About CECP


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Some Questions about CECP


1. How to define Endangered Chinese Culture?

Chinese culture has a unique role in the spectrum of world civilizations due to its belief in harmony between man and nature and its high dependence on moral power. A sad but undeniable fact is that, in general sense, though had a brilliant history, Chinese culture is now in grave danger. We are at the risk of cultural marginalization and desertification. A once vital civilization could vanish in the river of human history and it will be a tragedy for not only China but also the world. The need for Renaissance or Refreshing of Chinese culture is pressing. CECP will go along with this macroscopic theme, but we need more specific work content to make our target more operatable and verifiable. Therefore, we try to define 'endangered Chinese culture' as a part of Chinese civilization which exists in material or non-material form and that existence is under threats. The threats could come from social ignorance, or from dislocation of agent and beneficiary in current social and economic system, or from the incompatibilities between the traditional culture and modern society. These threats occur simultaneously in most situations. As we realize that the continuance of the endangered culture has great meanings to the Renaissance of Chinese civilization, we need to analyze these threats and work out protection strategies. We believe the successful experiences from International community could be our reference and have critical importance.

2. How will CECP conduct the protection of Endangered Chinese Culture?

The Renaissance movement in Europe is not a copycat of Greek culture. It has given rise to a brand-new one through reflection and reformation. Likewise, the Renaissance of Chinese endangered culture doesn't necessarily mean the reoccurrence of the past. No matter what, the past is already weeded out by natural selection. Therefore, we are not in favor of self-worshipers who hold the view that 'Renaissance for Renaissance’s sake' or 'protection for protection’s sake'. Chinese culture should be observed from a new angle, even transformed when necessary. The essence of a civilization ought to have that openess to transcend individuality and to achieve universality.

To begin with, we aim in a better way to present Chinese culture to the whole world, so as to help others to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture. We believe that the best way to protect Chinese endangered cultural heritage is to let more people know its existence and its true value. One thing that merits notice is that subjective motivation has often, if not always, played a very important role in the old way of presenting Chinese culture in which the 'essence' is highlighted while the 'dross' is discarded. It of course serves some realistic purpose, but results in presenting to the world a culture which lacks credibility and vitality and is mediocre and monotonous enough to deviate from its original track. We need to establish a confidence – Chinese culture is only beautiful when it's real and whole. Not only the Imperial Palace and the Great Wall should be exhibited, but also chamber pot and opium pipe; not only the great people and events should be studied, but also the common people and their 'trivial' encounters. They are inseparable organic part of Chinese culture, to some extent they are the real China. CECP will organize trips and conduct field surveys in urban and rural area and ancient towns, get to know Chinese people from all walks of life, so as to gain a thorough understanding of current Chinese culture in a more authentic way.

Next, CECP welcome volunteers and participants from all over the world, who will bring upon a re-observation on Chinese culture and cultural impacts. In comparison to Marco Polo in Yuan Dynasty and Matteo Ricci in Ming Dynasty who both dwells in Emperor's palace, the Persian merchants and the monks traveling the country in Tang Dynasty had a more significant influence over China. The common Chinese and cultural scholars could gain a new understanding of Chinese culture from these communications. What’s more, it will provide a good opportunity for Chinese culture to integrate into the world and to make its due contribution.

Finally, the protection of Chinese culture doesn’t mean to put it in museums, but to realize its universal and realistic value by evoking resonance in aesthetic field and so on. Foreigners in China have always been confused by why Chinese do not wear traditional costumes and why they destroy those exquisite ancient houses and build ugly forests of iron and steel which date back to nowhere. We can find thousands of reasons to explain. However, what we cannot deny is that we lack the ability to cognize the practical value in traditional culture and so we deprive ourselves the desire and ability to combine traditional culture with modern life. Of course today we can sense a vogue for traditional Chinese culture. For example, Confucianism is once again propagandized in mainstream media and there is a zeal for certain traditional cultural forms such as tea art or antique collection. However, the former, due to its utilitarianism motives, results in cultural fabrication and arbitrary definition; while the latter eventually leads to indulgence in self-admiration and fails to evoke resonance due to being fettered by old conventions and being misfits to modern life. Another example is the so-called “re-oldden” movement on old residential buildings in which the old buildings are renovated in exactly the way it was imagined to be. It hence removes the history imprinted by the past residents and meanwhile turns the old buildings into only tourist attractions for their lack of compatibility with modern life, and eventually makes them unsuitable for living. Many other countries have accumulated a wealth of experience on how to protect traditional culture and how to make it co-exist with modern life. We look forward to learning from these experiences and help Chinese traditional culture reborn, refreshed and reinvigorated.

To sum up, cultural protection is such a big issue that needs hundreds of years and a whole nation's joint effort. We still fight for the big issues, but in our small and individual way. We are not pioneers, for we have already felt the impulse sent forth by many people of wisdom. We look forward to borrowing strength from this impulsive power and to marching a little step forward!



一 如何定义濒危的中国文化?



二 CECP将采用何种方式去保护濒危中国文化?





最后,我们认为保护传统中国文化不等于将其搬进博物馆,其最终目的在于找到其在美学或是其他方面的普适意义和现实价值。外国人经常困惑于中国人为什么不穿中国传统服装,而修房子为什么总是推倒那些精美的老房子而代之以并无文化根源和审美价值的水泥森林。固然我们可以找到一千条理由作出解释,但不可否认的是我们缺少认知传统文化中现实价值的能力,也因此而缺少将传统文化与现代生活方式相结合的愿望和能力。固然我们今天也能感受到从官方到一部分民间有一种恢复传统文化的冲动,比如对孔子思想的重新宣扬和民间对某些传统文化形式的热衷,但前者往往由于过于功利的动机而演变成一种对文化的虚构和任意诠释,而后者则往往陷入因循守旧而与现代生活和文明格格不入,最后只能沦为孤芳自赏而难以得到普遍认同。另一个例子则是民居建筑保护中的“整旧如旧”, 剥去了建筑中携带的历史印记,同时因为缺乏对现代生活方式的包容而使得老建筑最终不适于居住而只能成为供游客参观的展品。西方社会自从文艺复兴以来积累了大量的保护传统并使之与社会生活同步进化的经验,在伦敦和巴黎街头我们可以看到最现代的和最古老的建筑和谐共处,现代艺术和古典艺术之间一脉相承而并无本质上的突兀感。而在泰国和台湾,即使经济突飞猛进,我们也时刻能感受到那种田园牧歌和传统文化带给人们的宁静安详,文化让人们有机会延续那种“诗意”的生活。我们希望借鉴这些经验,让传统中国文化得到某种形式的“更新”而重新熠熠生辉。

总之,文化保护实在是件big issue。We still fight for the big issues, but in our small and individual way。这就是CECP的行动方式。我们并不是最早的行动者,已经有很多先行者在发出和我们一样的喊声。我们希望承接这种力量并使其前进一小步。




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