Visitors experience virtual reality video gaming at the China Science Fiction Convention 2023 in Beijing on Tuesday. (Photo by Zhang Wei/China Daily)
The China Science Fiction Convention 2023 kicked off with a grand opening ceremony in Beijing's Shougang Park on Monday night, serving as a significant part of this year's Zhongguancun Forum, the national-level international science and technology summit.
"Science fiction is increasingly garnering public attention and drawing active participation from science and technology professionals with its unique allure," said Shu Wei, vice-president and executive secretary of the secretariat of the China Association for Science and Technology.
He highlighted the strength and rapid progress of China's scientific and technological achievements. According to an industrial report unveiled at the ceremony, the country's revenue in the sci-fi sector reached 87.7 billion yuan ($12.3 billion) in 2022. The sci-fi literature sector generated 3.04 billion yuan, up 12.6 percent year-on-year, while the sci-fi film and television industry raked in 8.35 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent.
"Sci-fi is a unique and effective form of science popularization that is increasingly playing a prominent role in enhancing scientific literacy among the public," he added.
A cyberpunk-style hologram 3D show, metaverse displays and sci-fi video clips projected onto towering screens on Shougang Park's iconic blast furnaces were seen during the opening ceremony at the park, which has been transformed from an old steel plant into a hub for China's sci-fi and high-tech sectors in western Beijing's Shijingshan district.
At the ceremony, the Beijing government granted business nameplates to the Beijing Yuanyu Science Fiction and Future Technology Research Institute, as well as to the studios of Chinese sci-fi luminaries Liu Cixin and Wang Jinkang.
"Science fiction is a fantastic realm centered on science and the future," said Francesco Verso, an Italian sci-fi writer, at the event. "It can stimulate imagination and creative thinking and arouse young people's interest in science. It is also an indispensable bridge to connect global scientific discourse and jointly open up our imaginations."
He said China is a country full of wisdom and imagination, as well as innovation and creation. With joint efforts from the government and private industries, science fiction has become increasingly popular in the country.
Verso is not only a sci-fi writer, but also an enthusiast who has been making efforts to promote international communication in the sector. He purchased the Italian version of Liu Cixin's writings that he will bring back to Italy as he strives to make more Chinese sci-fi books available to European readers.
"I believe that with the help of the China Science Fiction Convention, Chinese science fiction will continue to see new achievements and make outstanding contributions to the development of global science fiction," he said.
During the weeklong event, organizers will showcase a diverse selection of sci-fi movies, including an online exhibition of 30 Chinese and foreign films. Other activities, including themed forums, a sci-fi carnival and high-tech and sci-fi exhibitions, will also be held during the week.