Chairman Lu's Speech at the seminar on New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries
20 May 2017


More Cooperation between Private Sectors, Better People-to-people Connectivity


-- at the seminar on New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries


by Lu Jianzhong, Chairman of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce


Xi’an, May 20, 2017


Distinguished guests, friends from academic fields, ladies and gentlemen,


Good morning.


It’s an honor to join you today. 14 centuries ago, the place we stand on was a gold market. It saw files of merchants, packed with stores and shops. Peoples of different walks and trades gathered and parted here. It was called the Tang West Market, where the ancient Silk Road started. It is of great significance that we hold the seminar on New Modes for Cultural Exchanges among the Belt and Road Countries. On one hand, it is an echo to the Belt and Road Forum and President Xi's call. On the other hand, it is an exploration of the national strategy of new modes for cultural exchanges among the Belt and Road countries in Shaanxi Province. First of all, I would like to extend my sincerest and utmost welcome and gratitudes to you all. Thank you for coming.


In the previous sessions, we had the honor to communicate with Zhang Wei, Vice President of the CCPIT, Guan Qiang, Deputy Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, and Wang Shi, Chair of the CCPS. I was inspired by their insights. I look forward to more inspiring speeches and inputs from Mr. Feng Jicai, President Chi Fulin, Minister Zhang Zhigang, and Minister Yang Zhiming.


On May 14, the Belt and Road Forum kicked off in Beijing, and was recognized as a milestone. I was honored and humbled to listen to President Xi's speech in person. In his speech, he cited ancient stories to dissect current situations, and referred to examples in different cultures. I deeply believe a theoretical framework of both depth and width has been founded on President Xi's statement on cultural exchange and people-to-people connectivity among Belt and Road countries.


As President Xi pointed out, “historical and cultural heritage should be fully tapped to jointly develop tourist products and protect heritage in ways that preserve the distinctive features of the Silk Road.”“We will develop new people-to-people exchange platforms.”“We should establish a multi-tiered mechanism for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, build more cooperation platforms and open more cooperation channels.”“Educational cooperation should be boosted, more exchange students should be encouraged and the performance of cooperatively run schools should be enhanced.” That is what we have been doing for recent years. And we will continue our efforts with new methods on a higher tier. We will play a better role as international chambers of commerce and non-government diplomats. We will lay down the footnotes to the cultural exchanges along the Silk Road.


I. Better mutual learning through heritage protection

With the support from State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Provincial and City governments, Da Tang Xi Shi Group developed a Cultural, Business, and Tourism Park featuring Tang West Market. The Park is a fusion of Tang culture and Silk Road culture. We hope the Park could set an example of a sustainable cultural industry that calls for “Nurturing Culture with Business, Promoting Business through Culture”. In this context, we strive for a balance and complementation between cultural promotion and cultural industry, where heritage protection will no longer hinders city development, while cultural promotion will no longer drains city budgets. The Tang West Market Museum is the only private museum listed as the national 1st class museum. And we initiated Silk Road International Museums Alliance, joined by museums from 18 Silk Road countries. And multiple exchange exhibitions have been conducted with museums in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Cultural exchange and mutual learning between Belt and Road countries will be enhanced through systematic protection, development, and research of heritage.


II. Better people-to-people exchanges with cultural communication

We hosted a list of cultural events in the past years, including performances and exhibitions. The events worth highlighting are the Silk Road Business Tourism and Cultural Expo, the “Twin Cities along the Silk Road” Cultural Exchange Performances, the First UNESCO Silk Road Online Platforms Forum, Silk Road in Paintings -- Chinese Contemporary Artists Gallery on Silk Road, and Historic Exchange -- Exhibition on Chinese Tea Culture and Georgian Wine Culture. On September 8th, 2017, we will hold the 2nd Xi'an Silk Road Business Summit and Silk Road Culture Week. In addition to seminars, the parallel events include Cultural Startups Expo, Exhibition of Cultural Objects, and Silk Road Performances. We are dedicated to promoting cultural exchanges and people-to-people connectivity through arts and culture, because they are beyond borders and speak to souls.


III. New mechanism and platform with non-government organizations

In December, 2015, Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce was co-founded by Da Tang Xi Shi Group and 36 national chambers, under the support from World Chambers Federation and China Chamber of International Commerce. So far, 71 national chambers have joined the SRCIC, which means more than millions of business members. SRCIC now becomes a bridge connecting governments with enterprises, and the practical cooperation platform between the Chamber and its members is a vital force to promote the construction of the Belt and Road in different countries. After the establishment of committees on trade, finance, energy, transportation, information, and industry parks, the SRCIC initiated cultural committee to promote people-to-people exchanges. In the last two years, the SRCIC has hosted 6 international meetings, and visited more than 20 countries for road shows. The SRCIC has become the super hub for projects matching and cultural exchanges. We lead the implementation of the Silk Road ideology on cooperation, and introduce the Silk Road stories and China Solution to the globe.


IV. Closer youth exchanges with support to disadvantaged and education

People are the foundation of international friendship, while youth are the hope. The SRCIC donated 200 thousand dollars to Ukraine Charity Fund through Silk Road Sunshine. The donation is dedicated to training programs for collaborative teachers, and funding 30 Ukraine students and 30 Arabian students to study in Xi'an. The act aims to cultivate talents along the Belt and Road and draw more attention from the youth. During the Silk Road Culture Week on September 8, we will select a Silk Road Ambassador among university students. We hope such events would plant friendship and hope in the youth of the Silk Road countries.


V. A new platform for artworks exchange along the Silk Road 

As supported by Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and relative departments, we established a new platform for artworks exchange. We hope the trade of artworks will accompany the cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The largest issue in artworks exchange lies in non-standard products. It poses challenges to both trade and transportation. That's why we offer a solution from the supply end by confirming 3 centers, 2 responsibilities, and 1 source of the artworks. We hope the rules we draft could be adopted as Chinese standard, and even recognized as international rules.


The premises and foundation for mutual trust and mutual benefit are cultural and people-to-people exchanges. They are the sustainable driving force to the Belt and Road Initiative.


Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends.


Great deeds call for great efforts. Extraordinary ideology calls for extraordinary commitment. This Seminar leads the Belt and Road Initiative into the all-round implementation phase. Da Tang Xi Shi Group and Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce would love to join hands with chambers of commerce and different sectors. We will play our role as non-government players in establishing cooperative mechanism and platforms. We will promote connectivity, mutual learning and cooperation. New and better Modes for Cultural Exchanges among Belt and Road countries will eventually lead to inclusive development and developed trade.


On behalf of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce and Da Tang Xi Shi Group, I wish you a fruitful seminar and good health.


Thank you.