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Nuances of the Chinese culture

Updated: 2015-07-09 13:43:13

( Chinaculture.org )

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Wang Meng giving a lecture on Chinese People and Chinese Culture at the 2015 Visiting Program for Young Sinologists on July 6.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


In the Q&A round, the sinologists shared their own observations on the Chinese culture, and their questions brought about from their work.

Alexander Pevzner raised his doubts on the translation of the word "cynical". "Why in Chinese, there isn't an exact translation for the word ‘cynical'? Does it have anything to do with the Chinese politics and culture?" he asked.

Wang Meng cleared his doubts by giving examples from history. "The Chinese have actually gone from one extreme to another extreme in the last century," he said.

According to Wang, China used to be quite arrogant and presumptuous before the collapse of the Qing Dyansty (221-206 BC), and after that the Chinese tended to negate whatever there was in the Chinese culture, and turned to science and democracy for self-salvation. The Chinese after that learned to put away their arrogance and really learn from the West, and that's possibly why we translated cynical into highly critical, rather than despising others.

Hungarian sinologist Sandor Dr, P Szabo asked Wang Meng his opinion on the relationship of the Chinese culture and the western culture in times of globalization. For which, Wang Meng gave a vivid illustration.

"Globalization is parallel to that of diversification, the more to dive into another's culture, the more you know the importance of maintaining your own unique culture. So, globalization does not call for unification, but diversification. And that's why China is now earnestly applying for world heritages to protect those unique cultures," Wang said.

As to the cultural conflicts, Wang said, not all of them are inevitable, and some of the barriers will eventually melt down as time go by.

"In 1986, when I was the Ministry of Culture, some high women officials in the Communist Party prevented Shenzhen city from hosting a beauty contest, because they thought it was an insult to women. But now, Sanya in Hainan province has become a central stage for beauty contest, so things are constantly changing," Wang said.

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