While COVID-19 travel restrictions mean it could be some time before Australians get to visit China in person, the next best thing could be a virtual experience provided by the China Cultural Center (CCC) in Sydney.
Adapting to the unique times and widespread lockdowns across Australia, the CCC launched its "Visiting China Online" project - a series of seven virtual exhibitions released one by one from mid-March, focused on introducing audiences to Chinese history, imagery and culture.
Xiao Xiayong, director of the CCC in Sydney, told the Xinhua News Agency that his organization hoped to make the most possible out of the tragic pandemic to improve Australians' understanding of China.
The exhibitions include Our Silk Road: Online Photo Exhibition, Colorful And Diverse Splendid Costumes of Chinese Ethnic Groups, Bamboo Culture: Understanding Oriental Aesthetics and Exploring the Mysteries of Ancient Shu Relics.
Through images, audio, virtual reality and animation, visitors can learn the history of Chinese script, explore the mysteries of ancient Shu relics, journey down the rugged paths of the Silk Road and much more.
One of the highlight exhibits, set to launch on June 12, focuses on China's world-renowned Terracotta Warriors. The release is the culmination of the project and is intended to coincide with China's Cultural and Natural Heritage Day, which falls on June 13.
Furthermore, history is brought to life through related works such as modern dance Symbiosis, Qinqiang dance drama Soul of the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty and other immersive experiences of the terracotta warriors and horses.
"Ideal online exhibitions should use various new internet interaction technologies, such as more images, audio, video, virtual reality and flash animation, but the difficulty lies in the need for strong technical support, and the production takes time," he explained.
To achieve this, the CCC recruited local organizations and artists to help tailor the experience to Australian tastes and curiosities.
This included a collaborative series with the Sydney National Tourist Office and promotion of such sections as "Beijing Tourism Tips" or "Beijing Food You Like."
When global affairs eventually return to normal and international travel reopens, Australians will have a head start and base of knowledge from their online experience, before continuing the journey in person.
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