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Passing on Torches of Civilization

BEIJING, August 17 --The National Library was crowded on this sweltering Sunday morning, 12 August, readers were everywhere, under the trees outside, in the lobby, in the small bookstore to the right of the lobby, reading the bulletins, in the reading rooms. Through a long, quiet corridor to the reading room of the Rare Book Department, more than 50 people were intensively listening to a lecture, according to today's Beijing Today.

The lecturer was Shu Yi, curator of the Contemporary Literature Museum and expert on Lao She's works. Shu Yi's father Lao She (1899-1966) was one of the most talented contemporary writers. The topic of the lecture was about the humanism in o She's works.

This is the 12th lecture hosted by The Classic Culture Promotion Center of the National Library. The series of lectures , starting from March, are sponsored by the National Institutions Committee for Sifting Ancient Books. The scholars and experts on Chinese culture, codes and records are invited to deliver special lectures every Sunday for free. Those who had been on the rostrum of the National Library include 86-year-old Zhu Jiajin, a senior researcher at the Palace Museum for over half a century, who is also regarded as a "national treasure" by academia: Russian Sinologist, Boris L. Riftin: Jin Weinuo, expert on the art of the Dunhng Caves: and other well-established researchers from different renowned institutions.

Established in March this year, The Classic Culture Promotion Center aims at preserving the ancient codes and records, to foster the offspring of Chinese culture, and to pass on the torch of civilization from generation to generation.

"We wish to make the lecture more popular among readers, we wish to invite more scholars and experts to ome here. But our wishes are restrained by limited funds. The center is contacting other foundations at the moment. If an agreement is to be reached, the center will organize more activities and lectures, " said Hon Jing, coordinator of the center.

As part of its cultural promotion program, another activity sponsored by the center is the "Classics Recital Program for Children ", a cooperative project with another organization, nstruction Center for Children Reciting Classics in Beijing.

As suggested in its proposal issued in January, classics at all times and in all countries are the source of human wisdom. To recite these classics is an important path to develop potential, to learn language, to enhance cultivation, and to open the gates of wisdom for children.

The classics used in the program include The Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, the Analects of Confucius, Mencius and The Book of Songs, poems of the Tang Dynasty, poetry of the Song Dynasty, along with other Chinese classics. The books for kids are all unabridged versions with Pinyin. Children are not asked to understand the meaning of the books, but led by the teachers to recite all the books line by line, and paragraph by paragraph.

The recital program has been a success so far. People have recognized the imperceptible influence of the classics. "In the Beijing area alone, about 10 thousand pupils have participated in the program, and several millios of children on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other countries worldwide including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the United States have been involved, " said Feng Zhe, from the instruction center.As for the Saturday morning class at the National Library, ? Kids are keen to outdo others, every week I found them consciously leaping ahead of my schedule. Their parents say that their enthusiasm for books has increased after taking the program." said Jin Rui, a teacher of the recital class at the National Library.


-- source: Xinhua News Agency


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