Knowing All about Hunan

Year-ender: Top 10 cultural events from 2019

Updated:2019-12-24 09:26:52

  The year 2019 is coming to an end, and the past 12 months witnessed several major cultural events that impressed us. Here we have selected the 10 most influential cultural events that happened this year to provide you a snapshot of the year.

  Visitors view exhibits at the Fourth Shanxi Cultural Industries Fair in Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, Dec 5, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

  1. Public opinion invited for draft law on cultural industries promotion

  The Ministry of Culture and Tourism began to solicit public opinions on a draft law on the promotion of cultural industries on June 28, 2019.

  The legislation move aims to boost healthy and sustainable development of cultural sectors and meet intellectual and cultural needs arising from people's aspirations for a better life, according to a notice by the ministry, which organized the drafting work.

  The draft law also stresses the importance of the integration of China's cultural and tourism industries, which regulates that the country should encourage and support the creation of cultural products based on tourism resources.


  A park in Liangzhu features ruins. [Photo by Wang Chuan/For China Daily]

  2. Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City included in UNESCO heritage list

  The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, which date back 5,300 years, were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan, on July 6, 2019.

  The ruins, whose core area covers 14.3 square kilometers in the northwest of Hangzhou, is considered an important representation of early urban civilization, with rice-cultivating agriculture as the economic foundation.

  The heritage site includes city ruins with palace and altar remains, 11 early-stage dams, and high-level cemetery sites. The Neolithic civilization was thought to last about 1,000 years until 4,300 years ago, according to archaeologists' research.

  China now has 55 entries to the World Heritage list, the most in the world.

  Pansy Ho Chiu-king (left), Stanley Ho's daughter, and Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture and Tourism, lift the curtain for the newly returned statue at National Museum of China on Nov 13, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

  3. Horse-head statue of Old Summer Palace comes home

  A red bronze horse-head statue was donated back by Macao-based tycoon and collector Stanley Ho Hung-sun and handed over to the National Cultural Heritage Administration in Beijing in November this year.

  The statue appeared in the National Museum of China and joined a temporary exhibition on cultural relics that have been returned from overseas since 1949.

  The newly returned horse-head red bronze statue was one of 12 decorative taps - in the form of 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs - which were set for a foundation in Xiyang Lou area (or Western Mansions), a group of Baroque architecture in the Old Summer Palace.

  Ho spent HK$ 69.1 million ($8.8 million) to buy the statue during an auction in September 2007 and decided to donate it back to the mainland on 20th anniversary of Macao's return to China on Dec 20.

  Photo taken on Feb 19, 2019 shows the night scenery at Wumen Gate of the Palace Museum, or the Forbidden City, in Beijing.

  4. Palace Museum opens Lantern Festival night tours for the first time

  The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, has extended its opening hours, allowing the public to celebrate the Lantern Festival at night in the ancient palace for the first time.

  The main locations open to the public include the Meridian Gate exhibition hall, the Gate of Supreme Harmony the East Wall and the Gate of Divine Might.

  It is the first time the museum is open to the public for free at night in its 94-year history, and the first time the ancient buildings in the Forbidden City are decorated with lights on a large scale at night, the museum said.

  Left: A 3D model of a Denisovan mandible found in Baishiya Karst Cave in Xiahe county, Northwest China's Gansu province. [Photo/Official WeChat account of Lanzhou Morning Post]; Right: File photo taken on July 5, 2019 shows a pair of gilded silver dragons discovered in a tomb in Arkhangai Province of Mongolia by a China-Mongolia joint archaeological team. [Photo/Xinhua]

  5. Baishiya Karst Cave recognized as one of top 10 archeological finds in 2019

  Baishiya Karst Cave in Xiahe county, Northwest China's Gansu province, was recognized by Archeologymagazine in the US as one of the top 10 archeological discoveries in 2019.

  Some 40 years ago, a Buddhist monk uncovered a mandible (lower jaw) in the cave, which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level on the Tibetan Plateau.

  Archeologists have verified that the mandible can be dated back 160,000 years, and analysis of proteins from its teeth indicates that it belonged to a member of the hominin species known as Denisovans.

  Besides, a rare pair of silver dragons discovered in Mongolia by local and Chinese scientists has also been added to the list of top 10 archeological discoveries by Archeology magazine.

