B&R News: Belt and Road Initiative yields fruitful results in varied aspects
29 Aug 2018


Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China and the Belt and Road countries have made progress in cooperation in areas of culture, education, tourism, trade and more.


Since 2013, China has signed 76 bilateral cooperation documents on culture and tourism with B&R countries and established bilateral or multilateral culture and tourism cooperation mechanisms with ASEAN countries, Central and East European countries, Mongolia and Russia.


China has set up 16 culture centers in B&R countries, which have hosted more than 1,600 events. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is responsible for an international young sinologist training program and has already trained 360 sinologists from 95 countries.


The Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance is established in Shanghai this year to enhance information and film sharing, as well as the exchange of filmmakers and industry experts, and to start more joint projects. So far, China has reached film co-production agreements with 21 countries and regions along the B&R.


Aside from the film festival alliance, B&R Library Alliance formed in May 2018. Initiated by the National Library of China (NLC), the alliance has the first batch of 24 members from countries and regions such as Bangladesh, Belarus, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam to cooperate on document sharing, classics protection, and digitalization.


In the past 5 years, China also saw an increase in the number of international students from countries covered by the BRI. A total of 317,200 students from the B&R countries studied in China in 2017, up 11.58 percent over 2016, accounting for 64.85 percent of the total international students in China. The Silk Road Sunshine Fund (SRSF) proposed by Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce acts as one of the contributors. From 2017, SRSF has sponsored 60 outstanding students selected from B&R countries to study at top universities in Xi’an city, the starting point of ancient Silk Road.


Within the Belt and Road countries, China has set up 81 education institutions and projects as well as 35 cultural centers. In the first half of 2018, China spent over 270 million yuan (around $39.3 million) on the Silk Road scholarships.


Tourism industry along the Belt and Road also sees robust growth. The total number of inbound and outbound tourists between China and the B&R countries is expected to exceed 85 million by 2020, spending about $110 billion. The aggregate scale of international tourism along the Belt and Road accounts for around 70 percent of the global total, said Li Jinzao, China's vice minister of culture and tourism at the Belt and Road tourist city mayors' summit in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan province in May. According to the UNWTO’s report released at the summit, the number of tourists in the areas along the Road grew from 775,000 in 2012 to nearly 3.1 million in 2016, with 2.1 million coming from China. China has become a major driving force for the tourism in countries and regions along the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.


By June 2018, trade in goods between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative surpassed $5 trillion, with an average annual increase of 1.1 percent, according to the State Council Information Office’s report.


As the largest trading partner on the Silk Road, China has established 82 economic and trade cooperative zones in countries along the route and attracted 3,995 companies to the zones. Total investment in the zones has reached $28.9 billion, and generated 244,000 local jobs and tax revenue of more than $2 billion.


The country has signed or upgraded five free trade agreements with 13 countries along the route, and is expanding a high-standard free trade network covering B&R countries and serving the whole world.


Source: partly from Xinhua News Agency