A Door to Cultural Highland of Mid-Zhejiang

Post Time: 2020-05-08
     During the Two Sessions of Jinhua, cultural soft power became a key word in the dialogue between delegates and committee members. Here follows a report of meetings and interviews with representatives, committee members, and guests who attended the “Two Sessions Roundtable” of Jinhua Daily, focusing on the theme of “how to further speed up the construction of a cultural city.” The participants provided suggestions and discussed possible cultural development plans.


Cultural Base and Tourist Destination

Guest: Two Sessions attendee Fang Xianwen, director of the Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV, and Tourism

Fang believes that Jinhua should continue to establish bases with high-quality cultural elements and high-quality tourist destinations. It was very encouraging that the government work reports of this year’s Two Sessions mentioned several highlights of Jinhua’s cultural and tourism aspects, including:

- strengthening the development of the cultural and tourism industry. In recent years, the growth of the cultural and tourism industry has far exceeded that of GDP, proving itself to be a rising industry. Statistics show that in 2019, the municipality received a total of 140 million tourists, an increase of 15.7% year-on-year, and realized tourism revenue of 157.98 bn RMB, an increase of 16.9% year-on-year. The Shuanglong Scenic Area was included in the list of national 5A-level scenic spots, and the Old City became a national 4A-level scenic spot.

- improving cultural supply and tourism services to satisfy people’s longing for a better life. In 2019, Jinhua promulgated the One Percent Public Cultural Plan, which asserted that 1% of the total investment in project construction needs to be used for the construction of public cultural facilities. This year, there are plans to upgrade cultural tourism facilities, cultural recreation events, and optimize relevant service platforms.

- enhancing the promotion of the brand, conveying the image of Jinhua’s cultural and tourism fame to people’s hearts. The Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV, and Tourism has been further strengthening the publicity and marketing efforts by launching a series and collections of images and slogans related to local culture and tourist attractions, and launching the new brand of Jinhua Cultural Tourism. In addition, a series of representative cultural activities were organized, focusing on deepening Sino-African cultural exchanges and strengthening the promotion of local culture to enhance the spread of Jinhua Cultural Tourism.

“This year, we put forward a new mission of ‘promoting quality in cultural tourism and achieving results through integration.’ We strive to provide better cultural products and better quality tourism products, and contribute to accelerating the creation of high-quality tourist destinations,” Fang said.


Make Jinhua a Destination for Study Trips

Committee member: Shao Faming, municipal CPPCC member, senior teacher, deputy chairman of the Wucheng Grassroots Committee

Having been engaged in education for many years, Shao has always been concerned about Jinhua’s cultural prosperity. “Considered a cultural center throughout history, Jinhua’s cultural heritage is deeply rooted in a number of famous historical figures. It is recommended to better explore and promote Jinhua’s cultural resources through a combination of tourism and education,” Shao explained.

Shao said that Jinhua has such scenic spots as Shuanglong Cave, Wong Tai Sin Ancestral Temple, Yongkang’s Fangyan, and Lanxi’s Underground River; cultural and historical sites, such as the King Shiwang’s Residence, the Bayong Tower, and Wufeng Academy; historical villages, like the Eight Diagrams Village, Yuyuan Taiji Village, and Dongyang’s Luzhai; intangible cultural heritage, including Wuju Opera, Dongyang’s woodcarving, and Pujiang’s wooden-stool dragon dance; and historical icons of culture, such as Luo Binwang, Huang Binhong, Ai Qing, and Shi Guangnan. These are unique features of the local culture, paving the road for the development of Jinhua’s cultural studies.

In recent years, Jinhua has also recorded innovative cultural activities, such as the Internet Celebrity Village in the Development Zone—Yuexi Baihe, Tangxi—which had attracted 26,000 students in two months, the 111 kinds of rare Chinese herbal medicines in Yiwu’s Senshan which have attracted the attention of 12 colleges and universities, and the overseas students from almost 100 countries who have attended events related to the Jinhua Homestay project.

Shao suggested that the relevant local departments should work together to introduce policies to catalyze a number of influential and professional research and travel institutions to contribute to the effort to making Jinhua’s cultural resources content with national research practice and education bases. “Study trips are not just ordinary tourism, they are about culture, education, and tourism.”


Power of Cultural Confidence

Committee member: Wu Wensheng, municipal CPPCC member, vice chairman of the Jinhua Calligraphers Association

Wu is a major expert in calligraphy and seal carving. He has been engaged in calligraphy education and cultural communication since 1995. Over the years, he has used his expertise to contribute to the cultural promotion of Jinhua’s traditional culture.

At the Two Sessions this year, Mayor Yin Xuequn mentioned in the Government Work Report the implementation of the revival plan for the millenary culture of Wu (Jinhua), indicating the focus of the city’s interest on cultural aspects. “Culture is a long-term service and is about the well-being of the people. Next, we should think more about how to work together and make good use of time and place to support such culture,” Wu commented.

