How the internet has boosted Chinese culture globally

Visitors watch replicas of murals in the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang in Beijing on July 10, 2022. Photo/Xinhua

Visitors watch replicas of murals in the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang in Beijing on July 10, 2022. Photo/Xinhua

Published Nov 18, 2022


The profundity of Chinese culture is being spread around the world at an accelerated pace thanks to the Internet.

Recently, He Zhiyun, chairman of the New Zealand Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Center, has been busy preparing for the online version of the annual Spring Festival gala for New Zealand's Chinese community.

"The four-hour-long online Spring Festival gala will include wonderful programs presented by artists from various countries, including China and New Zealand. Viewers around the world will be able to enjoy a Chinese cultural feast online," He said, noting that the Internet has become an essential channel for spreading Chinese culture.

The Chinese community in New Zealand has also held a range of online cultural activities, including calligraphy competitions and singing contests.

"The Internet connects target audiences across the world, playing a unique role in sharing Chinese culture with other countries," He said.

In recent years, culture-themed videos created by Chinese short video bloggers have attracted large numbers of followers on overseas social media platforms. Chinese cuisine, traditional craftsmanship, and customs of different ethnic groups recorded in short videos have sparked great curiosity among overseas netizens.

Videos can break down the barriers of language and culture and help Chinese culture go global, said Chen Rui, chairman and CEO of Bilibili, a Chinese video-sharing platform popular among young people, at the World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit, which was recently held both offline and online.

Over the past few years, the digitization of China's cultural heritage and the promotion of Chinese culture on overseas online platforms have demonstrated that digital media has continuously expanded the influence of Chinese civilization.

The Internet has played an important role in helping introduce the culture of Dunhuang, a city known for its Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province, to the world.

Thanks to the launch of Digital Dunhuang, a digital platform for the exhibition of the Mogao Grottoes, in 2016, online visitors across the world can enjoy high-resolution images and take virtual tours of 30 grottoes. One year later, the English version of Digital Dunhuang was launched. So far, users from countries including China, the U.S., the UK, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Russia, Canada, France and Spain have visited the digital platform.

By leveraging Internet-based platforms and technologies, Digital Dunhuang showcases the Mogao Grottoes, a splendid treasure of Chinese civilization and the crystallization of cultural integration and mutual learning among the diverse civilizations on the ancient Silk Road, to the world, said Su Bomin, director of the Dunhuang Academy.

Digital Dunhuang will also play a vital role in helping civilizations around the world engage in dialogue and exchanges in the new era, according to Su.

"The Internet has created new conditions for extending the reach and appeal of Chinese civilization," said Fang Xingdong, executive director of the Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication Research Center at Zhejiang University.

While the Internet better presents Chinese culture to the world, it has also deepened exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, as it has transcended the barriers of time and space.

The National Museum of China, together with 33 other museums in China and abroad, held an online event this July to showcase treasures in their collections and the culture behind them. At the event, 10 curators from Chinese museums told Chinese stories about these treasures.

Industry insiders said the Internet builds a bridge of interaction among different countries and civilizations.

"In the Internet era, we need to grasp laws of international communication, employ new ways of thinking, continue to make our communication more effective, and better shape a reliable, admirable and respectable image of China," Fang said.