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On January 21, Visit the Dual Olympic City and Share the Charm of Beijing – Launch Ceremony of Overseas Production and Communication of "Charming Beijing" TV series, organized by the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality in conjunction with the CRI Online of China Media Group, kicked off in Beijing. Xu Hejian, Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and Director of the Information Office of Beijing Municipality, and Fan Jianping, President of CRI Online, both spoke at the ceremony. Also in attendance were Long Anzhi, who is a senior researcher of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), documentary director, political economist and writer, representatives of film crews from Russia, Japan, and Serbia, and other important supporting organizations and media.

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Launch Ceremony of Overseas Production and Communication of "Charming Beijing" TV series [Photo by Hao Haiming]

In 2019, the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality teamed up with CRI Online of China Media Group to launch the first ever Charming Beijing overseas communication project, inviting four foreign national media groups from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar to conduct interviews and carry out filming in Beijing, focusing on Beijing's approach to science and technology, culture, and preparations for the Winter Olympics. The resulting series was broadcast on televisions in the four countries and received an overwhelming positive response with over 32,425,000 viewers tuning in. In November 2020, the project was selected as an ASEAN-China Excellent Communication Case at the 2nd ASEAN-China TV Week.

This year's "Charming Beijing" Overseas Communication Project has undertaken to tell the world about the Winter Olympics in the Dual Olympic City of Beijing, promote the World Heritage nominations of Beijing's Central Axis, and showcase the unique charm of Beijing's high-quality development. Film crews from Russia, Japan, and Serbia were invited to visit Wukesong Sports Centre, the National Speed Skating Oval (the Ice Ribbon), the National Aquatics Center (the Ice Cube), Shougang Big Air, Sanlitun, the Bank of China Beijing Winter Olympic Sub-Branch, Qianmen Street, Tiananmen Square, Zhongshan Park, the Temple of Heaven, the Badaling Great Wall, and Beijing Daxing International Airport. They were given the opportunity to experience and film the preparations for the Winter Olympics and get a close look at an open, diverse, and thriving Beijing from various points of view as it develops.

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Xu Hejian, Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and Director of the Information Office of Beijing Municipality, delivers a speech. [Photo by Hao Haiming]

In his speech, Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and Director of the Information Office of Beijing Municipality Xu Hejian expressed his hope that the media would go on to create even more excellent work capable of conveying the desire of the Chinese people to communicate with the rest of the world and of displaying Beijing's new development, new achievements, and new outlook, revealing the unique charm of the "Dual Olympic City" and empowering Beijing's voice to play ever more impressive melodies to the world.

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Fan Jianping, President of CRI Online of China Media Group, delivers a speech at the event. [Photo by Hao Haiming]

The media is an important bridge and link to promote humanistic exchanges, enhance person-to-person contact, and exert a subtle yet effective influence. President of CRI Online of China Media Group Fan Jianping expressed his hope that the film crews from the three countries would use their excellent work to show the world a vibrant, dynamic, harmonious, and eminently livable Beijing and lead the world to a better appreciation of the beauty of Beijing's culture, science and innovation, sports, and ecology. CRI Online will also be actively involved in overseas promotional activities aimed at introducing Beijing to the world and helping more people around the globe get to know Beijing better and fall in love with it.

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Jelena, Serbian film crew on-camera correspondent and reporter, presents "Dancing with the Central Axis" [Photo by Hao Haiming]

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Li Jianping (second from left), Honorary President of Beijing History Research Association, shares his views on Beijing's Central Axis with Serbian film crew on-camera correspondent and reporter Jelena (middle) and British photographer Bruce (second from right) [Photo by Hao Haiming]

At the launch ceremony, Serbian film crew on-camera correspondent and reporter Jelena Culafic performed "Dancing with the Central Axis". Accompanied by her graceful dance and groove, the audiences seemed to step into the Central Axis linking the essence of ancient Chinese architecture and feel the beauty of "neutralization" in this ancient capital. Afterwards, Jelena spoke with Honorary President of the Beijing History Research Association Li Jianping and Bruce, a British photographer, about Beijing's Central Axis. Li Jianping recounted how Beijing's 7.8 kilometer long Central Axis stretches from Yongdingmen Gate Tower in the south to the Drum Tower and Bell Tower in the north and has a history spanning more than 750 years. He shared his view that the Central Axis has always led the planning and development of the city of Beijing, now extending to Beijing Olympic Park in the north and Beijing Daxing International Airport in the south, constantly leading Beijing towards a more international future. Jelena said that the shoot had helped her to witness a Beijing with abundant culture and rich in innovative development. "The old proverb says that 'All roads lead to Rome', but I think we should say 'All roads lead to Beijing'." Bruce, who has lived in Beijing for 35 years, shares his photos of Beijing's Central Axis. Qianmen, Yongdingmen, Wanning Bridge, Jingshan Park, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven... A collection of old and new photos showcased the urban development and renewal of the ancient capital of Beijing and highlighted the vibrant new Beijing.

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Russian Film Crew Writer and Director Levtin Konstantin [Photo by Hao Haiming]

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Nana, the Russian film crew's virtual host, makes an appearance at the launch ceremony. [Photo by Hao Haiming]

Serbian film crew producer and director Sinisa Bokan shared his best wishes via video. He explained how they had chosen to focus on Beijing's Central Axis in the hope of introducing the people of Serbia to the long history and rich culture of China. Nana, the virtual host of the Russian film crew, made an appearance at the launch ceremony. According to Russian film crew writer and director Levtin Konstantin, Nana is the first virtual character jointly created by Russian and Chinese technology companies. While designing the image, the companies applied motion capture, artificial intelligence, and voice synthesis. Nana is much loved by both Chinese and Russian people. Afterwards, Levtin shared highlights of the TV film on the theme of science and innovation. He spoke of how "technology" was one of the main features of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: "We want to show this feature to Russian audiences through the 'Winter Olympics with Technology' TV series. In particular, the application of the multi-camera broadcast system will give audiences a great sense of immersion, as if they were sitting in the stands themselves."

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Long Anzhi, a senior researcher of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), documentary director, political economist and writer, shares his views on the theme of city image building. [Photo by Hao Haiming]

In addition, Long Anzhi, a senior researcher of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), documentary filmmaker, political economist and writer, shared his views on the theme of city image building. He argued that the traditional Beijing quadrangle courtyards are bearers of the profound history of Beijing and highlight China's long-standing culture. Anzhi was extremely impressed with Beijing's approach to the conservation of ancient architecture, which attaches great importance to the preservation of architectural heritage and continues to breathe innovative life into ancient buildings, while drawing on ancient wisdom to plan a blueprint for the Beijing of the future.

At present, filming of the "Charming Beijing" TV series has wrapped up and moved into post-production with a professional team from overseas TV stations. It will be broadcast in mainstream media in Russia, Japan, and Serbia at the end of January. The series will focus on the venues for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, as well as Beijing's scientific and technological innovation, the World Heritage List nominations of the Central Axis and urban renewal. It will showcase Beijing's humanistic charm, scientific and innovative charm, and its charm as the "Dual Olympic City", and seek to convey the beauty of the Olympics, Beijing, and China to the world.