Ancient culture flourishes
City with history dating back 7,000 years takes steps to actively protect i
The people of Tongxiang in East China’s Zhejiang province, which boasts a history dating back more than 7,000 years, are justifiably
proud of their city’s culture and are taking steps to actively protect its cultural heritage.
The Grand Canal, part of which runs through the city, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014. Wuzhen, an ancient part of the city, and another 13 ancient towns within the city’s boundaries are also preparing to apply for inscription on the World Heritage List.
Tongxiang abounds in intangible cultural heritage, including three that have been listed at the national level and 20 provincial-level items. A series of intangible cultural heritage halls have been built in Tongxiang to display handicrafts, train apprentices, hold exchange activities and allow tourists to experience the skills.
City leaders are attempting to build a training system for inheritors of intangible cultural heritage, and have organized the “national intangible cultural heritage inheritors dialogue” for two consecutive years.
“Our Festival”, a series of intangible cultural heritage exhibitions and performances, has been held in Tonxiang, along with a number of other activities, to teach traditional skills. The series was commended by the Zhejiang provincial government in 2012 for its effort in protecting intangible cultural heritage items by applying for inclusions on important intangible cultural heritage lists.
The city is home to many noted people such as writer and cultural critic Mao Dun, comic artist Feng Zikai, photographer Xu Xiaobing, international studies expert Jin Zhonghua, writer and painter Mu Xin, founder of the influential publisher Zhonghua Book Company Lu Feikui and Mao Weitao, performing artist of Yueju Opera.
Based on the city’s profound culture around famous people, related memorial halls and namesake schools have been built, including the memorial halls of Mao Dun and Feng Zikai. Tongxiang also organized theme studies of culture around famous people and established 14 such teams. In recent years, Tongxiang has seen remarkable achievements in Chinese comics — also known as manhua, calligraphy, photography, literature, martial arts, theater and seal carving.
Tongxiang has hosted international and national cultural events, such as the Wuzhen Theatre Festival and the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, to promote cultural communication and make Tongxiang more famous and influential. The local government also supports raising
Companies related to these sectors have achieved rising profits this year, according to official statistics. From January to August, the total output value of the city’s electronic information manufacturing industry exceeded 4 billion yuan, an increase of 8.6 percent year-on-year; and the revenue of the software and information service industries reached 250 million yuan, increasing 81.8 percent. The cluster, covering an area of 125 square kilometers, will attract high-end businesses in the fields of internet, fashion, advanced equipment manufacturing, new materials and key auto parts manufacturing, according to the government.