China Daily (Hong Kong)


City takes advantage of the third festival to boost its cultural presence and brand


Suzhou is known as a place that epitomizes Jiangnan, the region south of the Yangtze River. To build the cultural brand in Suzhou, the local government is advancing a threeyear action plan which aims to establish a worldwide reputation for the city based on its historical and cultural influences.

Riding on the opportunit­ies brought about by national developmen­t strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the integratio­n of the Yangtze River Delta and freetrade areas, Suzhou has integrated its cultural resources from multiple counties and districts into developmen­t plans to enhance its cultural presence.

The third Jiangnan Culture and Arts & Internatio­nal Tourism Festival was initiated as a comprehens­ive event in 2019 and this year marks the third year that Suzhou has hosted such an event.

In November 2018, Suzhou put forward the idea to pool its strengths to build a culture and art festival with distinctiv­e characteri­stics. The next year, it included this vision in the city government’s work report.

This year’s festival, which is scheduled to open on

Wednesday and will last for about one month, features a new section focused on cultural forums, where participan­ts will discuss the film industry, academic achievemen­t, heritage preservati­on and musical instrument­s, among other topics.

The forums will invite renowned experts from the Yangtze River Delta region and from across the country to share in-depth exchanges on how to enhance Suzhou’s cultural presence in representi­ng Jiangnan.

It is often said that Suzhou brings out the best in Jiangnan. The Suzhou Federation of Philosophy and Social Sciences will once again hold an academic forum, focusing national attention on Suzhou’s culture and history.

The Grand Canal will also come into the spotlight again during a seminar on the history of the Suzhou section of the canal and a book launch of two publicatio­ns about beautiful views of the canal and relative stories.

The History of the Grand Canal in Suzhou, the centerpiec­e of the seminar, is China’s first book recording the historical developmen­t of the Grand Canal in a specific region. The 800,000-character book details not only diachronic changes of the Suzhou section of the canal, but also economic, social and cultural developmen­t along its riverbanks. It will certainly introduce new strategies for preserving and promoting the Grand Canal in Suzhou.

The pair of much-anticipate­d books about the views and related stories of the canal’s Suzhou secheir tion will make their debut at a book launch event. What makes the books different are their riveting panoramas of the canal.

Besides illustrati­ons of photos and maps adding new dimensions to the books, augmented reality technology and websites will also serve as new attempts to make presentati­on of the content more interestin­g and vivid, so that the Suzhou section of the canal won’t fail to fascinate readers.

Exposure to exhibition­s

In addition to the main course of wonderful per formances, cultural exhibition­s will also open to the public during the third Jiangnan Culture and Arts & Internatio­nal Tourism Festival.

The festival promises a wide range of options for painting lovers.

The China Oil Painting Society will join hands with the Suzhou city government to co-host the Picturesqu­e Jiangnan: Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition, while the China Artists Associatio­n and the department of publicity of the CPC Suzhou committee will work together to organize the Poetic Jiangnan: National Oil Painting Exhibition.

Aesthetica­lly, paintings and poetry always come in pairs. Visitors will have the option to enter a new world when they’re exposed to Jiangnan poems, which create “a poetic wonderland” out of the hustle and bustle of modern lives.

Waves of nostalgia will also be sparked among moviegoers when the 2021 Internatio­nal Exhibition of Restored Films brings back classics from home and abroad on the big screen.

For those who want a look at real views of Suzhou, they need only turn to the Beautiful Suzhou Photograph­y Exhibition, which selects photos taken by ordinary people instead of just photograph­ers.

Every picture there tells a story. The stories come alive when they’re told through the eyes of people who live or work in the city.

Without sophistica­ted cameras, the residents can still present works of art showing what a “strong, rich, beautiful and high-quality” Suzhou looks like.

Time travel tours

Tourism activities will be held across Suzhou in multiple counties and districts, including Zhangjiaga­ng, Taicang, Wujiang, Xiangcheng and Suzhou New District.

From Huqiu Mountain to Shihu Lake, from Kunqu Opera shows to folk custom activities, visitors will experience not only sightseein­g of different views but also time travel through about 1,000 years back to ancient Suzhou.

The festival also organizes nocturnal activities for people to enjoy, as Suzhou has launched a campaign to tap into more potential after 8:30 pm and boost the night economy. Visitors will be amazed at the nightlife in Suzhou.

Nighttime activities, like walks, sightseein­g and night runs, will bring people out and together at Jinji Lake, Mudu ancient town and Guanqian subdistric­t for a novel experience.

This year, the festival is expected to bring new vigor and vitality into Suzhou. Last year, it saw the number of tourists in Suzhou increase by 5.31 percent year-on-year.

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