A history of socio-cultural cooperation with SE Asia

By Luo Yongkun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 4, 2011
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Luo Yongkun 

China and Southeast Asian nations have long friendship in history. In ancient times, religion and cultural exchange occurred frequently. Folk songs and arts, as well as classical literature, from Southeast Asian countries also spread to China and vice versa, through which contact between China and Southeast Asian people became closer.

Since then, socio-cultural contact between the two sides has developed to a higher level, especially after 2003, when China and ASEAN established a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity. This new cooperation is now initiated by the governments, including a 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation that aims to promote exchanges and cooperation in culture. It was the first official document China signed with a regional organization on cultural exchange and cooperation.

Several other pacts followed, such as a development plan for cultural communication, a memo of understanding on information and media cooperation and an environmental protection strategy. Socio-cultural cooperation between China and ASEAN now covers public health, science and technology, education, culture, labor and social security, local government and people-to-people exchanges, environment, media, youth, social development and poverty reduction.

China Radio International has been a leader in forging media ties with ASEAN countries. Its Southeast Asia Broadcasting Center has conducted various activities in the last few years, such as a "cooperation tour" with other major radio and TV stations to their counterparts in Southeast Asia. It also established a radio station in China with the national Cambodian station.

Socio-cultural cooperation has also been characterized by improvement in sub-regional cooperation. The annual China-ASEAN Expo has been held in Guangxi since 2004 and has become a very important platform for China and ASEAN countries to strengthen cooperation. Since 2008, Guizhou has held a week of education exchange every year. The Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine has established training programs with the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand and the Vietnam University of Traditional Medicine and has hosted an international promotional program. Yunnan Province promotes cultural tourism and ethnic cultural exchanges.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of partnership between China and ASEAN. The Action Plan to Implement Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity also begins this year. In the coming years, the government will grant 10,000 scholarships to send Chinese abroad as well as receive guests from ASEAN countries to enhance socio-cultural cooperation between China and ASEAN.

Luo Yongkun is a research fellow with the Institute of South, Southeast Asian and Oceanic Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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