Cultural Exchange

Deepening Cross-Cultural Exchange through the Belt and Road

Hit by the 2008 global financial crisis, the world economy has been relatively sluggish. We now need new momentum to boost global development and international win-win cooperation towards a new peak for the world economy. For this purpose, we should seek for new room of cooperation and further cross-cultural exchange. Among all efforts, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) contributes enormously to the recovery and development of the global economy, and plays an significant role in the exploration of new room for Asia-Europe cooperation. To broaden and deepen the vital Asia-Europe cooperation, the west and the east should strengthen cooperation and exchange not only on economy but also on culture. In the time when economic globalization and cultural diversity prevail, the Initiative aims for common prosperity through joint efforts to find new economic impetus by gathering all hands from the world and increase cross-cultural exchanges.

The fine traditional Chinese culture, profound and extensive, endures the challenges throughout 5000 years and becomes an indispensable base of China’s soft power to rejuvenate. One of the key concerns of the BRI is to promote Chinese culture, which should also be every Chinese’s responsibility to shoulder on. In this process, we need to enhance the culture’s appeal and impact and take it to a larger stage. Rationality is what we need to treat both traditional and foreign cultures. We should learn the best from other civilizations with an open mind while promoting ours.


In March, 2015, President Xi Jingping commented at the annual meeting of Boao Forum for Asia that “In promoting this initiative, China will follow the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The programs of development will be open and inclusive, not exclusive. The Initiative is not a solo by China itself, but a chorus by the world together. It doesn’t replace any established regional cooperation mechanism or initiative. Instead, we will build on the existing basis to help countries align their development strategies and form complementarity. We hope to nourish not only the single blossom of Chinese culture, but flowers of all civilizations to paint an iridescent world. Participants of the Initiative ranges from capitalists and socialists, advanced western countries and emerging countries. It remains a topic how the BRI leads us towards mutual learning and furthers cross-cultural exchanges. ”

Complete networks of infrastructure not only help to reduce fees for international trade, but facilitate the cross-broader transfer of factors and expand trade and investment to new areas. Till now, many developing countries are stuck on a plateau of slow development due to lag-behind sectors such as electrical and transportation industries. Some developing countries, despite mature infrastructure, may need to solve such problems as outdated management and equipment for further improvement. Also, obstacles still exist in Asia-Europe trade. Difference in standards, for instance, may results in asymmetry of commercial information and waste of resource. Therefore, all participants should coordinate to better their infrastructure, and lay a solid foundation for cultural communication and development that benefits all.

One of the main purposes of the Initiative is to achieve stable growth along the route. Accurate positioning based on local economic and industrial conditions is a crucial drive for the along-the-route economy. Countries should have a clear picture of their conditions, make the best of their industrial advantages and support the state-level policies by doing their job well.

We should explore the advantages of cultural industries. Most countries along the Belt and Road enjoy long history and profound cultures, abounding in economic resources and competitive industries. But their economic development is somehow limited by problems like overlapping economic resources and overcapacity in some industries. Under this circumstance, countries should sharpen their edges, as when all ‘edges’ are combined, the economy along the route will boost and cultural exchanges will be deepened.

Countries need accurate positioning of their cultural industries. They should position their industries accurately in the market to seize the economic opportunities. That means countries should, besides tapping into cultural resources, compare with each other to find the most promising industries to themselves, so as to optimize the industrial structure in this region. To be specific, they should have a good command of state and regional policies to locate their competitiveness, and to tailor their industrial structures to the needs of economic and cultural progress.

Countries and regions differ in environmental, cultural and political conditions. The best way to drive their economic and cultural growth is to formulate appropriate policies based on their own status quos. To coastal cities, for instance, their economic stimulus can be port construction. Inland cities, though not endowed with geographical superiority, may seek for growth through offering related trade-facilitating services along the route.

Coordination among countries and regions is highlighted under the Initiative, and one crucial factor is to properly distribute profits and benefits. To this end, we should first balance the profit scales to achieve win-win cooperation while sending more helping hands to developing countries. Enhancing communication is conducive to economic development for all. There are still barriers between Asia and Europe though efforts have been made to reduce them for years. These economic drawbacks include restrictions on anti-dumping, market access and cultural exclusiveness. To solve these problems, participants to the BRI should leverage the various BRI dialogue mechanisms to foster mutual trust. We need to increase trust-based in-depth economic and cultural dialogues, and further open up economically for prosperity, because economic development facilitates cultural communication.

Problems faced by countries are many-sided. Some of them originated from the states’ defective structures; some are periodical; some are due to the lack of cross-cultural exchanges. But most of the problems are not limited within one region. Addressing these problems requires close cooperation among participants or even beyond. These challenges result more from intertwined factors than seem-to-be border issues. Only by fostering win-win cooperation and exploring new areas for development can we revive the impetus for growth and remain on the track to sustainable development.

“As the wind rises and the ocean roars, we should set sail to conquer; as numerous obstacles lie ahead, we should join hands to march on.” The Belt and Road Initiative provides new form, philosophy and measures for international cooperation against the backdrop of fast-escalating globalization and regionalization. In new era, in particular, the Initiative facilitates East-West communication through a variety of cultural exchange efforts in recent years, including the Silk Road International EXPO, the overseas Chinese Culture Centers and cross-civilization dialogues. Later on, we should continuously seek for common progress though comprehensive cooperation, work together to forge ahead economic globalization, and jointly build a harmonious and prosperous world.