Chinees culture

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Chinees culture

  1. 1. China China is one of the biggest countries in the world. It has an area of about 9.6 millionsquare kilometres which comprises about 6.5 per cent of the world total land area. Itspopulation of more than one billion accounts for 23 per cent of the worlds population. Chinais the worlds oldest continuous civilization. World Travel Organization predicts that by year2020, China will become the number one travel destination in the world.China is situated in the eastern part of Asia on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is thethird largest country in the world (after Canada and Russia). The distance from east to westmeasures over 5,200 kilometres and from north to south, over 5,500 kilometres. When the sunshines brightly over the Wusuli River in the east, the Pamir Plateau in the west is in the veryearly morning. When blizzards wrap the north along the Heilongjiang River in the winter,spring sowing is underway on Hainan Island in the south.China has a land border of 22,143.34 kilometres long and is bordered by twelve countries:Korea in the east; Russian in the northeast and the northwest; Mongolia in the north; India,Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal in part of the west and southwest; Burma, Laos and Vietnam inthe south.Beside a vast land area, there are also extensive neighbouring seas and numerous islands. Thecoastline extends more than 14,500 kilometres. Across the East China Sea to the east andSouth China Sea to the southeast are Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Morethan 5,000 islands are scattered over Chinas vast territorial seas; the largest being Taiwan andthe second largest, Hainan. One territorial sea and three neighbouring seas altogetherconstitute 4.73 million square kilometres.
  2. 2. Chinese culture China Culture/Chinese Culture is among the worlds oldest and most complicated. The location through which the culture is dominant handles a huge geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying significantly between towns, metropolitan areas and provinces. Calligraphy has traditionally been regarded as Chinas highest form of visual art - to the point that a persons character was judged bythe elegance of their handwriting! Decorative calligraphy is found all over China, in templesand adorning the walls of caves and the sides of mountains and monuments. The basic tools ofcalligraphy - brush and ink - are also the tools of Chinese painting, with line work and tone theall-important components.Despite the ravages of time, war and ideology, theres still a lot to see architecturally. Traces ofthe past include the imperial structures of Beijing, the colonial buildings of Shanghai, theoccasional rural village and Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist temples. Funerary art was already afeature of Chinese culture in Neolithic times (9000-6000 BC), ranging from ritual vessels andweapons to pottery figures, jade and sacrificial vessels made of bronze. Earthenware productionis almost as ancient, with the worlds first proto-porcelain being produced in China in the 6thcentury AD, reaching its artistic peak under the Song rulers. Chinas language is officially Mandarin, as spoken in Beijing. The Chinese call itPutonghua. About 70% of the population speak Mandarin, but thats just the tip of the linguisticiceberg. The country is awash with dialects, and dialects within dialects - and few of them aremutually intelligible. Of the seven major strains, Cantonese is the one most likely to be spokenin your local Chinese takeaway. Its the lingua franca of Guangdong, southern Guangxi, HongKong and (to an extent) Macau which is the casino capital of China..
  3. 3. Chinas literary heritage is huge, but unfortunately its untranslatability makes much of itinaccessible to Western readers. Traditionally there are two forms, the classical (largelyConfucian) and the vernacular (such as the prose epics of the Ming dynasty). Chinese theatre isalso known as opera because of the important role played by music, and has spawned suchdiverse arts as acrobatics, martial arts and stylised dance. Many Western film-lovers are fans ofChinese cinema, with releases enjoying success at film festivals and art-house cinemas. Recentlythere has been an emergence of talented fifth-generation post-Cultural Revolution directors,including Zhang Yimou (Red Sorghum, Chen Kaige (Farewell, My Concubine), Wu Ziniu andTian Zhuangzhuang. Add to them Hong Kongs East-meets-West action directors John Woo(Hard Boiled) and Ringo Lam (Full Contact) and you have a full-fledged, extremely successfulfilm industry. Chinese cuisine is justifiably famous, memorably diverse - and generally not for thesqueamish. The Chinese themselves like to say theyll eat anything with four legs except a table.For the most part, however, its a case of doing ingenious things with a limited number of basicingredients. The cuisine can be divided into four regional categories: Beijing/Mandarin andShandong (with steamed bread and noodles as staples), Cantonese and Chaozhou (lightlycooked meats and vegetables), Shanghainese (the home of red cooking and wuxi spare ribs)and Sichuan (spicy, with lots of chilli). Tea is the most common non-alcoholic beverage on sale,although Coca-Cola (both original and bogus) is making inroads, while beer is by far the mostpopular alcoholic drink. Wine is a loose term which can cover oxidised and herb-soakedconcoctions, rice wine and wine containing lizards, bees or pickled snakes. Another favourite ismao-tai, a spirit made from sorghum which smells like rubbing alcohol and makes a goodsubstitute for petrol or paint thinner.
