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Xiaoshan: How to Make a Cultural and Economic Boom True along the Canal
2024-06-18 09:51      Source:Hangzhou China      

On June 8, the first episode of “Comedians’ Alliance” was aired in Xiaoshan’s Yaqian Historical and Cultural Block on the banks of the Eastern Zhejiang Canal. This is another new landmark TV show with its six broadcasting channels, like the in-house show, outdoor reality show, and live show streaming, etc.

You might not have heard of Happy Media but chances are you’ve watched its hit productions, including a dozen popular comedy shows like Laugh out Loud Club, Happy Comedy Men, and Comedy Battles, as well as the hit film Hi, Mom. Happy Media signed an agreement to set the headquarters in Yaqian on May 17, just 15 days away from the initial contact. Wang Weiqiang, a senior official of Yaqian’s CPC authority, said “Yaqian was the place where China’s farmer revolution against imperialism was triggered a hundred years ago. Now, it has come alive again with the captivating Grand Canal and the rise of the cultural industry.”   

The unveiling of Yaqian Historical and Cultural Block signifies a milestone in Xiaoshan’s efforts on stuffing its residential blocks with cultural elements. It marks the end of the project in which the so-called “cultural blocks” have been in operations at the eastern and western ends of the local section of the Eastern Zhejiang Canal.

Throughout the blocks’ revival, the Canal remains a constant, underlying theme amidst the urban evolution. A vivid illustration is found in the transformation of the historic area by the West Railway Station, where riverbanks now bustle with hubs like Dongchao and Xiaoranshan Street. In just a couple of years, this area has risen to be a provincial district of cultural preservation. It has also become an epitome of Hangzhou’s pursuit of a humanity-based economy.

Hu Chao, the operations director of Dongchao Art Park, said that “all ideas we had before were based on the Canal, with a focus on the riverbanks that possible cultural themes and regular events can fit in.” Over the past two years, he has worked out a variety of cultural activities for Dongchao. The 300 activities he created all featured small-sized but high popularity, making the park itself a drive of the block’s prosperity. The following July will witness a coffee day brimming with the Canal elements.

Chen Hao, a regular to Dongchao, said “the park pushes us closer to the Canal heritage.” It is true that, as the historical blocks of Xiaoshan’s Railway West Station and Yaqian became new landmarks, the Eastern Zhejiang Canal has returned. 

Mao Lei, director of Xiaoshan Creative Industry Center, said “social capital and workforces are used to protect and develop the Grand Canal. We do it for three purposes, i.e. to make it appealing to locals, youth, and artists.” The fourth Pet Festival recently held in Dongchao, for example, has proved itself a success though there was a collision of ideas and perspectives between the government and real market over the past four years. However, the Pet Festival is a proof to Mao Lei’s viewpoint, “we encourage the corporate force to win the market, and we stand behind them, providing services only. The joint efforts will render the blocks a longer life.”

As the two blocks were officially unveiled, the district authority will connect both sides of the Canal with greenways, and put Eastern Zhejiang Canal (Xiaoshan) Meseum, Juyuan Temple Museum, Zhu Fengbiao Memorial, Mao Qiling Memorial on a string to create a culture belt themed on the Canal itself.