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Belt & Road Photography Exhibition on Humanities and History


Location:East Courtyard at the Garden of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility (Cining gong huayuan)

Dates: 2019-10-11 through 2019-10-27


In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the great cooperative initiative of a “Silk Road Economic Belt” and a “Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road”. This majestic time-and-space transcending concept, emerging from history and connecting the ancient and modern ages while connecting China to foreign countries, accommodates the current trend of peace, development, cooperation, and win-win approaches. Carrying on the dream of prosperous development of each country along the historic silk routes, the initiative gives the ancient trade system new significance in the current age. Over the past six years, the idea of the Belt and Road Initiative has already been transformed into action; vision has become reality as the initiative has become the largest international cooperative platform and most popular global public good.


An ancient Chinese saying states, “The beauty of a blended soup is in combining differences.” The diversity of human civilization is an essential characteristic of the world and a source of human progress. Civilizations communicate because of diversity, enjoy mutual appreciation via communication, and develop by virtue of mutual appreciation. In the Belt and Road Initiative, people from around the world are intimately linked through culture, continue the spirit of the Silk Road, advance mutual appreciation between civilizations, promote cultural exchange, and cooperate to build a community with a shared future for mankind.


During this extraordinarily significant occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, People’s Daily presents “Belt & Road Photography Exhibition on Humanities and History” at the Palace Museum. The exhibition is the confluence of intellectual and artistic achievements by a host of photographers, whose brilliant images depict the breadth, distance, complexity, abundance, and vividness of the history and lives of people in the countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative. Displaying differences in civilization among various countries, ethnic groups, and religions, the photographs present the interaction, amalgamation, and communication of mutual appreciation and coexistence while vividly reflecting the immense function exerted through the initiative to construct humanity’s shared destiny.

May each of the world’s ethnicities and peoples share unique beauties and contribute to the legacy of human civilization and development.

Section I: Winds of the Boundless Expanse

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Reflections by the Nile by Ai Jiaxian

The Belt and Road Initiative encompasses a network of civilizations combined in an epic poem. This section “Winds of the Boundless Expanse” presents a cross-cultural view of historic places and treasures of the humanities. The allure of the ancient routes of the Silk Road are seen through breathtaking natural wonders, towering buildings of urban centers, and the rustic appeal of traditional villages. The photographic representations of the historic routes evoke the sound of camel bells in the desert and the voyages of merchants sailing through the southern seas.

Section II: Neighbors in Distant Lands

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Ancient Stock Route by Yuan Yulong

Civilizations communicate because of diversity, enjoy mutual appreciation via communication, and develop by virtue of mutual appreciation. The routes of the Belt and Road Initiative link a brilliantly diverse panorama of humanity. The images in this section show unique contributions to humanity’s shared development and progress with highlights of cultural exchange. Featured works show prayers of the devout along India’s Ganges River, the freedom of life on the expansive steppes, fragrant tea culture in the mountains of Fujian, and artisans in the ancient cities of Morocco.

Section III: Shared Understandings

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The Highest Slam Dunk by Li Huaifeng

Since the Belt and Road Initiative was first proposed, international cooperation has been increasing rapidly with mutual aid and construction in every corner as Chinese enterprises have gone abroad to develop the international market. The initiative not only encompasses political, economic, and cultural exchange but also includes the thriving abundance of the natural world. The ecology and wildlife along the trade routes are the green protagonists of the initiative. The peoples of the historic lands of the time-honored paths with their traditional foods and activities are combined in shared understandings that span the eastern and western seas. By following the Golden Rules of shared commerce, construction, and enjoyment, the governments and peoples of the Belt and Road Initiative will definitely enjoy the peaceful, prosperous, open, green, innovative, and civilized path towards a wonderful future.

Section IV: Hello, Silk Road!

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Girl in the Caucasus Mountains by Li Ruoyu

The two major routes of the Silk Road extend from China with one crossing west through Central Asia and reaching European shores and the other following the Southeast Asian coastline through the Strait of Malacca on into the Indian Ocean and towards the Atlantic Ocean. More and more travelers are following these routes through the desert or on the high seas within this “One Belt, One Road” system. The images in this section capture moments that transcend nationality, ethnicity, language, and skin-color and freeze-frame the beauty of the world while displaying the vastness and tolerance of China’s bosom. The great concept of the Belt and Road Initiative give new significance to the ancient Silk Road and pave the way for peace, development, cooperation, and win-win results.

Section V: More Than Meets the Eye


Buzkashi by Shen Zhenhong

In the age of mobile media, photography is no longer an art with barriers to entry. Social media and technological breakthroughs allow anyone to become a photographer and share experiences frozen in time. This section features works selected from the Huawei Next-Image photography competition, one of the exhibition’s official partners, which included 52,000 works and over 150 countries and regions. The contest and showcase of mobile-phone photography are aimed at presenting a new perspective, aesthetic, and concept of the Belt and Road Initiative while encouraging people to use their devices to participate in a creative iteration of the cooperative international efforts. The new images of “One Belt, One Road” are more than meets the eye!

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying 

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