2005: a Witness of "Cultural Suzhou"
The year 2005 witnessed steady advancement towards "cultural Suzhou" key-toned by ingenious innovations, breakthroughs, and gains.
The preservation of intangible cultural heritage continued to progress in the areas of Kunqu opera and ballad singing. The "project of protecting, inheriting, and promoting Kunqu Opera" was awarded special prize by Ministry of Culture, and Research Center for Preservation of Kunqu Opera Heritage was officially established in Suzhou along with specialized art centers for ancient zither, ballad singing, and Taohuawu woodblock prints of New Year pictures, etc. The municipality made public announcement of a series of lists of ancient villages, intangible cultural productions, and ancient architecture under official protection. Ministry of Culture and the provincial government jointly held "Forum on Protection of China's Intangible Cultural Heritage" in Suzhou. 15 applied projects from Suzhou were listed among the first protected items of intangible cultural heritage in the country. The ancient towns of Shaxi in Taicang City and Mudu of Wuzhong District were elected among the second group of historical and cultural towns of China.
Most noteworthy is the Kunqu Opera productions "Hall of Eternity" and youth edition of "Peony Pavilion", through cooperation among the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, which won high reputation in performing tours in China and overseas. The productions aroused great zeal in Kunqu Opera after presentation at the universities of Beijing, Nanjing, and Fudan. Suzhou ballad singing scored brilliant successes in performing in Taiwan, and was lauded by Song Chuyu, Chairman of People First Party, as a "national treasure" of China.
The cultural service system for the general public continued to be improved. Over 800 shows with over 800,000 audiences have been given for public entertainment. Suzhou Science and Culture Art Center, located by Jinji Lake, SIP, has got under way. The main buildings of Suzhou Museum, personally designed by the world-famous architectural maestro I.M. Pei, are near completion. A number of libraries, children's palaces, art galleries, and cultural centers were built in various districts. Cultural events in 2005 include the 60th celebration of the victory of the war against Japanese aggression and anti-fascist war, the 70th anniversary of the Long March, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Chen Yun, China (Suzhou) National Folk Art Demonstration Week, the 5th National Children's Drama Exhibition Performance, Zhangjiagang Yangtze Cultural Art Week, China Changshu Lake Shang International Cultural Festival, China Taicang Zheng He's Navigation Festival, etc.
Reform of cultural system is also making headway. The cartoon industry is emerging as a new industry. Cultural associations have been established in the fields of broadcasting and TV, museums, libraries, mass cultural activities, stage performances, entertainments, videos, Internet bars, and performing agents, etc., which formed a new, self-disciplined cultural system under government administration. The national-level cartoon industrial base was officially set up in SIP with the approval of National Bureau of Broadcasting, TV and Film, supported by the policies of the local government stipulated in "Statutory Measures for Supporting Cartoon Industries". "The Navigation Century", developed by cartoon industrial enterprise, won the grand prix of network game at 2005 China Video Games Competition. "The Red Boy on Flaming Mountain" won the "excellent cartoon award" at 11th Film Huabiao Competition, the best cartoon prize at 42th Taiwan Film Golden Horse Competition, etc.
Jan. 27, 2006