First China-ASEAN ICH Week in Guangxi to promote BRI cultural exchanges
Published: Apr 23, 2023 11:28 PM
Photo: Courtesy of organizers

Photo: Courtesy of organizers

A seven-day cultural event exhibiting more than 150 China-ASEAN Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) projects was launched on Saturday in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. 

The event is seen as a melting pot of diverse Asian cultures that brings together ICH treasures from 25 Chinese provinces and regions and cultural legacies of eight ASEAN members including Singapore, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. 

Thailand's signature Nora dance, which features traditional singing and acrobatic moves, will be performed alongside Yong Opera, a traditional folk art rooted in Nanning and which has a counterpart in Vietnam. 

The puppet show from Myanmar echoes an Indonesian shadow play, showing that both art forms can be found in traditional Chinese folk culture. 

Such events reveal "China's cultural interrelations to ­Southeast Asian countries," Xiong Gang, a Chinese folk culture expert, told the Global Times. 

Capitalizing on Guangxi's unique Zhuang ethnic minority culture, the cultural week has also displays ICH legacies such as Muqam singing and dancing from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Thangka paintings unique to Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region to show China's diverse ethnic cultures. 

Besides art, the Nanning ICH week has also touched on the "food culture" shared between China and ASEAN members. Several forums on topics such as tea culture's development along the Silk Road and "rice culture" have also been held. 

Lu Yuexi, a sociologist specializing in Asian food culture, told the Global Times that taking China-Vietnam's similar appetite for rice noodles as an example, food culture has always been an important "mirror" to reflect China's connection to ASEAN members in "human migration, diplomacy and trade" even dating back to ancient times. 

"Such exchanges have been elaborated on today through the Belt and Road Initiative," Lu noted. 

Against the backdrop of the BRI, a representative of the Center of China Intangible Cultural Heritage, one of the event's organizers, told the Global Times that promoting exchanges between China and ASEAN caters to Nanning's strategic goal of becoming "an international city open to ASEAN cooperation." 

"It gave me a real sense of cultural diversity and made me see the charm of cultural exchanges. I'll cherish my career even more," said Zhong Yunrui, an ICH inheritor of Nanning local paper cutting. 

The event is scheduled to run until April 28.