"Sing my folk songs; while I sing, my buddies follow; folk songs
sound like a river running in spring"
When the familiar melody of a traditional Chinese song rings in
ears, it brings to mind the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Dubbed the hometown of the goddess of folk songs - Liu Sanjie, a
heroine in a musical who is known for her witty ripostes in
question-and-answer songs - Guangxi is famous for its folk
The region is home to a great variety of ethnic groups, who
account for nearly 40 percent of the region's total population.
Many of the minority groups like Zhuang, Dong and Jing, have
unique singing customs. For them, singing is not only
entertainment, but a part of life as well.
Through singing, they make friends, find love, welcome guests,
and tell the history of their own race. In this way, the ethnic
groups' traditional culture is kept alive.
Nanning, capital of Guangxi, began hosting an annual
international folk song festival in 1993. About 100 artists from
around 11 countries and regions performed at the first
The Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival promotes the
preservation of local traditional ethnic cultures, an evidence of
the high value accorded to culture in the development plan for the
city and in the lives of locals.
Meanwhile, the festival also provides a platform for cultural
exchange, showcasing the host city's unique charms to the
With Nanning becoming the permanent venue for the China-ASEAN
Expo (CAEXPO) since 2004, the folk song festival has become an
event held concurrently with it each year, and is the highlight of
the opening ceremony of the expo.
With the fourth CAEXPO being held from October 28 to 31, the
curtains rose Sunday evening on this year's folk song festival.
The gala performance consisted of four sections represented by
four colors: red - celebrating the 17th National Congress of the
Communist Party of China; green - picturing an environmentally
friendly society; blue - showcasing the economic prosperity of the
Beibu Bay, a booming development zone in the city; golden -
focusing on Nanning winning the UN Habitat Scroll of Honor Award
Like in previous sessions, folk songs were still the main
attraction of the gala evening, with a number of ethnic singers and
bands offering the audience a series of exotic performances.
The participation of three local choirs, made up of 200 girls
from two primary schools, 200 conservatory undergraduates, and 200
retired people respectively, showcased locals' artistic capacity
and love of life.
Meanwhile, singers from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia,
Brunei and Singapore added a more varied Southeast Asian atmosphere
to the evening.
In addition to the opening ceremony, 19 folk song performances
were held in different parts of Nanning on October 29 and 30.
According to the Nanning city government, the festival has
attracted artists from more than 20 countries and regions.
The international art event helps present a revamped image of
Nanning as a dynamic modern city with a solid traditional and
A growing number of investors from home and abroad are being
drawn to this marvelous land.
Statistics show that during the 10th Five-Year Plan period
(2001-05), domestic investment reached 84.86 billion yuan, while
actual foreign investment increased to $259 million in 2005 from
$112.69 million four years ago.
Total foreign direct investment (FDI) stood at $443.83 million,
topping Guangxi's total FDI and accounting for 22.99 percent of the
region's total during the same period.
(China Daily October 31, 2007)