2021 Silk Road Rediscovery Tour of Beijing: A Centurial Journey of Progress, hosted by the Information Office of Beijing Municipality, organized by the CRI Online of China Media Group, and co-organized by the Publicity Department of the CPC Dongcheng District Committee, officially kicked off on June 7 at the front square of Beijing's Wangfujing Department Store.
After the opening ceremony, the participating influencers from abroad set off to experience a charming Beijing brimming with creativity and folk customs. By visiting Wangfujing Heping Guoju, they were able to travel back in time and get a glimpse of what Beijing was like a half century ago. They wandered around Yangmeizhu Xiejie where they visited a small creative porcelain workshop tucked deep within the alleyways. They also learned about paper-cutting and how to make glutinous rice dumplings at the "Guangyi Plus" Public Cultural Center.
Celia Judith del Rosario Esquivel Salguero, a Guatemalan video blogger, records a video at Heping Guoju. [Photo by Li Xiaogang]
Unlike anything previously seen in Beijing, Heping Guoju transports visitors back in time, providing an immersive and vivid recreation of life as it was in old Beijing. The foreign influencers could instantly feel the allure of the old Beijing style atmosphere as soon as they walked in. They got onto a "green train", as the old-style trains of the past were referred to, sat on vintage bicycles, and took an old yellowed photo in the Time Photo Studio. Thanks to the fine furnishings of Heping Guoju, all the visitors had a chance to delve into old Beijing culture, with all its refinement and beauty.
Martina Gdovinova, a Slovakian video blogger, said that Heping Guoju not only brings back memories for the older generation of Beijing residents, but also gives the younger generation a chance to better understand how everyday life was in old Beijing. Lee John Barrett, a British video blogger, is particularly fascinated with traditional Chinese culture. He bought some items that were emblematic of the creativity and culture of the time, such as badges with old-Beijing publicity slogans that were printed in Heping Guoju. He feels that these icons, in addition to having a unique design, are imbued with a unique sense of culture as well, and looks forward to sharing them with his social media followers.
British video bloggers Lee John Barrett and Oliver Joshua Barrett record a video at Yangmeizhu Xiejie. [Photo by Li Xiaogang]
After getting a lovely taste of everyday life in Heping Guoju, the foreign influencers came to Yangmeizhu Xiejie outside Qianmen, and visited Caicifang Workshop, a small workshop that designs jewelry and artworks using ancient porcelain pieces. In Caicifang Workshop, the visitors experienced the unique charm of traditional Chinese handicrafts. They learned about the culture of Chinese porcelain, the making of ancient porcelain derivatives, and the rubbing techniques used during the process. Rafael Antonio Saavedra Molina, a Venezuelan video blogger, said: "I think it's very interesting to make handcrafts using pieces of ceramic. It was a very unique experience. The well preserved old buildings at Yangmeizhu Xiejie are perfect showcasing the past of Beijing. The shops here also provides windows for appreciating Beijing culture."
Venezuelan video blogger Rafael makes ancient porcelain derivatives at Caicifang Workshop. [Photo by Li Xiaogang]
At "Guangyi Plus" Public Cultural Center, the online influencers get the chance to learn paper-cutting, Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as hand-making of glutinous rice dumplings (a traditional festival dish) along with locals. They were impressed by the diverse cultural activities offered to locals at local community cultural centers.
Apinya Charunpumhiran (Right), a social media blogger from Thailand, learns classical dance from local citizens at the "Guangyi Plus" Public Cultural Center. [Photo by Li Xiaogang]