Minister: Culture the strongest bond linking China, US

Updated: 2014-06-29 03:54

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily USA)

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Minister: Culture the strongest bond linking China, US

Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu chats with visitors at the China pavilion of the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday morning. Cai is paying a visit to Mexico and the US, where he discussed with US officials on Friday about the upcoming 5th China-US High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. He will also go to Los Angeles to address the World Affairs Council. [Chen Weihua/China Daily]


The 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival which opened on Wednesday drew its largest crowds on Saturday morning, including many American families with children. One of the guests was China's Minister of Culture Cai Wu, who is visiting the United States and Mexico.

Going from tent to tent to chat with the participating Chinese folk artists and craftsmen and watch them performing in front of visitors, Cai said he wanted to express his gratitude to them.

"I hope the introduction of Chinese folk art can help Americans better understand Chinese culture and the Chinese people, and promote mutual understanding," he said.

Cai believes such exchange will lay a solid foundation of people-to-people exchange for the bilateral cooperation and the building of a new type of major country relationship, a concept agreed upon by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama when they met at Sunnylands, California, last June.

"The strongest bond linking the two nations, I think, should be culture," said Cai.

Besides talking with Chinese artists, including telling the 78-year-old legendary paper cut artist Gao Fenglian to take care in the hot weather, Cai also stopped and chatted with American visitors, asking how they like the games and programs.

A total of 108 Chinese folk artists and craftsmen are participating in the festival, which this year features only two nations: China and Kenya. The artists and craftsmen, from 15 Chinese provinces and municipalities, are selected from a long list of candidates.

The Chinese participation was decided at the 4th China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange held in Washington last November. The annual folklife festival, probably the largest cultural event in Washington, usually draws 1 million visitors a year.

On Friday, Cai met with Evan Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, and Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, to discuss the extension of a bilateral cultural exchange agreement expected to be signed in Beijing next month.

Cai also interacted with representatives from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowments for the Arts and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in a meeting on Friday about how to promote bilateral cultural exchanges.

On July 2, Cai is expected to address the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California, to discuss the growth of popular culture in China as a younger, more affluent, and overwhelmingly online generation seeks new forms of artistic expression that differ from traditional Chinese culture. Former Chinese President Yang Shangkun and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen both spoke at the council before.

Cai is also expected to visit cultural institutions such as the Huntington Library in San Marino, California and hold talks with executives from DreamWorks and the Walt Disney Corp. Both companies have been expanding in China.

Before going to Los Angeles, Cai was expected to visit Mexico from June 28 to June 30.

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