He believes that to build a high-quality metropolitan area, culture is an indispensable element which should be taken in the highest consideration. In recent years, the Wubaitan Park was opened, putting on display cultural celebrities, such as Ai Qing and Shi Guangnan. Yet, there are still numbers of figures famous for their calligraphy and painting to be explored. One of them, for example, Huang Binhong, a major figure to put under the attention of the cultural discourse. Despite the existence of an art park dedicated to him, there is still need to give it more substantive content and promotion.


Heritage and Innovation

Representative name: Chen Xinhua, Municipal People’s Congress deputy, national representative inheritor of national intangible cultural heritage project Wuzhou Kiln’s Ceramic Firing Craft

Chen Xinhua has devoted over 40 years of his life to Wuzhou Kiln. In his view, many intangible cultural heritage projects in Jinhua are symbols of the city’s historical and cultural heritage, unique local characteristics, and indispensable elements upon which the cultural future of the city should be based.

Chen believes that it is necessary to properly handle the relationship between tradition and innovation, and between culture and economy. “The intangible cultural heritage left by our ancestors is a splendid part of our tradition. In the face of epochal changes, we should focus on its protection, innovation, and transmission.”

Wuzhou Kiln’s tradition dates back to over 2,200 years ago, as its production process and craft constitute a classic tradition. At the same time, the development of culture is inseparable from social and economic benefits, making the two complementary aspects of contemporary society. Therefore, culture and economy should be organically combined to pave the road of cultural industry.

Although this is not an easy road to pave, Chen has been busy practicing in recent years: Wuzhou Kiln Museum, Wuzhou Kiln Workshop, and Wuzhou Kiln Site Park have been built one after another in the village of Hanzao, Yafan Town of the Wucheng District. “Right now, a 50-meter long kiln is under construction. In the future, we will focus on building Wuzhou Kiln Little Town, integrating the display, production, first-hand experience, and conservation of the tradition.”


Reshaping a Cultural City

Representative name: Li Yingchang, Municipal People’s Congress deputy, chairman of the Wucheng Writers Association

Li Yingchang believes that in the face of the multiple challenges of economic and social development, it is necessary to focus on cultural features to lay a solid foundation for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. “If you want to be fast, you must first learn to be slow and consolidate the basic work of cultural construction.”

He identified four crucial points to further accelerate the construction of a cultural city. One is making substantial efforts in conservation. Old houses and buildings in the countryside form a precious legacy left by history and are a distinctive historical mark for the foundation of a cultural city. These should be conserved and appreciated. The second is to search into history. It is necessary to concentrate resources and increase investment to unearth the local cultural elements scattered around the territory and show Jinhua’s cultural tradition. The third is to make the utmost use, as in the integrated use, of cultural resources. The Jinhua Museum has many things that can be made into cultural and creative products. These are not necessarily used to make money, but to make the culture live in various forms and have an impact on people’s livelihood. The fourth is to push as much as possible. It is necessary to excavate and cultivate outstanding local cultural talents and refined products.

In the past year, the art and literary circles of the Wucheng District have organized literary contests and cultural events to gather a group of cultural talents and relevant works of art. Li asserted that he will continue to devote himself to the protection of the Wu culture, promote the revitalization of rural culture, and enhance literary creation.


Jinhua as an Example of Zhejiang’s Poetic Road

Committee member: Wu Yuanlong, member of the CPPCC, director of Culture and History Committee of the CPPCC.

“Jinhua needs to attach great importance to the contemporary manifestation of regional culture and innovative developmental models in order to become a major cultural city,” Wu Yuanlong said. He sees a good opportunity for Jinhua: the construction of Zhejiang’s Poetic Road. At the end of last year, the Zhejiang Provincial Government officially issued the “Provincial Poetic Road Cultural Development Plan,” and 2020 is the launching year of the construction of the Poetic Road Cultural Belt.

“Jinhua should hold a major position in the construction of the Poetic Road. As a major traditional culture center of the Jiangnan region, Jinhua should have a certain cultural self-confidence,” Wu claimed. Jinhua is both the “heart of Zhejiang” and Zhejiang’s “heart of poetry.” In fact, over 3000 poems related to the mid-Zhejiang territory are left from the Tang Dynasty alone. Jinhua was the core area of the philosophical “school of Zhejiang” during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. Yet, Jinhua is not only an important place for philosophy and poetry, but also a cradle of painting and calligraphy. Thus, Jinhua could evidently become a major hub on Zhejiang’s Poetic Road. However, despite the abundant presence of institutions researching the Wu culture, the research work still has a long way to go. In addition, the lack of coordination among various cultural research institutes has resulted in repeated research, waste of resources, and lack of quality products.

This is a systematic project to which one should adhere to the top-level design and planning. A starting point would be the realization of a batch of projects, promoting the establishment of Jinhua’s Poetic Road in the whole of its complexity. (By Xu Jiannan—Jinhua Daily, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)

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