited to enter a competition of mobile application ideas for 20,000 yuan of prize money.

“Beijing will play an exemplary role in leading the creative sector,” says Li.

“It has the pulse of the times and will be a practical guide to others.”

All activities of the culture expo are open to the public.