I am a 20-year-old girl who was born and raised in a great city – Guangzhou. My love and sense of pride for the city was cultivated at a young age when my grandma told me stories about the ancient Maritime Silk Road. As early as over two millennia ago, Guangzhou, the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, had become the major port for economic and cultural exchanges between China and the west.
My grandma’s story about the ancient Maritime Silk Road was so attractive that I was completely absorbed in it. Through this marvelous sea route, Chinese exquisite goods like silk, porcelains, etc and advanced technology were exported to the west. At that time, “Made in China” was a symbol of high quality and nobility. Owing a piece of silk was the dream of many women and porcelain wares were privileged to the rich. “Made in China” was a luxury in the west and everyone went after it like a flock if ducks. Historical facts revealed that a pound of silk was worthy of 3 pounds of gold and only those high officials and noble lords had the chance to enjoy it. Wearing a piece of silk was like having a VIP Card, which enabled people to access the Golosseum.
As the saying goes: “No morning sun lasts a whole day”, when a thing reaches its extreme, it reverses its course. The ancient Maritime Silk Road declined after the Opium Wars. Since then, China had suffered a lot from the wars with the Eight-Nation Alliance and the Japanese Invasion, which gave a continuous blow to our national industry. Gradually, “Made in China” was caught up by other countries and enjoyed no advantages over the others.
Things had turned for the better after the Opening and Reform policy was put into practice. With two decades’ effort, “Made in China” has made a successful comeback. Each year, tens of thousands of purchasers came to China Import and Export Fair just for those “Made in China”. Part-time experience in the Fair gave me the chance to witness the latest development of Chinese national industry and their cutting-edge technologies. History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Guangzhou, once again, became the spotlight of the world stage. Elites of business people visit Guangzhou to trade and communicate in various ways and provide a great deal of chances of commerce and cultural exchanges. Complex and profound changes are taking place in the world. China, the tremendous dragon, has wakened to face the challenges and chances. “Made in China” have become the indispensable part of the global village. But we never forget the Silk Road Spirit - "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit". In September and October of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia and raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It is a great undertaking that will boost economic cooperation, strengthen communication between different civilizations, which will benefit people all over the world.
The ancient Maritime Silk Road was the product of the mutual attraction of different civilizations. Since ancient times, the Silk Road has been connecting the dream of China and the dream of the World. Within the new historical conditions, the new Maritime Silk Road is bound to rejuvenate, and the Chinese civilization is bound to make new contributions to the development of human civilization. God rewards the diligent and luck comes after hardship. I firmly believe that here will be brighter future for the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and it will be the road of rejuvenation.
(By Chen Yi from Guangdong Teachers College of Foreign Language and Arts)