Cultural events held to strengthen China-Serbia ties

The beautiful view of Belgrade, Serbia Photo: VCG

The beautiful view of Belgrade, Serbia Photo: VCG

A number of cultural events are being held in Beijing and Belgrade to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between China and Serbia amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in Belgrade on Tuesday for a state visit to Serbia. 

Jointly hosted by the China Media Group (CMG) and Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), an event named “What Mountains and Rivers Divide, Friendships Unite” was held in Belgrade on Tuesday to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.

“China is the only country in the world with a fixed documentary broadcasting time slot on RTS,” said Dragan Bujošević, general manager of RTS, at the event. 

Several documentaries co-produced with its Chinese counterpart were aired during the recent Chinese Image screening event in Serbia, becoming another successful example of media cooperation between Serbia and China, said Bujošević, adding that the two sides will deepen cooperation in the future, producing more outstanding works together, and showcasing the flourishing friendship between the two countries to the world.

Since the China Image screening was launched in Belgrade on April 25, a dozen CMG-produced films and TV shows have been aired on RTS, showcasing the vitality of China in the new era and telling stories of China-Serbia friendship to local audiences.

Li Ming, the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia, said in a video speech that recent years have seen profound exchange and cooperation between the two countries in the humanities, deepening the mutual understanding and admiration of each other’s culture. The screenings serve as a fresh link, fostering stronger connections between the two peoples.

CMG also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Tourism Organization of Serbia. Both parties will collaborate on joint program production, planning and promotion of events, to facilitate the widespread dissemination of tourism culture between the two countries.

Moreover, a Serbian animated film screening event was recently held at the Cultural Center of Serbia in Beijing.

Curated by the PI School of Animated Film based in Vranje, Serbia, the event featured 10 animated short films created with puppets, clay, collages and other children’s toys.

Jasmina Stojanovic, principal and director of the school, said that they brought these various animated films with different themes and styles to China, seeking to engage in exchanges with the Chinese counterparts and audiences.

Cultural and artistic exchanges have strengthened the bond between the two countries. The event provides an opportunity to share Serbian narratives with Chinese audiences, fostering deeper mutual understanding between the peoples of both countries, said Stojanovic.

High-speed railway draws countries closer together

A passenger train travels on the Belgrade-Novi Sad section of the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway on March 6. [Photo/Xinhua]

For Miroslav Milovanovic, a Serbian living in Belgrade, traveling from the capital to Novi Sad to meet his girlfriend had been a rather unromantic experience, the bus ride taking up to three hours.

Traveling by train could halve the time, but at 40 kilometers an hour, that trip was not exactly lightning-fast either.

That all changed two years ago when a high-speed train with a designed top speed of 200 km/h came into service, cutting the journey to just half an hour, making Milovanovic’s long-distance relationship a lot sweeter, and saving thousands of commuters who live and work in the two cities a lot of heartache.

In the high-speed railway’s two years of operation, nearly 7 million passenger trips have been made on the section, and an average of 62 passenger trains are operated every day, with peak daily passenger volume reaching 15,059, said China Railway International Group, the company that heads the Chinese consortium responsible for its construction.

The 80-km Belgrade-Novi Sad railway is part of the 342-km Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway linking Serbia and Hungary, a key Belt and Road Initiative project. Once brought into full operation, the railway will reduce travel time between the capitals from eight hours to just three.

Serbia was among the first supporters of the initiative, and the country has reinforced its ties with China since the inception of the BRI in 2013, underlining how it has paved the way for common prosperity.

Duan Wei, deputy chief engineer of the Chinese joint venture, who has been working on the Serbian section of the railway project since August 2017, has witnessed the changes.

“As the high-speed train has shortened travel time, it has facilitated the movement of people and cargo, driving the development of trade and tourism along the line,” he said.

“The opening of the route has also created jobs because building and running the railway requires a lot of labor, including workers, technical personnel, station staff and train attendants.”

Locals are extremely hospitable toward Chinese working on the project, he said.

“In fact, many people turn up at our construction sites with water and home-cooked food for the workers.”

On April 25, the Belgrade-Budapest railway project reached a notable milestone, when track-laying for the Novi Sad-Subotica section, another Chinese-built section, was completed in the Serbian city of Backa Topola.