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Asian, European Officials Face Hollywood Threat

Culture officials from Asia and Europe say globalization does not necessarily mean that the influence of Hollywood movies will destroy indigenous cultures.

During the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on Cultures and Civilizations, the largest cultural ministerial meeting of its kind held in China, senior cultural officials from 26 ASEM members dismissed claims that Hollywood films will devastate world civilizations.

Brunei, with a long history, is greatly influenced by the western culture represented by Hollywood, said Haji Jemat Haji Ampal, Brunei permanent secretary of the ministry of culture, youth and sports. He was deeply concerned about the impact on local culture, he said.

Every culture absorbs elements from others but stands independent with its own characteristics, said Lee Boon Yang, Singaporean minister of information, communications and the arts. Any nation that expects to conduct exchanges with the outside world can not evade the impact of globalization, Lee said.

Citing the example of Chinese language programs topping ratings in Singapore where the English language has a dominant position, Lee was optimistic that native culture still enjoys great charm and potential under globalization.

Native culture is rooted in a nation and not likely to be influenced by foreign cultural elements, said Hong Yongping, deputy director of Chinese Culture Ministry's Policies and Regulations Department.

The alien culture will intrude on another culture only when it stops progress or cuts itself away from the outside world, said Gunter Mulack, German ambassador of the federal foreign office.

It is more important for Asian and European nations to develop innovation and spread their own cultures all over the world, said Delfin Colome, executive director of the Asia-Europe Foundation. Avariety of cultures in the United States exist in harmony although some people are afraid of the Hollywood prevalence around the world, said Colome.

(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2003)

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