City of Charm

A port city along the an­cient mar­itime silk road de­vel­ops in the new era

Beijing Review - - NATION - By Lu Yan

ARo­man glass bowl, an In­dian crys­tal neck­lace, green glazed pot­tery made in Parthia—mod­ern-day Iran—all serve as proof of Bei­hai’s im­por­tance as a port city on the an­cient mar­itime silk road. Dat­ing back 2,000 years, the trade route con­nected China with other coun­tries in East Asia, South­east Asia, the Mid­dle East, Africa and Europe.

At the Han-cul­tural Mu­seum of Hepu County in Bei­hai, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, a bronze ket­tle cov­ered with verdi­gris and dec­o­ra­tive de­sign sits in a glass box. Un­earthed from a tomb in April 1986, the ket­tle is iden­ti­fied as a trea­sure from China’s Eastern Han Dy­nasty (25-220).

A mu­seum do­cent told Bei­jing Re­view that there’s still liq­uid in­side the ket­tle which, ac­cord­ing to ar­chae­ol­o­gists, is most likely wine from some 2,000 years ago.

Such cul­tural relics show not only traces of the daily life of an­cient China, but also signs of trade and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes be­tween Bei­hai and other re­gions along the an­cient mar­itime silk road.

Build­ing on its his­tor­i­cal as­sets and unique fea­tures, Bei­hai has re­cently been ex­plor­ing new driv­ers of de­vel­op­ment, such as tourism and the elec­tron­ics and in­for­ma­tion in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data, the city’s fis­cal rev­enue ex­ceeded 20 bil­lion yuan ($3 bil­lion) last year, up 20.1 per­cent year on year, rank­ing first in Guangxi.

Bei­hai Mayor Cai Jin­jun said that the city will fur­ther im­prove its busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and pro­vide qual­ity ser­vices for in­vestors and en­trepreneurs.

Wel­com­ing the world

This year, Bei­hai was se­lected as a City of Charm for the 15th CHINA-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), an event fea­tur­ing a host of ex­hi­bi­tions, fo­rums and ex­change pro­grams that aimed at fa­cil­i­tat- ing CHINA-ASEAN trade and in­creas­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

The 2018 CAEXPO was held in Guangxi’s cap­i­tal city of Nan­ning on Septem­ber 12-15 with the theme Jointly Build­ing the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, Forg­ing the CHINA-ASEAN Com­mu­nity of In­no­va­tion.

Since the Sec­ond CAEXPO in 2005, China and the 10 ASEAN coun­tries have adopted a sys­tem whereby each chooses one city or re­gion as a City of Charm to pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in that area in terms of trade, in­vest­ment, cul­ture, tourism and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

Bei­hai was cho­sen for sev­eral rea­sons. In 1984, it be­came one of the first coastal cities in China turn­ing to em­brace the world. Since the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive was pro­posed by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in 2013, the an­cient gate­way to South­east Asia and Africa has fo­cused on en­hanc­ing mar­itime con­nec­tiv­ity,

Cul­tural relics pre­served at the Han-cul­tural Mu­seum of Hepu County, Bei­hai, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion

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