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Chinese culture beginning to make mark on global markets


Source: Xinhua    Published: 2018-1-30

When Danish author Tina Lynge Hansen published fantasy web novel Blue Phoenix, she said it was inspired by the Chinese fantasy genre xianxia, which literally translates as "immortal hero."

"It is a story that has caused me to spend countless hours researching Chinese culture and Taoism with the hope of getting a perfect understanding about the basics," she said in a post on

Her novel is just one example of how Chinese culture is being acknowledged by more and more people worldwide, who are eager to know more about the country than just the Great Wall or Jackie Chan.

Today, more forms of Chinese culture are resonating with people from around the world.

The world`s leading Internet-based video-on-demand service, Netflix, acquired the hit Chinese detective drama Day and Night at the end of last year and plans to make it available in all of its over 190 active markets.

In addition to Day and Night, Netflix has also streamed Nirvana in Fire, Ode to Joy, and Empresses in the Palace, among others.

Wolf Warrior 2 led the overseas box office figures for the nearly 100 Chinese movies released internationally in 2017. Chinese movies earned 4.25 billion yuan (about $662.7 million) in foreign markets last year, 11.19 percent more than the year before, according to China Film News.

Constant research

According to distinguished Chinese composer Tan Dun, who won the 2017 Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and is also a Grammy and Oscar winner, creative ideas come from years of constant research of traditional culture "like an archeologist."

Last year, Tan was invited to compose a piece of music for the exhibition "Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties" in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Through the use of modern art forms, historical relics and cultural heritage can be more widely understood by the general public. This is a tactic that has been utilized by many contemporary Chinese artists.

The experimental Peking opera Faust, which combines a classic German legend with an innovative form of traditional Chinese opera, was staged in Europe in 2015, and the Chinese ballet Peony Pavilion won acclaim in theaters in the UK and US.

Growing power

In November 2017, US President Donald Trump`s 6-year-old granddaughter Arabella Kushner made headlines after a video clip showing her reciting ancient Chinese poems and singing Chinese songs went viral during Trump`s China visit.

Kushner is just one of many American children learning Chinese. An increasing number of K-12 schools in North America and Europe offer Chinese language classes.

Kensington Wade is the first prep school in the UK to offer a dual-language English-Chinese education from ages 3 to 11, according to its website. The school opened in London in September 2017.

According to the headmistress Joanna Wallace, parents "want to equip their children with the Chinese language, as China is playing an increasingly important global role."

Confucius Institutes around the world have also played an indispensable role in promoting Chinese language learning. Since 2004, a total of 516 Confucius Institutes and 1,076 related courses have been established in 142 countries and regions, receiving more than 9 million students, said Ma Jianfei, deputy chief executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters.

Chinese literature has gained increasing recognition from global awards committees. Writer Mo Yan won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Liu Cixin, author of The Three-Body Problem, was the first Chinese author to receive the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015.

China is ready to build stronger cultural confidence, said a report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017.

"We must develop a socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, inspire the cultural creativity of our whole nation, and develop a great socialist culture in China," it reads.

However, the country still has a long way to go, said Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University.

"The most urgent issue is to match our cultural products with people`s` demands while preserving our own identity," Zhang said.

Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words:China   culture   Zhang Yiwu  

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