  4. 4. 1.Chinese Festivals and HolidaysJanuary 1st This day is not celebrated as much as it is in other parts of the world because it isovershadowed by the Chinese New Year (Lunar Festival).Spring Festival - Chinese New YearIn year 2000, it starts on 5th of February, which isthe 4697th Chinese year.Chinese believe that the first king of China was KingYellow (he was not the first emperor of China whocompleted the Great Wall). King Yellow became aking in 2697 B.C. , therefore year 2000 is the 4697th Chinese year.The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from theBeginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes ofNature). Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree,however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means "year", was originally thename of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a newyear (We are talking about the new year in terms of the Chinese calendar). One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?" So, swallow it did many of thebeasts of prey on earth that also harassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortalgod. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people beginto enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paperdecorations on their windows and doors at each years end to scare away Nian in case itsneaked back again, because red is the colour the beast feared the most.
  5. 5. From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation togeneration. The term "Guo Nian", which may mean "Survive the Nian”, becomes today"Celebrate the (New) Year" as the word "guo" in Chinese having both the meaning of "pass-over"and "observe". The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nianshould it have a chance to run loose is still around.However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel thecolor and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.The biggest and most celebrated festival in China and south east Asia. New Years Eve dinner isthe most important event when the whole family is present. Special foods are served and moremeat than the usual is prepared. Fireworks will break the night, scaring the demons and badluck away. Pictures of the Door Gods will be posted on the outside door with couples limnedin bright red. Folk art poster, paper cutting and lucky wordings on bright red paper will beposted on the wall and windows.The Lantern Festival15th of 1st month of Chinese CalendarIt marks the end of the Chinese New Year Season, always 15 daysafter Lunar New Year Day. Lantern exhibits, lion and dragondances, and eating Tang Yuan (ball-shaped boiled sweet ricedumplings with delicious stuffings) are events today. It is very muchcelebrated in the rural areas by farmers.The Eve of the New Year is very carefully observed. Supper is afeast, with all members coming together. One of the most popularcourses is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chineseliterally mean "sleep together and have sons", a long-lost good wishfor a family. After dinner, it is time for the whole family to sit upfor the night while having fun playing cards or board games orwatching TV programs dedicated to the ocassion. Every light issupposed to be kept on the whole night. At midnight, the whole sky will be lit up by fireworksand firecrackers make everywhere seem like a war zone. Peoples excitement reaches its zenith.Very early the next morning, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms ofcash wrapped up in red paper packages from them. Then, the family start out to say greetingsfrom door to door, first their relatives and then their neighbors. It is a great time forreconciliation. Old grudges are very easily cast away during the greetings. The air is permeated
