According to the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the government will “transfer its role from being the provider of cultural products to manager”; “encourage the development of non-public-owned cultural enterprises” and “further open up cultural markets by enlarging the scope of cultural exchanges.”
From the Mao era, when arts served the sole end of propaganda to the current day of governmental vision for culture as an industry, there have been considerable changes in the way culture is perceived in the People’s Republic.
Within China’s cultural industries, music – especially live music – has come to play a more and more important role. Music festivals only began to appear in the late 1990s, yet now there are more than 100 of these in different parts of China. In the not-for-profit arts sector, the Ministry of Culture has announced that it will establish a National Arts Fund, open to non-state-owned organizations and individuals.
Through building Confucius Institutes and Chinese Culture Centers around the world, the Chinese government hopes to promote the Chinese language and Chinese values globally. In recent years, the Ministry of Culture has also begun to fund independent artists, including rock bands, to perform overseas so as to establish a positive image of China.
However, the development of Chinese culture faces many barriers, most notably censorship. From film, press, to music, there is always an invisible line that is not to be crossed. China has already become the world’s second largest economy, but will it also be a big cultural power?