Culture Minister Wants More Chinese Culture in the World (But…)

Yes, it is the but… part that has caught your attention. The official Xinhua News Agency recently published an interview (in Chinese) with Chinese Culture Minister Luo Shugang on 13 July 2015 talking about official plans to develop culture in the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016–2020). (The but part, as you’ll soon discover, is that whilst there were plans, they remained rather too generalised, “much of the same”, and rather hard to guess at any large number of concrete innovations.)

Mentioned was a general plan to “improve the level of culture opening and to use that to “push” Chinese culture to the outside world”. A further goal was to, by 2020, create a “more complete culture structure through more channels, levels, and wider spheres” in culture communication both with the rest of the world, and with Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

What is rather worrying, though, is the sheer amount of “empty-speak”, which makes it quite hard to see any visible innovation so far. (But then again, for the new five-year plan, it is still rather early days.) Targets announced in a recent Culture Ministry meeting included “much of the same” (“fully give more play to importance of the party and the central government in all culture-related work”, amongst many others), although in terms of possibly new developments, the following could be identified:

  • further structural reforms in the cultural system (with the aim of enabling more breakthroughs in structure)
  • enabling the culture industry to act as a pillar industry in the Chinese economy
  • creation of a modernised culture market system
  • promote further integration betwen culture and technology
  • champion Chinese culture in the wider world
  • more focus on cultural relics

Otherwise, it was much the same — political links with culture remained firmly intact, and the pledge of “satisfying the increased, diverse demand of the people in regards to spiritual culture demands” remained part of an extant component.

It is, however, rather early to “call it shots” right now, as it is expected (or rather, speculated) that the upcoming 5th Plenary of the 18th Communist Party conference, to be held in autumn 2015, will give much more details about the new 5-year plans.

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