Ningbo, a coastal city in China’s southeast Zhejiang province, was on Tuesday named 2016 East Asia Cultural City in a programme established by China, Japan and South Korea.
Ningbo and two other cities, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province and Changsha in Hunan province, were the finalists for the honour, as chosen by a 15-member committee of officials from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and experts in the fields of cultural exchange, “intangible cultural heritage protection and inheritance” and “cultural service system construction”.
The final judging took place in Beijing last week with representatives of the three candidate cities making their cases in turn. The committee gave the highest score to Ningbo after its deputy mayor, Zhang Minghua, pointed out that it has several “cultural brands”, numerous regional advantages and rich experience in exchanges and cooperation with Japan and South Korea.
The East Asia City of Culture programme was first mooted by the culture ministers of the three countries at a conference in Nara, Japan, in January 2011. Its aims are to promote unity amid cultural diversity and allow the three countries to foster mutual understanding.
Quanzhou in Fujian province and Qingdao in Shandong were the chosen cities of culture in 2014 and 2015, respectively. |Both used the honour to good advantage, boosting culture development, adding |vitality to urban life and enhancing their international reputations.
Ningbo has 23 national-level examples of “intangible cultural heritage”, such as the Yue Kiln technique, Fenghua cloth dragon dance and Ninghai painted lacquer art.
As an important seaside |port for the Silk Road, the city has long boasted cultural diversity.