[India] Kalra Anmol Suresh, Zhejiang University
Up to the year of 2019, it has been 13 years since I encountered China. In these years, I have traveled to all the scenic spots in Zhejiang Province, including famous mountains and rivers, and have been to some northern cities as well. I seem to be a China hand to others, but in fact, these years are too short for a thorough understanding of the profoundness of Chinese culture. China has a vast territory, a long history and rich culture.
Even now, I often find new Chinese elements and new cultural self-confidence, which are a perfect fusion of ancient Chinese traditional culture and modern culture.
Since ancient times,China has paid great attention to the cultivation of relations. It has always adhered to the foreign policy of “building a good neighborly relationship and partnership with neighboring countries” and strived to create a regional environment of peace and stability, equality and mutual trust, and cooperation and win-win with neighboring countries.
On the basis of this aim, the Belt and Road Initiative to seek cooperation and development among all countries have received a high consensus from all other countries. Since its introduction, the Belt and Road Initiative has continuously expanded cooperation areas and fields, tried and explored new modes of cooperation, and pursued development and improvement. Our university? has recently? organized activities related to this topic, in which I have participated.
For example, in May, under the teacher’s arrangement, I accepted an interview on the theme of the Belt and Road Initiative; and in June, led by the teachers we went to Ningbo to participate in the “The Belt and Road Initiative Promotion Conference of Zhejiang Province”. My biggest impression is that isn’t it beautiful for all sides to exchange culturally, scientifically and economically, and develop together?
Speaking of the beauty of China, the first kind is its external beauty. In recent decades, China has undergone enormous changes, becomes a fascinating modern country with continuous development. Thanks to the reform and opening-up policies and the joint efforts of the people, China now has many highly-modernized cities, excellent transportation infrastructures, good social security order and the beautiful environment characterized by symmetry and balance.
Although they say that “there is no scenery in a familiar place,” I will be shocked by the beauty of the eye-pleasing scenery of the Guazhu Lake in Shaoxing, the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou, and the overwhelming cherry blossoms of our university. Then there is also the world-famous high-speed railway, both comfortable and safe, at which the world marvels and whose technology many countries want to learn. Owing to the high-speed railway, I can return to “my hometown” (Shaoxing) within 19 minutes and have a good time with my family.
The second kind is China’s inner beauty. China has a population of 1.4 billion. The per capita resources are relatively limited. That it cannot only guarantee the stability and unity of the people but maintain the stable development of the country, has to do, in addition to advanced technology and entrepreneurship, indisputably with the good and friendly qualities of the Chinese people and the excellent traditional culture. I feel that “hard-working and good” is a social representation of the core qualities of the Chinese people.
To some extent, the traditional Chinese culture is characteristically embodied by Mencius’s “benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom”. In the past 10 years I was in China, I have received all kinds of assistance from people around me, ranging from as minor as carrying luggage for me to as big as giving me spiritual guidance, all of which means the warmth of the country.
Speaking of traditional culture, I participated in a very exciting event in May 2018, called the International Tea Competition. For this competition, we were trained for more than 10 days in glass tea brewing. Previously, there was nothing to pay attention to when I drank tea. But in the process of learning the tea ceremony, I realized that our elegant movements and gentle care of the tea could really affect the soup color, aroma and taste of the tea.
The tutor told us that, “There is art when there is tea in the heart, and where does art come from when there is no tea in heart? ” During the tea ceremony performance, such sound language as the clear traditional music and the timely and incisive explanations and such silent language as the elegant, gentle movements formed a dynamic and harmonious aesthetic atmosphere, which reflected the mutual unity of motion and stillness. The culture represented in the drinking of tea deeply moved me.
From the shyness and “ignorance” I had when I first came to China, to the understanding and experiencing of China I have now, I have fallen in love with every aspect of her.
The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).