Shanghai unveils 5-year cultural development plan


Shanghai will reinforce its cultural strength in the coming years with a series of measures, including encouraging artistic creation and enhancing the importance of the city's historical heritage.

According to the city's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), Shanghai will become an international cultural metropolis by the end of 2025. The city government unveiled some detailed tasks on Thursday to help reach that goal.

New cultural venues, including the Shanghai Grand Opera House, the Pudong branch of the Shanghai Museum and the eastern arm of the Shanghai Library, will be ready before 2025.

According to Fang Shizhong, director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, Shanghai currently has about 250 museums and galleries. About 2,000 exhibitions are organized every year that attracts over 20 million visitors.

"These figures top the country," said Fang. "Shanghai welcomes curators with original and innovative ideas. The city is planning an 'art season' in the future when the many art venues can share their resources and attract international cooperation."

Apart from museums and galleries, Shanghai boasts thousands of cultural relics including historical buildings and former residences of celebrities.

Fang said Shanghai will explore and promote the city's historical heritage by getting the tourism industry to work with museums and galleries.

"Good architecture should be 'readable,' and help people get to know the history and culture of the city," he said. "We will also encourage the application of VR and AR technology to improve the experience of visitors to the historical structures, which can also help in protecting the old buildings."

Fang said public cultural space also plays an important role in promoting a high-quality spiritual life among citizens. More river and creekside public space and street-corner parks will be built. The annual Shanghai Citizen's Cultural Festival will also be upgraded.

Shanghai has been working to become one of Asia's capital cities for performing arts.

According to Liu Haiying, director of the publicity department's cultural reform and development office, about 40,000 performances were staged around Shanghai in 2019. The annual performance number is expected to reach 50,000 by 2025.

"We encourage more creations on historical, realistic and patriotic themes, as well as works emphasizing the characteristics of our era and regional culture," said Liu.

Shanghai plans to produce five original films or TV series and two stage productions every year. According to Liu, performances will be introduced on the campuses and to the "new cities" in suburban areas.

Theaters will be encouraged to stage long-term performances. Private troupes are encouraged to take part in the creation of residence performances for theaters. Other plans include upgrading ticketing systems and improve subsidy policies.

The annual Shanghai International Arts Festival will seek better international influence by introducing more premiere performances.