Dunhuang expo aims to amplify global significance of Silk Road
More than 1,200 international visitors attend opening ceremony
Published: Sep 06, 2023 11:22 PM
Visitors attend the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province, on September 6, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Visitors attend the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province, on September 6, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Taking aim at amplifying the global significance of the ancient Silk Road, the 6th Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo kicked off on Wednesday in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province. 

More than 1,200 visitors, mainly from countries that support China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) such as Expo Guest of Honor Turkmenistan, attended the opening ceremony, an Expo event coordinator surnamed Bai told the Global Times. 

Investigating Dunhuang's historical character as a hub for the integration of multiple civilizations, a total of 13 conferences will be held at as part of the Dunhuang Forum. 

Right after the opening ceremony, a major forum discussion addressing the "global significance of Dunhuang studies" was held on Wednesday afternoon to embrace more than 100 international experts from countries such as Russia, the US, the UK and South Korea. 

Su Bomin, the head of the Dunhuang Academy, told the Global Times that Dunhuang culture not only witnessed the "convergence of the cultures of ancient India, Greece and Persia in China," but can also help with today's global academic exchanges, binding scholars around the world under programs such as the International Dunhuang Project that was first launched in 1994. 

"Dunhuang culture is an outcome of the exchanges and mutual learning between the East and the West in ancient times. The study of Dunhuang was also developed under the joint promotion of Chinese and foreign scholars," Su remarked. 

As 2023 is the 10th anniversary of the BRI, several other forums aimed at extending ancient exchanges along the Silk Road into the modern BRI framework will be launched. 

On Thursday, the China-Central Asia and ASEAN Development Cooperation Forum will be held to cover agendas such as China-Uzbekistan's cultural and educational cooperation, China and Tajikistan's mutual sharing in the technological field as well as the strategic overseas development of Chinese enterprises in the Singaporean market. 

Ma Xiaojie, an expert from Lanzhou University who attended the forum, told the Global Times that the "BRI has become a popular global public product and international cooperation platform," and with a decade of development "win-win cooperation" has manifested in areas such as "policy exchanges," "road connectivity" and "trade" between China and Central Asian countries, as well as China and ASEAN countries. 

As a Central Asian country, Turkmenistan will have its own expo pavilion that promotes the country's tourism, traditional arts and crafts and indigenous folk cultures. In January, Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov visited China and signed a memorandum of understanding to boost synergy with the Silk Road and the BRI. 

"This is a strategic upgrade of the relationship between China and Turkmenistan," cultural expert Chu Xin said. 

To display the recent research achievements in Dunhuang studies, a total of nine exhibitions will be launched during the Expo. 

Taking inspiration from the Dunhuang mural painting Feitian (lit: flying god), a large-scale musical of the same name, with 14 individual songs, will debut at the Expo.

First launched in 2016, the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo is China's one and only comprehensive expo that focuses on international cultural exchanges among BRI countries.  

The 2023 event is scheduled to end on Thursday.