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Spotlight: Through veil of time, Local Chronicles boost Chinese culture's going global

by Xinhua writers Fei Liena, Yu Rong

BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- "During the process of the Chinese culture going global, the Chinese Local Chronicles Culture should act as a bellwether and pacesetter," Ji Xiangde, chief of the Chinese Local Chronicles Guidance Group's General Office (OCLCGG), told Xinhua here on Tuesday.

In a keynote speech delivered at the two-day International Symposium on Local Chronicles which opened here on Tuesday, Ji said that against the backdrop of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and during the process of implementation of the "going global" strategy of the Chinese culture, the Chinese LCs Culture should have the confidence and courage to shoulder its responsibility and take a leading role.

Li Peilin, deputy chief of the CLCGG, said this symposium, themed "Chinese Local Chronicles Culture Going Global", aims to serve as a platform for increasing communication and cooperation between Chinese and overseas scientific institutions, academies, libraries and individual collectors on local annals.

He expressed the hope that relevant organizations and personnel could share their collections and cooperate to further push this unique Chinese culture to embrace the world.

"Let's tell the stories of China, and share Chinese wisdom, Chinese experience with the world," Li said.

James Cheng, Librarian of Harvard-Yenching Library which is one of the two western libraries boasting of the largest collections of ancient Chinese books, echoed Li's remarks by proposing to Chinese and Western institutions that they cooperate in digitalization of Chinese local chronicles, and exchange their collected documents on a regular basis.

Though the compilation of Chinese LCs dated back to more than 2,000 years ago, its journey to the outside world only started in modern times.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, particularly since China adopted the policy of reform and opening up in 1978, exchanges between the Chinese local chronicles community and the relevant foreign organizations have seen a boost, and China's LCs Culture has sped up its journey of going global.

For centuries, the Chinese LCs, due to their professionalism and big volumes, were only paid attention to by academia and historians, especially by Chinese scholars. In recent years, with the national goal of building China into a powerful cultural country, the Chinese LCs have been playing an increasingly important role.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Ji said: "To serve the Chinese culture going global strategy, the OCLCGG launched the Project of the Chinese LCs Culture Going Global in 2015."

"We have been using two main methods: inviting-in and going-out," he said, "We invite overseas scholars to come to China as well as send Chinese experts to Japan, South Korea, the United States, Germany, Australia and other countries to reinforce academic exchanges. We also hold international symposiums like this to gather members of the Chinese LCs community to foster friendship."

According to him, the Chinese LCs have a unique advantage among foreign scholars for their character of "telling historical facts without comments", thus they are a reliable, comprehensive and accurate source of knowing China, old and new.

The OCLCGG is also working with foreign libraries such as Harvard-Yenching Library to digitalize Chinese LCs and post them on the Internet, some with English translations and interpretations, so as to provide access to ordinary people as a database, Ji added.

As a historical record reflecting the natural, political, economic, cultural and social situations of certain administrative regions, the Chinese Local Chronicles reflect history and the present through the veil of time. There are now over 8,000 categories of LCs remaining, accounting for one-tenth of China's total collection of ancient books.

During the two-day International Symposium on Local Chronicles, more than 150 professionals and experts from China, the United States, Germany, Japan and other countries and regions are gathering in Beijing to discuss topics such as LCs study, LCs collection and utilization, LCs Culture inheritance and innovation, and LCs Culture Globalization.


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