  6. 6. with warmth and friendliness. During and several days following the New Years day, people arevisiting each other, with a great deal of exchange of gifs. The New Year atmosphere is broughtto an anti-climax fifteen days away where the Festival of Lanterns sets in. It is an occasion oflantern shows and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is the Tang Yuan, another kind ofdumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls and stuffed with either sweet or spicy fillings.The Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year season and afterwards life becomes dailyroutines once again. This description is based upon the recollection of my own experience.Customs of observing the New Year vary from place to place, considering that China is a bigcountry not only geographically, but also demographically and ethnically. Yet, the spiritunderlying the diverse celebrations of the Chinese New Year is the same: a sincere wish ofpeace and happiness for the family members and friends.Womens DayMarch 8 International Womens DayWomen employees will get a whole or an half paid day-off on the day.Chinese Qing Ming5th of 3rd Month of Chinese Calender Qing MingA day when people visit cemeteries to pay respect to their departed ancestors.Water Splashing FestivalMid April Chinese CalenderThe most important festival of the year for theDai people in Xishuangbanna, YunnanProvince. A festival that washes away thedemons of the old year and welcomes the joyof the new.May 1 Labour DayEmployees will enjoy a paid day-off. Celebration parties in parks took place as parades on theday.May 4th Chinese Youth DayCommemorating the 1919 student demonstration against foreign aggression.Dragon Boat Festival5th of 5th Month of Chinese Calender
  7. 7. It is in memory of a great patriot poet of the State of Chu during the warring States period (475-221 B.C.), Qu Yuan who drowned himself to protest his emperor who gave in to the bully Stateof Chin. To avoid the fish to consume his body, people of Chin launched their boats and threwrice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish.People today still eat the bamboo-leaf rice dumplings (zong zi). Teams of dragon boats, similarto long canoes, train for weeks for the contests in this day, not only in China, but also in otherAsian countries with Chinese populations.Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival15th of 8th month of Chinese CalenderMid-Autumn FestivalThis is a festival for people who love toadmire the full moon, while the moon onthis day is the fullest and largest to the eye.The whole family gather together, feastingin good wine, fruits, nuts and cakes.As in most ethnic holidays, there are legends to honour. The most popular legend for thisholiday is traced to the year 2000 B.C. This is the story of Hou Yih, an officer of the imperialguards.One day, ten suns suddenly appeared in the sky. The emperor, greatly perturbed and fearfulthat this occurrence presaged some great evil to his people, ordered Hou Yih, an expert archer,to shoot nine of the suns out of the sky. The great skills with which Hou Yih accomplished thisfeat impressed the Goddess of the Western Heaven.Since Hou Yih was also a talented architect, the Goddess commissioned him to build her apalace made of multicoloured jade. His work so pleased the Goddess that she rewarded himwith the possibility of everlasting life. She gave him the elixir of immortality in the form of apill. He was not to swallow the pill until he had undergone a year of prayer and fasting. Houtook the pill home and hid it.Hous wife was a divinely beautiful woman named Chang Oh. One day she discovered thehidden pill and she swallowed it. The resulting punishment was immediate and Chang Ohfound herself airborne, bound for eternal banishment on the moon. As she soared upwards,her husband, Hou Yih, desperately tried to follow but was swept back to earth by a typhoon.Chang Ohs divine beauty enhanced the brilliance of the moon with her own radiance. Now,Chinese people gather each Moon Festival to admireher.Nadam FairJuly / August Nadam FairA seven-day Mongolian festival featuring horsebackriding, archery and wrestling.
