BRICS countries seek to strengthen ties with cultural festival

By Shan Jie in Xiamen Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/4 18:28:39

As the BRICS Xiamen Summit picks up speed, member countries further strengthened their cultural connections with a culture festival that kicked off on Monday in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa attended the festival's opening ceremony and later visited the BRICS Culture Photo Exhibition, which displays the renowned cultural heritages of the five countries in a series of 34 photos.

The festival will hold public events in the city from September 15 to 22 that will include performances, exhibitions, masterclasses and film screenings.

More than 200 artists from BRICS countries will bring more than 30 events to the public portion of the festival.

Participating organizations include the National Ballet of China and the Mariinsky Theatre from Russia.

Local art groups in Xiamen will also perform during the festival.

Commenting on the role of culture during the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Sunday, President Xi said, "We should hold more events that are popular among the people, such as cultural festivals, movie festivals and sporting events, so that the BRICS story will be told everywhere and the friendships between the people's of our five countries can become an inexhaustible source of strength driving BRICS cooperation."

"BRICS countries have long histories and rich cultural resources, but there is not as much communication between countries concerning this area as there is about the economy," Lu Jing, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times.

Cultural exchanges can bring the people of BRICS countries closer, which in turn will help these countries overcome economic and political challenges, Lu said.

"Culture, especially films, can be a very effective tool for introducing a country. For instance, Aamir Khan's Dangal, the Bollywood movie which earned around 1.3 billion yuan ($200 million) at the Chinese box office earlier this year, was a very good advertisement for India," she noted.

Ahead of the summit, the 2nd BRICS Film Festival was held in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province from June 23-27, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

Ten films from BRICS countries competed for the festival's top honor, the Panda Award, with Brazilian film Nise: The Heart of Madness taking it home.

The film tells the story of a doctor who refuses to use shock therapy to treat patients with schizophrenia.

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