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A Preliminary Probe into the Impact of Confucianism on China

By Amanda Wang, V Form

A Preliminary Probe into the Impact of Confucianism on China: How is a thought from two thousand years ago still relevant today?

Confucianism was born out of a disturbed and divided era, with wars plunging people into the abyss of misery and suffering. Different from the Taoists who observed the way and legalists who committed to harsh punishments, Confucius sought to restore a harmonious social order to China. The most prosperous dynasties of China applied Confucianism to state administration, and Confucius himself was known by the highest institutions down to the grass-root workers. The open sentence of The Analects: “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?” is a proverb to all Chinese (Xue Er). It renders in my memory since the age of four. At that time, my friends and I could correctly recite around a hundred of those, without knowing what they actually meant. But every grown Chinese knows, through the Five Ideals of jen, chun-tzu, li, te, and wen, the sage influenced China profoundly in society, politics, and culture for thousands of years and beyond.

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National Identity in The Golden Fish Hook

By Lora Xie, V Form

National Identity in The Golden Fish Hook

Prompt:

Research and write about a foundation myth that has influenced the country’s national identity or that continues to influence its identity.

On April 24, 1970, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) used the Long March 1 rocket to launch its first satellite into Low Earth orbit, becoming the fifth nation to achieve independent launch capability.[1]Long March 1 belonged to a family of rockets named after the “Long March” (长征), a year-long military retreat is undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China (CCP) from 1934 to 1936 to escape from the pursuit of the Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) army.[2]The trek was apotheosized by the American chronicler Edgar Snow in his 1937 officially endorsed “Red Star over China.”[3]When the Communist Party founded the PRC in 1949, it adopted the legends about the tribulations and demonstrations of heroism that took place on the Long March as some of its most important foundation myths. These legends are taught in schools and broadcasted through media to promote the so-called “Spirit of Long March,” summarized by Jiang Zemin, the fifth president of the PRC, as “loyalty,” “sacrifice,” “practicality,” “collectivism,” and “popularism.”[4]This essay will analyze how one specific myth, “The Golden Fish Hook,” promotes those ideologies, offers citizens consolation and motivation for adversities, and cultivates patriotism through pride and gratitude.

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My Quest: Uphold the Values of Martial Arts and Xing Yi

By Tianyu Zhao, VI Form

My Quest: Uphold the Values of Martial Arts and Xing Yi

My grandfather’s bungalow in my hometown hides many secrets, including a sword behind a towering closet in the storeroom. When I was only seven, I felt its weight when my grandfather first placed it in my small hands. It had belonged to Liu Qilan, my ancestor from the Qing Dynasty, a martial arts master who later became of great importance to me.

And yet, my interest in martial arts didn’t come from him. Like many of my peers, I was sent to a kungfu studio by my mom at an early age. Years later, I began to watch Bruce Lee’s films and gradually grew obsessed, spending hours every night exercising my strength and flexibility. I looked for more professional and systematic training in kickboxing classes and made my neighbors suffer the noise of my punches after my uncle fixed a huge standing sandbag for me outside the door.   (more…)

Empathy Through Education in China’s Xi Ma Yin Village

By Carrick Zhu, V Form

Empathy Through Education in China’s Xi Ma Yin Village

carrickschool3My mom and I began our volunteer teaching trip in 2014. With the help from the local Red Cross Organization in Ning Xia, China, we were able to find a local primary school situated in Xi Ma Yin village. Xi Ma Yin rests at the base of the Helan Mountain where the water supply is scarce. The villagers are mostly immigrants from the other side of the Helan Mountain. The elementary school where I worked is called Xi Ma Yin Immigrant Development Zone Elementary School. (more…)

The Dalai Lama: A Spiritual Leader Above a Political One

By Lucy Cao, V Form

The Dalai Lama: A Spiritual Leader Above a Political One

China and Tibet have a long history of relations. Beginning with the Manchu rule of Tibet, conflicts and disputes between the Chinese and Tibetans have persisted. Unwilling to compromise with a centralized ruler, Tibet seized the opportunity to claim itself as an independent state after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. However, following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Tibet became an integral part of China. From then on, numerous riots and uprisings for Tibetan independence and the preservation of Tibetan traditional culture and religion have taken place (Goldstein 84-86).

One aspect of the complex relationship between China and Tibet has some connection with the Dalai Lama selection process. As a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Finding the reincarnation of the Dalai (more…)