  8. 8. National DayOctober 1It is the anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949. Employeesenjoy two paid-2. China LanguageThese two characters read Hua Xia, another name for ChinaPeople often have the impression that Chinese characters are extremely difficult to learn. Infact, if you were to attempt to learn how to write Chinese characters, you would find that theyare not nearly as difficult as you may have imagined. And they certainly qualify as forming oneof the most fascinating, beautiful, logical and scientifically constructed writing systems in theworld. Each stroke has its own special significance. If you are familiar with the principlesgoverning the composition of Chinese characters, you will find it very easy to remember eventhe most complicated looking character and never miss a stroke.The earliest known examples of Chinese written characters in their developed form are carvedinto tortoise shells and ox bones. The majority of these characters are pictographs.Archaeologists and epigraphers of various countries have learned that most early writingsystems went through a pictographic stage, as did the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Most writingsystems, however, eventually developed a phonetic alphabet to represent the sounds of spokenlanguage rather than visual images perceived in the physical world.Chinese is the only major writing system of the world that continuedits pictograph-based development without interruption and that is stillin general modern use. But not all Chinese characters are simplyimpressionistic sketches of concrete objects. Chinese characters
  9. 9. incorporate meaning and sound as well as visual image into a coherent whole.In traditional etymology, Chinese characters are classified into six different methods of character composition and use these six categories are called the Liu Shu. The Liu Shu categories are: (1)pictographs xiang xing; (2)ideographs ji shi; (3)compound ideographs hui yi; (4)compounds with both phonetic and meaning elements xing sheng; (5)characters which are assigned a new written form to better reflect a changed pronunciation quan qu;(6)characters used to represent a homophone or near-homophone that are unrelated inmeaning to the new word they represent jia jie.There is a theoretical total of almost 50,000 written Chinese characters; only about 5,000 ofthese are frequently used. Among these 5,000, if you learn about 200 key words that are mostoften repeated in daily use, then you can say you know Chinese. Really learning to read andwrite Chinese is not nearly so formidable a task at all.DialectsBecause there has long been a single method for writing Chinese and a common literary andcultural history, a tradition has grown up of referring to the eight main varieties of speech inChina as dialects. But in fact, they are as different from each other (mainly in pronunciationand vocabulary) as French or Spanish is from Italian, the dialects of the southeast beinglinguistically the furthest apart. The mutual unintelligibility of the varieties is the main groundfor referring to them as separate languages. However, it must also be recognized that eachvariety consists of a large number of dialects, many of which may themselves be referred to aslanguages. The boundaries between one so-called language and the next are not always easy todefine.The Chinese refer to themselves and their language, in any of the forms below, as Han - aname which derives from the Han dynasty (202 BC-AD 220). Han Chinese is thus to bedistinguished from the non-Han minority languages used in China. There are over 50 of these
  10. 10. languages (such as Tibetan, Russian, Uighur, Kazakh, Mongolian, and Korean), spoken byaround 6% of the population.100% Han Chinese and some non-Han minority Chinese write and read the same Chinese,unlike the situation with dialects in China.3. The Education System in ChinaThe education system in China is somewhat different than we are used to in the western worldand we will in this article guide you through the various steps that is the Chinese school.Every Chinese has a nine year long compulsory education which consists of six years in Juniorschool and three years in Middle school. After you’ve completed these levels you have thepossibility to attend High school or, alternatively, an occupational training. A good score on anational entrance exam is required if one wishes to go on with higher learning’s. The betterresults, the better are the possibilities to get accepted at a prestigious university.Higher learning’sDegree of BachelorThe Degree of Bachelor stretches over a period of five to six years. More than half of thestudies consist of mandatory courses even though the students of today, compared to 10-20years ago, have greater possibilities to themselves combine courses to create their owneducation. Combinations of English, economics and technology are for example very popular.You can still though sense a touch of the “old China” as many students take part in ideologicalcourses which are meant to create a national identity.
  11. 11. Second BachelorPost finishing their Bachelor studies, the students have the possibility to deepen themselves bytaking a new course related to their first Degree of Bachelor. These studies usually last for twoyears.Degree of MasterStudents can also deepen their Degree of Bachelor and obtain a Masters. This is only possibleat around 500 universities – put this is relation to the fact that China has a population of over 1billion. The Degree of Master lasts between two and three years and mainly consists ofcomposing and upholding an essay.To get accepted to this education it takes that the student passes an English test as well as testsin politics and political science – this can vary a bit depending on the intentions of the student.Education undergoing changes as wellJust as the economy of China is undergoing changes so is the education. Nowadays, there aremore and more universities that are not directly governed by the Ministry of Education anduniversities themselves have a chance to steer the course content and teaching materials, etc.Private educations are also allowed even though there are very few private institutions. On thewhole, the Chinese education system is attempting to meet the needs of the labor market –which we know is constantly changing.4. National Flag, National Emblem and National Anthem The national flag of the PRC is a red rectangle emblazoned with five stars.The red of the flag symbolizes revolution; the stars are yellow so that they will stand out brightlyagainst the red ground. The larger star represents the CPC and the four smaller ones, theChinese people. This expresses the great unity of the Chinese people under the leadership ofthe CPC.
