Fifty one countries represented at Dunhuang, Silk Road int'l cultural expo

The Second Silk Road International Cultural Expo opened on September 20, 2017 in Dunhuang, Gansu province in northwestern China on the theme, "Promoting cultural exchange and cooperation, creating a better future."

People's Daily OnlineUpdated: September 25, 2017

The Second Silk Road International Cultural Expo opened on September 20, 2017 in Dunhuang, Gansu province in northwestern China on the theme, "Promoting cultural exchange and cooperation, creating a better future."

The Second Silk Road International Cultural Expo opens on September 20 in Dunhuang, Gansu province. [Photo/People's Daily Online]

Some 124 delegates from 51 countries and three international and regional organizations took part in the one-day fair, showcasing their outstanding cultural achievements and discussing exchange and cooperation plans.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chinese Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang, said the first edition last September recorded a number of achievements. These include coming out with the Dunhuang Declaration, reaching consensus on cultural exchanges and cooperation, signing cooperation framework agreements, while economic and trade activities were carried out.

"Two thousand years ago, our ancestors blazed the trails, sailed across the ocean and finally opened up the Silk Road spanning Asia and Europe connecting land and sea. Its profound historical and cultural connotations not only provide nourishment for the Chinese civilization, but also inject vitality into rich and diverse world civilizations," Luo Shugang recalled.

"In today's world where peace, cooperation and development remain the theme, … the Silk Road shows us that we can learn from each other and seek mutual improvements through dialogue and communication of different civilizations and development patterns," he added.

The key to sound relations between States lies in their people being close to each other, which largely stems from mutual understanding, Luo Shugang underscored.

Delegates from 51 countries attended the Second Belt and Road Dunhuang International Cultural Expo. [Photo/People's Daily Online]

According to him, the objectives of this year's fair were to strengthen cultural and ideological exchanges and promote world peace and development; respect cultural diversity and promote the prosperity and development of world cultures. Others were to set up cultural innovation consciousness, inherit and carry on excellent cultural heritage; stick to the road of civilization and harmony, and move towards a common mankind destiny.

Cui Yuying, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Minister of the State Council Information Office, recalled that Dunhuang was once the intersection of the world's four major civilisations.

"Over the past year, countries and regions along the Silk Road have strengthened exchanges and cooperation in areas such as culture, education, science and technology, health, tourism, media and sports, and achieving positive results," Cui Yuying said.

Culture is a bridge to connect people and enhance mutual trust, as well as a bond to arouse resonance and reach consensus, She pointed out.

"This event will surely sow seeds of friendship, bring people from various countries closer and promote understanding and mutual trust. It will lay a solid public opinion, social foundation and provide stronger cultural support for the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt," She noted.

According to Assoumana Malam Issa, minister of Cultural Revival, Art and Social Modernisation of Niger, the historical symbolic significance of the Silk Road is a lesson for today's generation. He expressed regret at the massive destruction a few years ago of important cultural heritage, especially in Timbuktu and Gao in Mali by jihadists.

"Culture is the beginning and the end of everything. It is the foundation on which all development hoped for is based. In Niger, we have been nurtured by such convictions and have perfectly assimilated them," the Niger minister explained. He added that cultural renaissance was retained as the major policy of the government's Economic and Social Development Plan II 2017-2021.