City of Jining capitalizes on its rich cultural heritage

By Li You| (China Daily )| Updated : 2018-10-26

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The teachings of Confucius, although thousands of years old, could help establish a community with a shared future for mankind today, according to an expert on the ancient Chinese philosopher.

Yang Chaoming, head of the Confucius Research Institute of China, said that all inhabitants of planet Earth should live in harmony and help each other - ideas that have been central to Confucian theory since its beginning in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).

"The main characteristics of Chinese culture are benevolence, justice and social values," Yang said. "It can help to unite different nations and maintain a peaceful world."

According to Yang, there is a consensus among researchers - both foreign and domestic - that Chinese culture will play a greater role in world aC airs in the future.

Yang made these remarks on Oct 18 during a speech he delivered at the Confucius Research Institute in Qufu to a group of journalists visiting from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Qufu, a county-level city in East China's Shandong province, was the birthplace of Confucius. The temple and cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu were added by UNESCO to its World Heritage List in 1994.

Today, the city is still home to a number of Confucian research and exchange centers, including the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the Mencius Research Institute.

It also organizes and hosts a wide range of international events, such as the World Confucian Conference and Nishan Forum on World Civilizations.

The 2018 China (Qufu) International Confucius Cultural Festival kicked off in the city on Sept 26. More than 500 experts, scholars, guests and reporters from 25 countries and regions attended the opening ceremony.

During the annual gatherings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March, Yang made two proposals named "Suggestions on Establishing the Confucius University in Qufu" and "Recommendations for Establishing the World Confucian Center in Qufu".

According to the proposals, the Confucius University in Qufu would draw on the city's cultural heritage to serve as both a traditional cultural study center for overseas Chinese and a spiritual link to Chinese people all over the world.

The World Confucian Center, meanwhile, has been designed to act as an international exchange and cooperation base for Confucian culture and lead the direction of global Confucian research.

"One day, if China can really take center stage globally, it will contribute its own culture to others. Perhaps this is the best gift that the Chinese nation can give to the world," Yang said.

In addition to the relics in Qufu, Jining has 36 properties that are listed as national-level cultural relics for protection, with about 830,000 cultural relics in its museums and more than 7,000 relic sites.

Jiaxiang county, in western Jining, has about 80 entries on its county-level intangible cultural heritage list, ranging from traditional music and folk literature to textile technology and local customs.

Stone carvings in the Wushi Mausoleums, located in the county's Zhifang town, date back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).

Yan Jianbo, deputy Party secretary of Jining, said the city is a fascinating place to visit, thanks to its beautiful environment, varied landscapes of mountains and lakes, and great cultural and tourism resources.

Every year, Jining receives nearly 100 million tourist trips from home and abroad, making it both a domestic and international tourist city, Yan said.