The Grand Canal is a cultural link between China and the world, and a cultural carrier that shows the open and inclusive spirit of Chinese civilization. We should tell the story of China’s Grand Canal itself and how it relates to the world
The Grand Canal of China is an artificial canal project and a precious cultural heritage that has been continuously completed from the 5th century BC to the first half of the 20th century. On June 22, 2014, the Grand Canal of China was selected as the World Cultural Heritage. The World Heritage Protection Campaign is a worldwide action under the leadership of UNESCO, the International Council of Monuments and Sites and other academic institutions. As an active participant, we have the condition and responsibility to tell the world the story of the Great Canal of China.
The excavation, development and prosperity of the Grand Canal is a history of the evolution of Chinese civilization, and also a history of the continuous enrichment, interaction and sublimation of Chinese culture. The Grand Canal has skillfully connected China’s east-west rivers, opened up the five major river systems, including the Haihe River, the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, the Huaihe River and the Qiantang River, and realized the integrated transportation of human engineering and natural waterways, which contains a lot of scientific wisdom, engineering skills, management talents and management experience.
The Grand Canal is a cultural link between China and the world, and a cultural carrier that shows the open and inclusive spirit of Chinese civilization. Looking back on history, the export of ancient Chinese silk, porcelain, tea and other products, the visit of the envoys from Japan and Silla to the Tang Dynasty, the Chinese monk Jianzhen to the east, and the travel of foreign envoys Marco Polo, King Sulu, Matteo Ricci, and Macartney were inseparable from the Grand Canal.
At present, 51 countries in the world have more than 500 canals, involving more than 3000 canal cities. The secretariat of the World Canal Historical and Cultural Cities Cooperation Organization is often located in Yangzhou, China. In the future, we should tell the story of China’s Grand Canal itself and how it relates to the world. These stories are displayed in the relevant canal project heritage, archaeological remains, museums, cultural relics protection units, historical and cultural cities and towns, intangible cultural heritage, and historical sites. We can tell stories well through tourism, the Internet, international exhibitions, international academic exchanges, and friendly city interactions. We can tell the story of the canal and the fate of mankind through the “canal”, a cultural symbol shared by the world, so that the Grand Canal culture can play a role in promoting international cooperation and popular understanding.
In recent years, in the process of building the Grand Canal Cultural Belt, the protection and utilization of cultural heritage along the Grand Canal have been significantly strengthened, and the pace of cultural relics protection and repair has accelerated. The Jiangsu section of the Grand Canal has completed a comprehensive plan for the protection and utilization of cultural relics and put it into practice. The Yangzhou China Grand Canal Museum has been completed and opened. A number of thematic museums along the Grand Canal have been completed and opened, and a large number of movable cultural relics have been well protected and displayed.
On July 24, 2019, the Central Comprehensive Deepening Reform Commission deliberated and adopted the Construction Plan for the Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the Long March National Cultural Park. As a national cultural park, the Grand Canal will be more committed to the protection, display and cultural sharing of the people, and will show the world the modern concept and national image of the Chinese people cherishing cultural heritage, pursuing harmonious development and building ecological civilization. The Grand Canal bears the functions of cultural protection, south-to-north water transfer, irrigation and water supply, material transportation, and ecological corridor. If the relationship between protection, inheritance and reasonable utilization can be well coordinated in the construction of the national cultural park, it can provide the world with Chinese wisdom.