  Zhao Mengfu's Letters. [Photo/]

  6. Zhao Mengfu's Letterssold for 267.4 million yuan

  Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) painter and calligrapher Zhao Mengfu's Letterswere sold for 267.4 million yuan ($38.2 million) with commission during an autumn auction at China Guardian in Beijing on Nov 19. The price has updated the highest record of the author's works on sale.

  In one of the letters, Zhao Mengfu recounted his ambivalent feelings as he was faced with the dilemma when the high-ranking official sent by Yuan Dynasty emperor came to Hangzhou and invited him to serve the new imperial count as well as the courageous attitude he took when there arising conflicts of interests between friends.

  The other letter described the care and sympathy he gave to his friends in economic troubles and the loneliness he felt when he was in the capital city alone.

  Now foraying into overseas markets, the runaway hit Ne Zhais the top contributor to China's box-office bonanza this summer. [Photo provided to China Daily]

  7. Ne Zhasecond place on mainland's all-time box office chart

  China's top-grossing animated film Ne Zhahas risen to the second place on the box office chart covering all the films ever screened on the Chinese mainland, behind only Wolf Warrior 2.

  Data from the China Movie Data Information Network as of Sept 2 showed that Ne Zhagrossed a total box office of around 4.7 billion yuan ($654 million) in the 39 days since its July 26 debut on the Chinese mainland.

  The film is loosely based on the tale of Nezha, a mythological figure from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel Fengshen Yanyi, or "The Investiture of the Gods."

  Directed by 38-year-old Yang Yu, who goes by the nickname Jiaozi, the film depicts Nezha as a mischievous boy with cute and ugly features instead of the attractive young figure that appeared in recent remakes.

  The film has been selected as the Chinese mainland's official Academy Award submission this year, had its first official academy screening.

  Fans of Godfrey Gao lay floral bouquets, photos and cards outside the filming location of Chase Meto mourn his death. [Photo provided to China Daily]

  8. Actor's death on reality show a wake-up call

  Chinese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao died of cardiac arrest after collapsing while filming a TV reality show in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province on Nov 27. The 35-year-old was on the set of Chase Me, a competitive sports reality show on Zhejiang Television.

  The death of Gao has not only shocked the world, but exposed the high price of fame. The incident stirred up a massive outcry on China's social media platforms, with netizens questioning the timeliness and effectiveness of first-aid rescuing services provided when Gao's deadly heart attack occurred.

  The China Television Artists Association's actors committee has cautioned actors to say no to overtime work after the sad news occurred. The committee also urged TV producers to ensure the safety of actors by giving them adequate rest and reducing the amount of physically intensive work.

  The writer Can Xue and one of Can Xue's works. [Photo provided to]

  9. Chinese writer Can Xue a popular candidate for Nobel Prize

  Chinese avant-garde writer Can Xue, penname of Deng Xiaohua, came to public attention because NicerOdds on Oct 6 listed her as the writer fourth-most likely to win Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019 and favorite among Chinese writers. Can Xue and the hit Japanese writer Haruki Murakami are tied for fourth place.

  Can was born in Changsha city of Hunan province in 1953. Not raised as a writer, she spent almost 20 years while being a worker, tailor, and medical practitioner. Yet she never gave up on her passion, and in 1985 published her first novel Yellow Mud Street.

  Her novel The Last Lover has been honored with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in US, widely considered a prelude award for the Nobel.

  Sharing a stylistic similarity with Franz Kafka, Can has been called the "Chinese Kafka" by permanent Nobel Literature Committee judge and renowned sinologist Goran Malmqvist. Malmqvist even believed Can could achieve more than Kafka, as she has already created more than 7 million words of literary composition.

  The Black Cat Detectivecartoon series, which ran from 1984 to 1987, was the brainchild of animator Dai Tielang. [Photo provided to China Daily]

  10. Beloved cartoonist passes away at 89

  Dai Tielang, director and scriptwriter of hit cartoon series Black Cat Detective, died of illness at 89 on September 4.

  Born in Singapore in 1930, Dai moved to China when he was 10. After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1953, he began working with Shanghai Animation Film Studio, where he helped produce more than 30 works.