The Shanghai Express and Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage

October, 1, 2021

The Silk Road Journal by Mahika Ming

The ancient Silk Road is few thousand years old. The modern Silk Road is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Northwest China was the place where the ancient Silk Road met China. Traders on foot & on Camels travelling to and from China travelled thousands of miles through Central Asia from the Northwest. Dunhuang in Northwest hosted the 5th China Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo and the 10th Dunhuang Tour-Silk Road International Tourism Festival for three days since last Friday. Dunhuang was a hub on the ancient Silk Road. The most attracted event among many other conferences etc. during the festival was the "Xuanzang's Pilgrimage”. It is a musical drama depicting the legendary Chinese monk who travelled along the ancient Silk Road during approx. 700 AD. Similar to the BRI connecting people and countries, approx. 2,000 years ago, the ancient Silk Road was an expressway which made cultural and economic connectivity among developed civilizations in the ancient world at a time the USA was still not in existence.  The Silk Road promoted continuous development of civilizations in the Malayas, Sri Lanka, India, East Africa and Persia.

According to Chinese sources, China intends to strengthen people to people/ state to state cooperation using the BRI with a common goal of a shared future for mankind. 2021 guest of honour state was the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the festival. According to particpants they look forward to coexistence of various cultures promoting exchanges and cooperation with the help of advanced digital technology and online platforms which will save time and money in future. It is reported that approx. 200 countries, regions, transnational organizations were represented at the festival by state officials, professionals and diplomats etc. using online facilities or being physically present. Marking another first along the BRI, City of Shanghai launched a freight-train to Germany passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland (first cross-border railway service between Shanghai and Europe). It is known as the "Shanghai Express"!

The writer is an analyst with interests in the financial and sustainable development sectors with postgraduate exposure in the Far East (

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