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Fostering a new era in China-Bangladesh cultural exchanges

By Mohammad Saiyedul Islam | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-07-08 09:58

A man (right) takes photos of a train ready for a trial run along the newly-constructed mega rail line via the China-built Bangladesh's largest Padma Bridge on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sept 7, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China heralds a new chapter in cultural exchanges between the two nations. This visit is poised to forge enduring connections, nurture mutual respect and foster a shared appreciation for cultural diversity. With concerted efforts from both sides, this burgeoning chapter promises to bring substantial benefits to the people of both countries and lay a robust foundation for the sustained development of bilateral relations.

The enduring cultural exchanges between China and Bangladesh, spanning over two millennia, highlight the importance of such interactions in fostering lasting international friendships. 

Both nations have signed various bilateral treaties and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in socio-economic and cultural fields, fostering social and cultural exchanges such as language programs, academic scholarships, cultural trips, sports events and friendship visits. Additionally, people-to-people connections through business tours, tourism and media affiliations, as well as religious and philosophical exchanges, have flourished and continue to thrive.

Bangladesh holds a deep respect and appreciation for Chinese culture, valuing traditional elements such as Confucianism, Chinese medicine, sports, cuisine and classical literature. With China's rapid modernization, there is also significant interest in its modern culture, including scientific and technological advancements and contemporary art. It is Bangladesh's hope to further strengthen cultural exchanges with China to enhance mutual understanding and promote common development.

Cultural exchanges play a crucial role in eliminating misunderstandings and fostering friendly bilateral relations. In response to China's Global Civilization Initiative, these exchanges can significantly enhance mutual appreciation and cooperation between China and Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina's visit to China has opened a new chapter in cultural exchanges between the two nations. This visit symbolizes not only a deepening of political and economic cooperation but also the strengthening of people-to-people connections, which are crucial for fostering mutual understanding, trust and friendship.

China and Bangladesh, both with rich historical and cultural heritages, stand to gain immensely from these exchanges. This visit offers an excellent opportunity for both countries to learn from each other, further cementing their ties and contributing to a more interconnected and harmonious global community.

In the realm of education, an upsurge in student exchange programs between China and Bangladesh is on the horizon. China's prestigious higher education system is globally acclaimed, and Bangladeshi students are anticipated to receive more scholarships to study in China, immersing themselves in cutting-edge knowledge and technological advancements. Concurrently, Chinese students will have enhanced opportunities to explore Bangladesh's distinctive education system and cultural heritage. Recent years have seen a notable strengthening of partnerships between universities in both countries, with a rising number of joint training initiatives invigorating the talent development landscape.

Cultural exchanges are set to flourish further, particularly in art, literature and music. The unique artistic expressions of Bangladesh, including its traditional dance, music and literary works, are poised to gain greater exposure in China, captivating Chinese audiences with their distinctive allure. Likewise, Chinese cultural traditions such as Peking Opera, calligraphy and martial arts are expected to find a welcoming audience in Bangladesh, enriching the cultural fabric of the nation. Events like the previously held "China-Bangladesh Cultural Festival," which saw enthusiastic participation from both countries, underscore the potential for cultural integration and mutual appreciation.

Tourism stands as another pivotal component of this burgeoning relationship. Bangladesh, with its stunning natural landscapes and rich historical sites, is set to attract more Chinese tourists, boosting local tourism. Conversely, China's expansive territory and diverse tourist attractions are drawing interest from Bangladeshi travelers. By enhancing tourism promotion, simplifying visa processes, and other collaborative measures, both nations can facilitate greater people-to-people exchanges. Additionally, sports exchanges offer a valuable platform for fostering goodwill. Traditional and emerging sports activities, including friendly matches and sports training programs, can strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two populations.

The author is a doctoral candidate at the School of International Trade and Economics at the Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics in China, and a senior research fellow at Daffodil International University Belt and Road Research Centre in Bangladesh.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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