Tag Archives: China

Indiginization

Ok…so while I am getting ready to discuss post-modern Japanese societal trends in the Otaku world next week, I have another project that has also captured my imagination. I’ve been helping prepare the He Qi exhibit coming to Saint Louis at Concordia Seminary in mid-October. Since it’s to be housed in the Concordia Historical Institute, we wanted to see what kind of artifacts were on had that might enhance the He Qi exhibit and give some more background on China and its encounter with Christianity. Take a look:

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The posters included in this video are examples of how the Christian message was portrayed in China in 1926-1928. The Christian message of the new self and the new man is shown on the first poster, where one man, on the right, is wearing tattered clothes with all sorts of evil things and sinful behaviors written on them. On the left is a man wearing new clothes that are radiant and covered in clean characters that denote Christian virtues and outcomes of the Christian life, such as love, (It is interesting that 愛 [ai], love, and 仁 [ren], the Confucian value that equates to lovingkindness or “human-hearted compassion” are combined in one of the circles–right over the heart of the man) joy, patience, peace, etc. Between the two men is a cross, and at the foot of the cross is the discarded clothing representing the old self of the joyful man wearing the new clothes.

In the second poster, a man is hard at work in the fields. Except, instead of farming the soil, he is raking earthly possessions and all sorts of junk. A heavenly hand is proffering a crown, and the text on the poster says, “A raised (crowned) head is a blessing/wealth” accompanied by the text “Set your mind on heavenly things, do not set your mind on earthly things.” It is striking to see familiar Christian messages wearing indigenous Chinese clothes in such a folk-art style.

Historically, this was a period of transition from the republican government under Sun Yat-Sen’s leadership (he died in 1925) to the new government of the Guomindang, lead by Chiang Kai-Shek. Communists were soon to be on the run as GMD forces attacked them and pushed them out in 1927. By 1928, China was “unified” nominally under Chiang’s regime. This was still a period of uncertainty and turmoil…yet the Christian presence was there, sharing the peaceful message…the same message that He Qi wants to share with the world today.

New Research on 1920’s China

I have never seen this before in print or online…this is something quite rare and exciting that we’ve recently unearthed. The Concordia Historical Institute has a great collection of artifacts, photos, posters, and writings from the China missions of the LCMS from 1920’s – 1954. Here is a little video I shot of an anti-opium poster from Shanghai in, most likely, 1926. Take a look. More to come.

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Great news from Valparaiso University

My Alma Mater released this press release the same day I arrived to give my presentation:

Thu, December 4, 2008

Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler will travel to China Dec. 6 to 11 at the invitation of the Chinese government to speak at the third annual Confucius Institute Conference, a gathering of hundreds of international delegates and Chinese officials who will examine global education and building relationships with China.

The conference in Beijing will focus on opportunities for further developing Confucius Institutes – non-profit institutes established and funded by the Chinese government in dozens of nations to promote cultural, business, educational, artistic and government exchanges.

The Confucius Institute Conference begins Dec. 9 with an opening ceremony and banquet for delegates in the Great Hall of the People – China’s parliamentary building located in Tiananmen Square. In the following days, a number of workshops will allow Confucius Institute directors and other delegates to exchange experiences and discuss new ideas.

President Heckler, one of 120 presidents of institutions of higher education attending the conference, will speak on “Confucius Institutes and World Multiculturalism” to conference delegates on Dec. 10.

Heckler’s travel expenses are being paid for by the Chinese government.

During his time in China, Heckler also will meet with representatives of China Agricultural University, Beijing Jiaotong University and North China University of Technology.

Heckler has extensive experience in the development of international study programs, including two years serving as the U.S. administrator of an undergraduate liberal arts degree-granting program in Beijing operated jointly by China Agricultural University and University of Colorado Denver.

Accompanying Heckler on the trip will be Jianyun Meng, director of Valpo’s Confucius Institute and a lecturer in foreign languages and literatures.

Valparaiso was selected in 2008 as the first faith-based university in the United States to host a Confucius Institute. Valpo’s Confucius Institute is focusing on the development of exchanges between northern Indiana and the province of Zhejiang – which became Indiana’s sister province in 1989. During the fall semester, the institute has sponsored the inaugural Great Lakes Confucius Institute Music Festival and a delegation of Northwest Indiana officials to explore business partnerships with China. Valpo’s Confucius Institute also sponsors a number of Chinese language and cultural courses and events for the public.