  12. 12. The national emblem of the PRC features Tiananmen Gate beneath the five shining stars,encircled by ears of grain and with a cogwheel at the bottom. The ears of grain, stars,Tiananmen and cogwheel are gold; the field within the circle is red, as are the ribbonsfestooning the bottom of the circle. These two colors traditionally represent auspiciousness andhappiness.Tiananmen symbolizes the unyielding spirit of the Chinese people in their fight againstimperialism and feudalism; the cogwheel and ears of grain represent the working class and thepeasantry, respectively; the five stars, as above, stand for the great unity of the Chinese peopleunder the leadership of the CPC.The national anthem was written in 1935, with lyrics by the noted poet Tian Han and music bythe famous composer Nie Er. The lyrics are as follows:Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves;With our very flesh and bloodLet us build our new Great Wall!The peoples of China are at their most critical time,Everybody must roar defiance.Arise! Arise! Arise!Millions of hearts with one mind,Brave the enemys gunfire,March on!Brave the enemys gunfire,March on! March on! March on, on!This song, originally named March of the Volunteers, was the theme song of the film, Sons andDaughters in a Time of Storm. The film tells the story of those who went to the front to fight
  13. 13. the Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s, when the fate of the nation was hangingin the balance.Moving and powerful, the March of the Volunteers gave voice to the Chinese peoplesdetermination to sacrifice themselves for national liberation, expressing Chinas admirabletradition of courage, resolution and unity in fighting foreign aggression. It was for this reasonthat the CPPCC on September 27, 1949 decided to adopt the song as the provisional nationalanthem of the PRC, and the NPC on December 4, 1982 officially decided to adopt the song asthe national anthem of the PRC.5. Climate China has a marked continental monsoonal climate characterized by great variety.Northerly winds prevail in winter, while southerly winds reign in summer. The four seasons arequite distinct. The rainy season coincides with the hot season. From September to April thefollowing year, the dry and cold winter monsoons from Siberia and Mongolia in the northgradually become weak as they reach the southern part of the country, resulting in cold and drywinters and great differences in temperature. The summer monsoons last from April toSeptember.The warm and moist summer monsoons from the oceans bring abundant rainfall and hightemperatures, with little difference in temperature between the south and the north. Chinascomplex and varied climate results in a great variety of temperature belts, and dry and moistzones. In terms of temperature, the nation can be sectored from south to north into equatorial,tropical, sub-tropical, warm-temperate, temperate, and cold-temperate zones; in terms ofmoisture, it can be sectored from southeast to northwest into humid (32 percent of land area),semi-humid (15 percent), semi-arid (22 percent) and arid zones (31 percent).
  14. 14. 6. Fauna and Flora China is one of the countries with the greatest diversity of wildlife in the world. There aremore than 4,400 species of vertebrates, more than 10 percent of the worlds total. There arenearly 500 animal species, 1,189 species of birds, more than 320 species of reptiles and 210species of amphibians. Wildlife peculiar to China includes such well-known animals as thegiant panda, golden-haired monkey, South China tiger, brown-eared pheasant, white-flagdolphin, Chinese alligator and red-crowned crane, totaling more than 100 species. The giantpanda is an especially attractive sight. Heavily built, it has a docile disposition, and is delightfullyadorable. The 1.2-m-tall red-crowned crane is a snow-white migratory bird. A distinctive patchof red skin tops its grey-brown head, hence its name. The white-flag dolphin is one of only twospecies of freshwater whale in the world. In 1980, a male white-flag dolphin was caught for thefirst time in the Yangtze River, which aroused great interest among dolphin researchersworldwide.China has some of the most abundant plant life in the world. There are more than 32,000species of higher plants, and almost all the major plants that grow in the northern hemispheresfrigid, temperate and tropical zones are represented in China. In addition, there are more than7,000 species of woody plants, including 2,800 tree species. The met sequoia, Chinese cypress,Cathay tree, China fir, golden larch, Taiwan fir, Fujian cypress, dove-tree, encomia andcamplotheca acuminata are found only in China. The met sequoia, a tall species of arbour, isconsidered as one of the oldest and rarest plants in the world. The golden larch, one of onlyfive species of rare garden trees in the world, grow in the mountain areas in the Yangtze Rivervalley. Its coin-shaped leaves on short branches are green in spring and summer, turning yellowin autumn. China is home to more than 2,000 species of edible plants and 3,000 species ofmedicinal plants. Ginseng from the Chinghai Mountains, safflowers from Tibet, Chinesewolfberry from Ningxia and not ginseng from Yunnan and Huizhou are particularly well-knownChinese herbal medicines. There is a wide variety of flowering plants. A flower indigenous toChina, the elegant and graceful peony is treasured as the "colon of the nation and the scent ofheaven." Three famous species of flowers--the azalea, fairy primrose and rough gentian--grow insouthwest China. During the flowering period, mountain slopes covered with flowers in a riotof colours form a delightful contrast with undulating ridges and peaks.
