Chinese President Xi Jinping treated his guests, including over two dozen world leaders, at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to a special gala on Sunday evening following a lavish banquet at the Great Hall of the People.[Special coverage]
The gala, titled "Millennial Road," started with a performance themed on Dunhuang, a Chinese city lying on the Silk Road - the ancient trade route that connected China with the Western Regions, Central Asia and Europe, and which has served as an inspiration for the new Belt and Road Initiative.
In a performance titled "On the Blue Ocean", musicians played a selection of folk tunes from along the Maritime Silk Road on traditional Chinese instruments.
Starting from China's southeast coast, the ancient Maritime Silk Road made its way around the Indochina Peninsula and across the Indian Ocean, to reach East Africa and ultimately Europe. It was a major sea passage for trade and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
The gala also included opera and dance performances, featuring elaborate costumes and traditional Chinese music.
One performance paid tribute to the Forum's host city Beijing, presenting the Chinese capital's numerous world heritage sites, including the Great Wall and the Palace Museum, in music and painting.
The gala ended with a call for peace, as children from countries along the Belt and Road, dressed in their national costumes, joined Chinese opera singers for a rendition of "Our Common Home: Ode to Peace".
A total of 29 heads of state and government are participating in the forum, the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road since President Xi proposed the initiative in 2013.