silk road

China is digging deep into its cultural roots to anchor a seamless revival of the ancient Silk Road, in tune with a growing domestic focus on tapping the achievements of its past.

A bit of China has arrived in Los Angeles, in the form of an extensive exhibit at the Getty Center that recreates an ancient landmark along the legendary Silk Road. [...] The Cave Temples of Dunhuang, also called the Mogao Caves, is a complex of almost 500 caves in northwest China that was active between the 4th and 14th centuries.

China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative clearly reads as an audacious vision for transforming the political and economic landscapes of Eurasia and Africa over the coming decades via a network of infrastructure partnerships across the energy, telecommunications, logistics, law, IT, and transportation sectors. 

February 21, 2016

In an age far less connected than today, the Expo was an opportunity for countries to showcase their very best, influencing the development of commerce, art and architecture, education, technology and tourism. Inventions such as the telephone, aluminium and steel were first presented at such exhibitions.

The original Silk Road, established more than 2,000 years ago, was a critical network of trade routes that promoted economic, political, and cultural exchange among Asia, Africa, and Europe. China’s new “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Twenty-First Century Maritime Silk Road” will do the same, with newly built or upgraded infrastructure facilitating the flow of trade, investment, culture, and ideas — and thus supporting shared economic growth.

It turns out that the Chinese leadership has no problem with the idea of harnessing cutting-edge Western soft power for its own purposes. In fact, they seem convinced that no possible tool should be overlooked when it comes to moving the country on to the next stage in the process that China’s Little Helmsman, former leader Deng Xiaoping, decades ago designated as the era in which “to get rich is glorious."

A multi-media promotional campaign for international cultural exchange along the ancient Silk Road was launched on Sunday at the Xinjiang Pavilion Square of Tianshan Tianchi scenic spot in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. [...] Historically, Xinjiang is an important passage of interflow between Asian and European civilizations, which has played a unique role in exchanges between the East and West.

Today it is known as the Karakoram Highway, a twisting road carved high into the mountains along which trucks inch their way south through China and into Pakistan. You can trace the origins of this dizzying pass back to the Han dynasty, when it formed part of a trading route stretching 4,000 miles. Merchants would ferry valuable Chinese silk to markets as far west as Italy, collecting ideas from the world’s great cultures and depositing them as they went.