中文 | CONTACT US
You are here: Home Page >> Researchers' News >> Text

Wang Meng: Improving Cultural Soft Power Through the Belt and Road Initiative

Source: China Economic Net Date: 2016-07-07
The Silk Road is an important vehicle for the communication of Chinese culture and a bond between the Chinese nation and the outside world. The Silk Road spirit of “solidarity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, inclusiveness and mutual learning and win-win cooperation” has continued to the present day and is embodied in the “Belt and Road” Initiative. It promotes cultural exchanges and the diversity of civilizations of different countries.
 
The producer of “the Code of the Silk Road, a documentary, interviewed Mr. Wang Meng, a contemporary Chinese author and the Honorary President of the Chinese Writers’ Association. Mr.Wang offered his views on the role of “Belt and Road” in cultural preservation, cultural connectivity and cultural soft power.

The “Belt and Road” Initiative shows respect for the past and carries forward the tradition.

According to Mr. Wang, the route taken by Xuanzang to India is the same as the Silk Road. When he traveled past the State of Gaochang in what is today’s Turpan in Xinjiang, people there persuaded him to stay to preach Buddhism. That was one example of cultural exchanges via the Silk Road. Such exchanges between cultures and civilizations were regular. China’s “Belt and Road” policy shows respect for the Silk Road and carries forward the tradition.

Wang Meng said, “The ancient Silk Road was opened by merchants, monks, scholars and soldiers who went through untold hardships and sufferings. The easy transport networks and the stable relations between neighbors were unimagined in the past. When China reaches a certain level of economic development, it wants to forge closer ties with other countries, which is broadly in line with ancient Chinese vision for ‘harmony between all states.’ At a time of advancing globalization, China’s development is closely related to every corner of the world. With the ‘Belt and Road’ policy, China will enjoy more open links with the outside world. After 38 years of reform and opening, China has come a long way in development. The ‘Belt and Road’ aims to bring along the development in China’s neighboring countries and spread China’s positive energy. The friendly contacts with other countries will also promote China’s development.” “This is a policy beneficial to all countries,” said Wang Meng.

Connectivity is needed for cultural development.

Talking about connectivity under the Belt and Road, Mr. Wang shared his experience in Xinjiang in his early years. It is right that the people in Xinjiang are optimistic about the development and changes. On the communication of Chinese cultures, he said no culture could develop in isolation. It has to embrace external challenges and make changes.

Living for many years in Xinjiang, he has profound knowledge of this place. Xinjiang has been an open region since ancient times. Towns on the border with other countries have had continuous cultural, religious and trade links with the outside world, making Xinjiang a place of unimpeded trade, cultural integration and religious exchanges. “In many places of Xinjiang, people of different ethnicities live together. Some regions have close exchanges with other countries. Some do not have direct links, but bear the influence of external cultures. In Yilin, many places have Mongolian names. Russian is spoken in some regions. There are still Russian folk songs in that part of China. It can therefore be seen that Xinjiang’s culture has connections with the inland of China. It also has its own characteristics. It is an open place, not an isolated region.”

The folktales of Avanti were popular in Xinjiang. They are also widely circulated in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Uyghur poets are held in high esteem in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The famous Xinjiang epic opera Muqame have characteristics of traditional music and regional music, which is an interesting phenomenon in cultural exchanges.

The key to improving cultural soft power is the expansion of spiritual strength.

Cultural soft power can first and foremost improve the life quality of the people it has nurtured. It raises the ethics of the people and enables people to live a better life. Such culture is appealing and cohesive. It is adored by the people and attractive to people from other cultures.

“The cultural soft power,” said Mr. Wang, “is reflected in the spiritual, logic and abstraction capabilities, and the capabilities in pursuing truth and describing own’s will. The Panthéon in Paris is a symbol of respect and admiration of the French people toward culture. Cultural soft power can be abstract. For example, Confucianism is in the consciousness of the Chinese people. Poets such as Qu Yuan, Sima Qian, Li Bai, Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Su Dongpo, and scientists like Zu Chongzhi and Shen Kuo are Chinese cultural symbols, projecting China’s cultural soft power. ”

Soft power is spiritual power and high-end spiritual cultural products. It is cultural appeal. To improve cultural soft power is to improve spiritual strength.