Cultural China, Masterclass Forum: the Tang Poetry and Chinese Multi-ethnic Culture & the Magical Bashu Civilisation
8 January 2014
University of Westminster
UK Research and Development Centre for Chinese Traditional Culture
UK Chinese Business Association
Just after the 2014 New Year's Day, the British Chinese community ushered in a grand cultural event. The "Cultural China, Masterclass Forum (London Special)" co-organised by the British Institute of Chinese Traditional Culture and the British Chinese Chamber of Commerce was held on January 8 in the Auditorium of the University of Westminster in London. Sponsored by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China and co-sponsored by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Sichuan Province, the group of lecturers of the Sichuan "Cultural China" forum, led by Mr. Li Qun, arrived at London through a long trip. Professor Wang Qitao and Professor Xu Xiping gave a lecture about splendid Bashu civilisation. Guests including Li Hui, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Ms. Gui Qiulin, Dean of the British Institute of Chinese Traditional Culture, Dr. Shan Sheng, Honorary Dean, Mr. Guo Kunzhang, Executive Vice Chairman of the British Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Chen Jiuxuan, President of the Chinese Youth Association in the East and Middle of the United Kingdom, as well as representatives of Chinese and overseas Chinese, and cultural enthusiasts experienced the unique charm of the Bashu spirits.
The two cultural experts were both specialised in the study of Bashu civilisation. Professor Wang Qitao is the Dean of the School of International Education of Southwest University for Nationalities, the director of the Dunhuang-Turfan Literature Research Institute, and he is also the main lecturer of the "Hundred Lectures" show of CCTV, the main lecturer of the "Speaking of Teachers" show of China Education Television, and one hundred Chinese scholars of "Guangming Daily" Advisor to the Chengdu Science and Technology Advisory Group of frontline scholars, and has lectured on "Chinese Studies and Administration", "Chinese Studies and Life", "Management in the Flourishing Age of Tang Dynasty", and "Exploring the Secrets of the Silk Road" for officials and college teachers and students in China.
Professor Xu Xiping is also from Southwest University for Nationalities. As a professor and dean of the School of Literature and Journalism and Communication of Southwest Minzu University, he is mainly engaged in the teaching and research of ancient Chinese literature, Chinese culture, national literature and culture. He is the author of "Li-Du Poetics and National Culture" and other well-known academic series such as "Southwestern Literature Documents" and "Introduction to Chinese Culture".He is also the director of China Du Fu Research Society, the vice president of Sichuan Du Fu Research Society, and the director of Sichuan Li Bai Society. Today, the two professors talked about the reasons why Bashu civilisation has been fascinated by the world after thousands of years, from different angles.
Professor Wang’s starting point is the oldest and most famous water conservancy project in Sichuan and even in the world: Dujiangyan. Professor Wang's impassioned speech style infected the audience, making the audience feel that the value of Dujiangyan is beyond its two-thousand-years history. For more than 2250 years, 1,370 acres of land in western Sichuan and all kinds of species as well as cultures have multiplied and thrived under her nurturing, formulating the Shu civilisation. The long history has eliminated countless cultural heroes and miracles. As the oldest and only surviving non-dam diversion project in human history, Dujiangyan is still full of infinite vitality.
Professor Xu Xiping then led us to the uniqueness of the Bashu region from the perspectives of literature and culture. Professor Xu said that most of the scholars in Chinese history are related to Sichuan, or have a strong Sichuan sentiments. As in the so-called saying "world celebrities and intellectuals enter Shu" suggests, Sichuan is the cradle of a particular part of Chinese civilisation. It attracted talents from all over the country, such as the most well-known poets Li Bai, Du Fu, "four poetry masters of the early Tang" (Huang Tingjian, Yuan Zhen, Bai Juyi), etc . Take Du Fu as an example, his old house is in Sichuan, and more than 70% of his poems written in his life are concentrated in his time in Shu. The magical Bashu culture has created different characters of "Li-Du" poetics. The rich cultural resources of ethnic minorities here are a treasure house for Chinese scholars to absorb and learn from. For a long time, the Central Plains Han ethnic group and the Shu ethnic minorities have learned from each other, promoted each other, and enriched each other. The Han people brought advanced technology, culture, and etiquette to Bashu, while Bashu taught the Han people to be unrestrained and free. Professor Xu finally emphasised in the Q and A that whether it is "Li Du" or people in our contemporary world, the most important thing to inherit and promote is the spirit of peaceful coexistence, mind-harmony and mutual assistance between communities. This is also the value of "Li Du" and Bashu culture, the most precious spiritual wealth left to future generations.