On October 30, the 2017 China (Wuyi) International Forum on the Protection of Historical Villages was held in Yuyuan. Attending the opening ceremony were Chen Jianwen, member and secretary of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles; Qiu Yunhua, Party secretary, vice president, and secretary general of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association; Carmine Gambardella, professor, CEO and president of BENECON, and UNESCO Chair on Landscape, Cultural Heritage, and Territorial Governance; Li Xiankui, director of the Foreign Affairs Department of the former Ministry of Construction; Tian Yuyuan, secretary of the Party Committee and vice president of the Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles; Xu Xiao, member and secretary of the Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles; as well as county leaders Zhang Xinyu, Zhang Xusheng, Guo Zhongming, Qian Jianguo, Zhu Peng, Zhong Xiaogu, Huang Hongmei, and many other provincial, municipal, and county leaders. 150 national and international experts in folk literature and arts, vernacular architecture, folklore, history, and other experts and scholars in various fields were also present.
Zhang Xinyu, secretary of the County Party Committee, recounted in his speech that Wuyi is an ancient town south of the Yangtze River with over 1700 years of history. Seclusion, regimen, and Ming Zhao cultures enhance each other’s beauty. Wuyi began as a farming civilization, and over 100 historical villages are well preserved here. Zhang also mentioned that historical villages are the soul of the nation and the root of culture. In recent years, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association have committed their work and efforts toward the protection of historical villages and cultural inheritance. An immense amount of work has been done that has brought fruitful results. More than 150 Chinese and foreign experts and scholars gathered in Yuyuan to discuss the further development and protection of historical villages.
Chen Jianwen delivered a speech about strengthening the protection and culture of historical villages and promoting the building of a moderately prosperous society and “Beautiful China.” Facing the new demands of the new era, a path combining of the traditional and the modern, the economic and the cultural, the natural and the social harmony of the historical village’s protection should be actively explored.
Tian Yuyuan said in his speech that the historical villages of Zhejiang Province are vibrant and picturesque; they are an important reflection of the spirit of Chinese aesthetics, as well as an important carrier of the traditional culture the south of the Yangtze River. He hopes that more experts and scholars will be interested in researching different aspects of the historical villages’ protection, and that there will be more places where local governments value the importance of the protection and development of traditional villages. He also hopes more people will be eager to continue enhancing the social consciousness of the protection and development of such villages.
Feng Jicai, former vice chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and chairman of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association, sent a congratulatory letter to the conference. In his letter, he said that the importance of the protection of historical villages has become the consensus of the whole nation. Wuyi has a long history and profound cultural heritage, and, most importantly, the people and the government of Wuyi cherish their own unique cultural wealth. This is why it has become the host of the international conference, as an embodiment of the conference’s intentions. Therefore, Jicai hopes that all the experts will actively participate, support, and contribute to the common effort to preserve the charming historical villages of Wuyi. In turn, it will become a model of the protection and utilization of the historical villages of China. (Translated by Nataliia Litvinova, edited by Kendra Fiddler)