The year 2021 marks the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, and the country is achieving steady progress in the cultural realm. Let's review some of them and look forward to the coming year!
1. China releases new five-year plan for culture, tourism
China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism released the 14th five-year plan for the development of various sectors on June 2, laying out the overall requirements, development goals, major tasks and measures for the 2021-2025 period.
The plan sets out the major tasks of developing culture and tourism, including advancing social civility, establishing artistic creation systems for a new era, improving the protection, inheritance and utility of cultural heritage, and enhancing the modern tourism system.
"Efforts will be made to provide higher-quality and efficient public cultural services and greater accessibility and sustainability over the next five years," said Yan Xiaodong, an official with the ministry, at a news conference.
The ministry will continue to upgrade the structure of the cultural industry and promote the employment of new technologies and digitization. It will also deepen international cultural cooperation and strengthen cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
2. City of Quanzhou features on UNESCO World Heritage List
"Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China" was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in July during the 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee hosted in Fuzhou, Fujian province.
The new entry includes 22 sites and monuments across Quanzhou, which jointly reflect a prosperous picture of maritime trade from the 10th to 14th centuries.
The Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties witnessed a peak in ancient Chinese maritime trade, and Quanzhou, then known overseas as Zayton, grew into one of the busiest seaports in the world.
3. New finds at Sanxingdui Ruins site shed more light on ancient kingdom's culture
Archaeologists unearthed more than 1,000 significant relics at the six new sacrificial pits of the legendary Sanxingdui Ruins site in Southwest China's Sichuan province this year.
Among the important cultural finds are gold and bronze masks, bronze ware, more than 100 ivory tusks, textiles and jade.
The gold mask discovered at the No 3 pit at the Sanxingdui Ruins site in Guanghan, Sichuan province, is the biggest of its kind unearthed at the site so far and further illustrates the custom of the ancient Shu people using gold items, according to experts. Earlier this year, a likewise eye-catching gold mask was found at the No 5 pit.
The Sanxingdui Ruins, located in the city of Guanghan, are dubbed one of the greatest archeological finds of the 20th century.
4. Dance show on Tang Dynasty wins hearts
The dance show Tang Gong Ye Yan (Night Banquet in Tang Dynasty Palace) from 2021 Spring Festival gala of Henan Satellite Television, became a big hit earlier this year.
The show presents the process from making preparations to performing by a group of female musicians at a banquet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It breaks the stereotype of lyric atmosphere of Chinese classic dance and offers an amusing and real-life sense.
In addition, Henan TV has continued the Magical Trip series and brought forward other Chinese traditional festival-themed programs in the whole year, winning much acclaim. For example, the underwater dance titled Rhapsody on the Luo River Goddess from its Dragon Boat Festival Magical Trip series went viral online and has been viewed more than 20 million times.
5.The Battle at Lake Changjin: top earner at China's box office
Set during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), the film centers on a heroic company of the Chinese People's Volunteers army, reflecting CPV soldiers' iron will and great spirit to safeguard the then newly founded People's Republic of China.
Resonating with an audience running into the millions and enhancing their pride in China's great achievements, the film The Battle at Lake Changjin became hugely popular, smashing a total of 26 records, mainly in terms of box office and admission figures.
The 176-minute film, which cost 1.3 billion yuan ($202.7 million), became the most expensive of its kind in China. By Nov 24, its overall box office surpassed 5.69 billion yuan ($891.1 million), replacing Wolf Warrior 2 at the top of China's all-time box office charts.
6. TV series marking CPC history occupy screen
This year has witnessed a number of TV dramas narrating the history of the Communist Party of China, as 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of CPC.
The 43-episode TV series The Age of Awakening narrates how Chinese intellectuals and young people in the early 1900s, including key CPC founders Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, strove to salvage a nation convulsed with corruption, foreign aggression, and other setbacks, to form a communist party against all odds.
Glory and Dream, a 40-episode revolutionary TV series, chronicles the milestone chapters in the history of the Communist Party of China, ranging from the Party's founding to Red Army's Long March (1934-36) and Chinese People's Volunteers entering Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fight in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.
The 32-episode TV series Juemi Shiming (The Confidential Missions), focuses how the early years of CPC established its revolutionary hub in the south of Jiangxi province centering Ruijin while it faced the blockade of Kuomintang.
7. Qing Dynasty scroll marks the most expensive painting in 2021
Settling Down the Western Regions and Presenting Prisoners, a hand scroll from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was sold for 414 million yuan ($65 million) with commission fee on June 6 this year at a Poly's auction, marking the most expensive Chinese ancient paintings in 2021, also the third of its kind in the world.The painting, 42 cm long and 1,800 cm wide, is created by Xu Yang, an imperial court painter of the Qing Dynasty. It depicts a historical moment using a realistic technique, featuring another masterpiece of court painting during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty.
8. Noted translator Xu Yuanchong dies at 100
Xu Yuanchong, a noted translator in China and a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of Peking University, died at 100 in Beijing in June this year.
Xu dedicated his career to building bridges among the world's Chinese, English and French speaking people, translating Chinese works into English and French, and major Western publications into Chinese. He devoted himself to literary translation for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on English translations of ancient Chinese poetry.
9. Reality show Call Me By Fire becomes hot topic
The reality show Call Me By Fire, which premiered on Mango TV, a livestreaming platform, became a hot topic on Chinese social media this year.
Featuring over 30 male celebrities, such as singers, actors and dancers, the talent show not only brings out formal performances but also the diversity of the celebrities' daily lives. The show captured a large fan base soon after it was first streamed.
Last year, Mango TV launched a reality show, named Sisters Who Make Waves, which gathered 30 women celebrities all above the age of 30. The show was considered successful as the entertainment industry in China traditionally has favored women in their early 20s or even younger.
Call Me By Fire also has male celebrities competing in different groups. They live together and work as teams to brainstorm ideas and produce new work.
10. Music video of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games' motto song grabs spotlight
Music video of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games' motto song, titled Together for a Shared Future, was released on Nov 15.
Featuring pop star Yi Yangqianxi, the music video follows people's real stories related to the Winter Olympic Games, including a Beijinger, Gong Hubiao, 60, who loves sports since childhood and carved patterns of 30 Winter Olympics events into a set of themed seals.
As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games approaches, numerous events are taking place to embrace the big event. Chinese artists are creating artworks such as snow sports-themed dough figurines and paintings to express their hopes and expectations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Recently, a Winter Olympics-themed Day was celebrated in New York, bringing the 2022 Winter Olympics closer to American citizens. A photo exhibition themed "Together for a Shared Future" was also held in Israel, impressing Israeli visitors with the charm of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.