On the afternoon of May 10, 2017, press conference of the 4th International Taoism Forum was held in Wudang Mountains, Shiyan, Hubei. The press conference was presided over by Xiao Hong, deputy secretary general of China Religious Culture Communication Association. The details about the forum was released by Jiang Jianyong, vice chairman of secretary general of Chinese Taoist Association and Master Zhang Fenglin, vice chairman of secretary general of Chinese Taoist Association; Guo Shenglian, deputy director of Hubei Organizing Committee of the 4th International Taoism Forum and vice governor of Hubei Provincial People’s Government; Chen Xinwu, first deputy director of Shiyan Preparatory Committee of the 4th International Taoism Forum and mayor of Shiyan Municipal People’s Government.
Jiang Jianyong introduced the purpose, theme, scale, highlights of the 4th International Taoism Forum, as well as the Chinese and foreign leaders and guests attending the forum and the friends who had sent letters of congratulations. According to Jiang, the forum was aimed at exploring the profound ideological connotation of Taoist culture, interpreting the essence of Taoist doctrines, manifesting the modern significance of Taoist culture and the cultural confidence of Chinese nation, refreshing the vitality of Taoist culture, and providing spiritual function and cultural support to the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation. Jiang further stressed that all participants would strive to seek solutions from the Taoism thought and wisdom to the problems existing in the development of the society nowadays by centering on the theme of “Dao - the Brick of Nature, De - the Fabric of Civilization”, interpret the content that is in keep with the socialist society in the Taoist doctrines, and make positive contributions to the establishment of a community with a common future. The forum has drawn wide attention from all walks of life, and attracted more than 300 official representatives and 300 special guests from religious community, academic circles, business circles, and other sectors of society from 30 countries and regions to participate in. Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC has sent a letter of congratulation. More letters of congratulation come from Mr. António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations; Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; Embassy of Canada to China; Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to China; Asia Committee on Religion and Peace; responsible officers of major international organizations. Mr. Ma Biao, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, attended the forum and gave a speech at the opening ceremony. The guests who have jointly launched the forum in the evening on May 10 included Mr. Ma Biao, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC; Mr. Jiang Chaoliang, secretary of the CPC Hubei Provincial Committee; Mr. Wang Xiaodong, governor of Hubei Province; Mr. Wang Zuoan, chairman of China Religious Culture Communication Association; Master Li Guangfu, chairman of the Chinese Taoist Association; Mr. Zhang Weiguo, secretary of the CPC Shiyan Municipal Committee; Mr. Martin Palmer, secretary-general of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation; Ms. Teresa Indjein, director general of Cultural Policy Section, Austrian Foreign Ministry; Mr. Tan Thiam Lye, Chairman of Taoist Federation Singapore. The forum was also highlighted by Chinese-speaking TV Forum “Confucianism and Taoism, Cultural Confidence”, English-speaking TV Forum “Taoism in the World”, and Special TV Forum “The Spirit of Tai Chi”; New Media Forums “The Boundless Taoism — the Popularization of Taoism Culture in the Internet Era” and “The Highest Virtue is Like a Vally — Taoist Philosophy on Individual Behaviors”; “Taoist Culture Publications Exhibition”, the largest and finest exhibition of its kind since the foundation of new China; new book launching ceremony for Proceedings of China-Austria Tao Te Ching Seminar—the fruit of “China-Austria Tao Te Ching Seminar” held by China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs and Austria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Zhang Fenglin reviewed the successful conclusion of the previous three sessions and the positive effect for supporting and promoting the popularization of excellent Taoist culture and the communication between China’s Taoism and the international community. He said, the previous three sessions were all grand cultural events in the religious community of China, all of which demonstrated the ideological connotation of Taoist culture, showed the spirit of Taoism in modern times, inspired the people from all walks of like at home and abroad to pay attention and be interested in Chinese traditional culture and Taoist culture, and exerted a positive influence on carrying forward the Taoist culture and promoting the Chinese traditional culture popular in the world. Zhang Fenglin also introduced the major and highlighted activities, including opening ceremony, guest speeches, five sub-forums, three TV forums, two new media forums, Taoist music performance, Tai Chi Chuan performance, Wudang Temple Fair, Blessing Praying Dharma Assembly, Taoist doctor treatment, painting, calligraphy, and cultural relics exhibition, Taoist cultural publications exhibition, and closing ceremony. The forum have released Wudang Mountains Declaration of the 4th International Taoism Forum and invited some guests from religious community of different countries and regions to discuss the matters related to the establishment of the World Taoist Association, thus making due contributions to promoting the progress of human civilization.
Guo Shenglian introduced the organization, deployment and promotion of the preparatory work of the forum in the perspective of undertakers. The 4th International Taoism Forum was undertaken by Hubei Province, showing the full recognition in Hubei’s economic and social development of religious affairs management, as well as the concerns and support to the holy mountain of Taoism in the world — Wudang Mountains. According to the unified requirements and deployment of the organizers, Hubei Organizing Committee strictly observed the high standards and convened multiple meetings for making sure the successful opening of the forum. He believed that the 4th International Taoism Forum would help the Taoism better play a role of cultural tie in the construction of the “Belt and Road” and make positive contributions to build Hubei into a prosperous, innovative, legal, civilized, and happy city, while exploring the positive attitude in the Taoist culture and extensively publicizing the Chinese traditional culture. Hubei, boasting a long history, rich natural resources, and a galaxy of talents, will become the world focus of attention again due to the opening of the forum, and the 4th International Taoism Forum will end with a complete success.
Chen Xinwu introduced the historical and cultural background of the host place and the preparatory work of the forum. According to him, since the start of the preparatory work in last June, with the great support from State Administration for Religious Affairs, China Religious Culture Communication Association, and Chinese Taoist Association and the leadership of the CPC Hubei Provincial Committee and Hubei Provincial People’s Government, Shiyan Municipal People’s Government and the CPC Shiyan Municipal People’s Government attached great importance to the holding the forum, which has been listed as one of the top priorities of Shiyan City. On the basis of the successful experience of the previous three sessions, the organizing committee fully understood the positioning of “safe, green, culture, policy”, thoroughly implemented the requirements of “grasping points, tackling difficulties, presenting highlights”, and firmly upheld the concept of “being a hospitable host, striving to successfully hold the forum”. The whole city was motivated to develop preparatory work, plan the forum activities, improve supporting facilities, enhance service assurance, and create strong atmosphere, thus delivering a colorful, distinctive, and wonderful forum to the world.
The press conference attracted over 100 journalists from 45 media outlets, including People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China National Radio, China Central Television, China News Service, China Daily, Phoenix Satellite Television, HK Satellite Television, China Network, PhoenixNet, and the local media from Shiyan and Hubei.