China news 3rd june 2022
Although English is undoubtedly helpful for direct communication, it is not a necessary condition for successful communication. In 1929, Master Taixu, the leader of the Chinese Buddhists, went to the United States after his preaching in Europe. Although he relied on translation, Taixu himself recalled that his speeches in the United States, especially in prestigious schools, were well received. One of Taixu’s researchers agrees that he seems to be less aware of communication barriers in the United States than in Europe.
Buddist Master Taixu wearing Hanfu in London, 1929
In 1927, Hu Shi, who was already famous all over the world, returned to the United States and delivered a series of speeches portraying Chinese and Western civilizations and the history of Chinese Zen Buddhism. “People are freed from the shackles of ancient writing, and the vernacular language has become the medium of culture”, said ‘the young prophet of young China’. Hu Shi was educated in the United States, interacting with the cultural elite, and even received special English speech training at Cornell University. This enabled him to communicate with American academic celebrities and the public without cultural barriers and translation barriers.
The United States is a society that pays attention to celebrities and stars. It pays attention to personal characteristics and charm. The ordinary American people I have met are full of praise for the stage performances that combine high technology with traditional Chinese art. In 2019, two “Buddhist Fanbai Art Concerts” co-organized by China and the United States at Lincoln Centre in New York were reported to be packed out with 2,700 people each. At the same time, Guangquan, the abbot of Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, admitted in a recent interview with China News Service that “there are very few monks who have real international influence.” The emphasis on soft power relations is consistent.
Recently, the famous political scientist Joseph Nye, who proposed the concept of “soft power”, once again pointed out the importance of soft power in this specific context, taking the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity. He believes that soft power, characterized by values, persuasion, and attractiveness, is the ability to influence others. This effect is slow and indirect, but by no means unimportant. He commented that Ukrainian. President Volodymyr Zelensky successfully portrayed Ukraine to the world as a charismatic and heroic country by well-chosen communication methods. He is one who is good at using soft power to gain appreciation and sympathy.
The author believes that if this strategy is used to look at modern Chinese history, this strategy—that is, examples of successful cultural and political communication relying on personal charisma and celebrity effects—has already occurred many times in modern China.
American media and professionals not only analysed Mei Lanfang’s gestures, body, and artistic expression, but also, because of Mei Lanfang, they began to think about how the highly symbolic, abstract, and imagination-dependent Chinese opera might inspire western opera. What Mei Lanfang brings is not only the exotic style, or satisfying the audience’s curiosity, but also a higher-level commentary on the eastern and western aesthetic traditions. Before the end of the visit, Mei Lanfang held a banquet in a New York hotel to thank all the American people who sponsored and helped the performance, shook hands with everyone present, including the labourers hired to help, and once again left the Americans the deeply impressed.
An American colleague of the author studies mass communication and drama. He does not understand Chinese and does not study history, but a few years ago he wrote a paper on Mei Lanfang’s visit to the United States. In his writings, Mei Lanfang, who visited the United States in 1930, received unprecedented popularity in the United States. As a non-Western foreign actor, who is not from the Western tradition, Mei Lanfang gave an unprecedented five-week performance on Broadway. He received honorary degrees from two American universities and numerous public awards and gifts.
Neither Li Hongzhang, Taixu, nor Mei Lanfang were proficient in English. Although English is undoubtedly helpful for direct communication, it is not a necessary condition for successful communication.
The recent move of several of China’s universities to withdraw from international contacts has drawn attention.While some regard it as a brave act of asserting cultural and academic self-confidence, others are concerned about what would be in place to fairly evaluate the universities’ performance.
On April 25, President Xi Jinping said during his inspection of Renmin University of China that China has a unique history, unique culture, and unique national conditions. Building a world-class university with Chinese characteristics cannot follow others in the same way. Recently, Renmin University of China, Nanjing University, Lanzhou University, and other schools reportedly dropped out of the international university rankings, shocking public opinion about China’s education development. After the news came out, there was no shortage of theories that reflected China’s “cultural self-confidence” and “educational independence”. According to people familiar with the matter, these phenomena reflect the independence and courage of Chinese universities, Chinese education, and Chinese culture. It is still unknown whether a ripple effect will occur and how widespread the results will be.
Interestingly, at the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait, Shih Cheng-feng, a professor at Taiwan’s Donghua University, and Wu Pei-Ing, a professor at National Taiwan University, published a research paper in 2009. They refer to the United States and the United Kingdom and other countries as knowledge centres.
The absence of an evaluation system after the exit, and how to build a new evaluation system to prove “Chinese characteristics as world-class”, may be even more worthy of questioning. Since the intention is to no longer to use ranking indicators as an indicator what should fill the gaps? Diversified evaluation methods such as long-term evaluation and comprehensive evaluation are needed to preserve the professionalization, standardization, and precision of educational evaluation
The important thing is that it is indispensable to be recognized by a cross-border and international evaluation system. Therefore, in the absence of new methods and lack of replacement, simply withdrawing from the existing evaluation system will lead to the risk of further decoupling between China and foreign countries, which is not conducive to cultural self-confidence.
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