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Economic powerhouse shows its cultured side

(Shanghai Daily)

13:39, March 26, 2013

Shanghai Oriental Art Center(file photo)

WHEN it comes to the Pudong New Area, most people tend to focus on its booming economy and financial achievements.

However, after 20 years of astonishing economic development, Pudong is now establishing itself as a cultural powerhouse, too, and showing the world a brand-new "culture name card."

Recently, it selected its "10 Best" - including architecture, culture and creative industries, historical resources, public performances and more.

Hundreds of subjects were considered in this event, creating a wonderfully diversified, often eye-popping selection.

In May 2012, the "10 Best" selection began with members of the public posting photographs of their favorite cultural attractions in the district on the official weibo (Chinese version of Twitter) account.

While the local government had an input - through civic vote and discussions by professionals - the public played a major role through votes.

At the end of February this year, the account had more than 20,000 followers accounts and tweets were forwarded more than 30,000 times, reported officials.

Some residents literally got on their bikes to participate. Hong Jinlong, who is in his 70s and lives in Zhangjiang area, rode his bicycle to a post office just to cast his vote.

"Pudong has been developed for more than 20 years, yet I've often heard it still described as a 'cultural desert'," he says.

But through the "10 Best" selection, Hong was surprised to see so many outstanding attractions.

"This means that our area has been developing better and better culture, and I'm thrilled about this," says Hong. "And it's not only for me, my daughter-in-law and grandchildren all voted for the 10 Best. Pudong culture will only flourish and if we all become involved."

With some input from academics and civic opinion, on Saturday night, the long list of public nominations was whittled down to the top 10.

Included in the Pudong New Area's "10 Best" are the China Art Museum; Shanghai Science and Technology Museum; Pudong Library; Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival; and Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossom Festival.

An official from the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture Radio, Film and TV told Shanghai Daily that the "10 Best" selected are popular with the public and "many have rich histories."

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