  15. 15. In a concerted effort to protect the nations zoological and botanical resources, and save speciesclose to extinction, China has established 1.146 nature reserves to protect forests and wildlife,with a total area of 88.13 million ha. The 15 nature reserves in China, namely, SichuansWolong and Jiuzhaigou, Jilins Changbai Mountains, Guangdongs Dinghu Mountains,Guizhous Fanjing Mountains, Fujians Wuyi Mountains, Hubeis Shennongjia, InnerMongolias Xilingol, Xinjiangs Mt. Bogda, Yunnans Xishuangbanna, Jiangsus Yancheng,Zhejiangs Tianmu Mountains Nanji and Islands Guizhous Maolan and Heilongjiangs Fenglin,have joined the "International People and Bio-sphere Protection Network." HeilongjiangsZhalong, Jilins Xianghai, Hunans Dongting Lake, Jiangxis Poyang Lake, Qinghais Bird Island,Hainans Dongzhai Harbor and Hong Kongs Mai Po have been included in the listing of theworlds important wetlands.7. Cooperation and Political Consultation China is a country of many peoples and many political parties. Before the state adoptsimportant measures or makes decisions on issues having a bearing on the national economyand the peoples livelihood, the CPC, as the party in power, consults with representatives of allethnic groups, political parties and non-Party personages, and all other social sectors, in orderto reach a common understanding. This system of multi-party cooperation and politicalconsultation led by the CPC is a basic political system in China.Multi-party cooperation andpolitical consultation take two principal forms: (1) The Chinese Peoples Political ConsultativeConference (CPPCC); (2) consultative conferences and forums participated in by non-Communist parties and unaffiliated democrats at the invitation of the CPC Central Committeeand local Party committees. The CPPCC is neither a state organ, nor an ordinary massorganization. It is a widely representative, patriotic united front organization of the Chinesepeople, first established in September 1949. The CPPCC has a national committee and localcommittees established in the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under theCentral Government and counties (cities). The CPPCC consists of representatives of the CPC,the non-Communist parties, unaffiliated individuals, peoples organizations, ethnic minoritiesand other social strata, compatriots from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, returned overseasChinese, and specially invited individuals. The committees at various levels hold plenarysessions once a year. When the committee is not in session, special activities for the committeemembers are organized, including inspection tours of various localities. Consultative
  16. 16. discussions are held on significant issues relating to major state policies, important local affairs,the peoples livelihood and united front work. Democratic supervision is exercised over thework of state organs and the fulfilment of the Constitution and laws through the offering ofopinions, proposals and criticisms. When the peoples congresses are convened, CPPCCcommittee members are invited to attend and fully air their views. The current chairman of theCPPCC National Committee is Li Ruthann. Once a year, the leaders of the CPC CentralCommittee invite the leaders of the non-Communist parties and representatives of non-Partydemocrats to meetings for consultation; forums are held every other month. The former focuson major state policies; the latter on information exchanges, reception of policy proposals anddiscussion of certain special issues.

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