How to Tell Good Chinese Stories

March 14, 2017  By China Daily  Editor: Penny Huang
Dong Qing [Xinhua]


A wave of efforts to carry forward traditional culture is sweeping China nationwide.

Starting from hit cultural TV programs such as Chinese Idioms CongressChinese Poetry Conference and the most recent success Readers, the richness and depth of Chinese culture has been knocking on the doors of people's hearts, and viewers have shown they are very willing to open up.

The term "cultural confidence" has become the latest buzzword in the literary and art circles, as the world, as well as China itself, wants to hear stories from China.

How should we go about telling these stories, to show our confidence, our pride, and the essence of our culture?

Professionals in literary and art circles share their thoughts.

Dong Qing, Host of China Central Television

We spent a year preparing for Readers. In that year, our focus was to create a cultural program that was very sophisticated, but full of personal touch. In a vast sea of literature, we loaded the lives, unique experiences, apprehensions and excerpts that our readers wanted to share onto one ship so as to transcend their sentiments and emotions as a whole package to our audiences.

Programs like China Poetry Conference and Readers have helped cultural shows shed the image of being high-end and out of reach. People are talking about them, and this is both incidental and inevitable. All things incidental exist out of their inevitability. This era is calling for more cultural programs of quality, and we are both confident and responsible to tailor more great cultural products to dedicate to this era.

Chen Ping, President of the National Centre for the Performing Arts

Cultural confidence comes from excavation and inheritance of the rich Chinese culture. We must extract its essence and learn from its excellence. China does not lack vivid stories. What we lack is the ability to tell them well. China is not short of practices. What we are short of is the determination to create epics.

For an art institution, to carry forward cultural confidence means to excel in management. Moreover, it means to reflect the greatness of our culture and how it nourishes our nation. Cultural confidence is not just certitude, it must come with capabilities.

Feng Jicai, Chairman of China Folk Literature and Art Society

Cultural programs like the very popular Chinese Poetry Conference and Readers are important in that they sparked people's interest in traditional culture. It is key to really weave traditional culture into our daily lives and let culture truly influence the souls and manners of our people. When the mind walks into culture, culture also flows into the mind. We should be confident about our culture and deeply acknowledge and understand our own culture. Culture nourishes our soul and nurtures our sentiments. Each one of us is an inheritor of culture.

Liu Changle, Chairman and CEO of Phoenix Satellite Television

The world needs real and diverse Chinese materials. Italian opera Turandot, which uses musical sources from China's folklore Jasmine Flower, created a very strong "China shock" after it went on show. Children's literature The Grass House, written by Hans Christian Anderson Award winner Cao Wenxuan, is loved because it depicts a real, diverse and enriched China with sincere emotions. To carry forward cultural confidence means to tell the stories of China well, so as to give the world a chance to understand China as she truly is.

Feng Shuangbai, Chairman of Chinese Dancers Association

We must establish cultural confidence and master our arts in order to put our cultural products and folk art on the world stage. We want to send our cultural products out because we are open-minded and we seek to communicate with the world. However, quality is key. Works that cannot touch audiences' hearts lack real emotion, short of deep reflection on life and weak in depth and strength in creation, are bound to fail in the international market.

Hai Xia, News Anchor of China Central Television

Cultural TV shows including Dictation Assembly of Chinese Characters and Chinese Idioms Congress have attracted society's attention. This goes to show that more and more people are taking interest in Chinese culture, and appreciate it. Chinese culture is a treasure trove, in particular, the richness and depth of traditional Chinese culture. From that, we must keep excavating ideas that apply in today's world and pass them on to the future generation. The journey to relive traditional culture is also a journey to look for one's roots and where we all began.

Fan Yiping, Author

In literary creations, it doesn't matter whether the story is told from a foreign country or China; the key lies in finding a good perspective to tell that story. There may be countless ways to do so, but it all boils down to one thing -- human nature. We all start from human nature and try to look for sentiments shared deep inside our hearts.

Tengger, Musician

Chinese folk music is the foundation of Chinese music, and music from ethnic groups is the quintessence of Chinese folk music. I think we should first focus on the inheritance of Chinese folk music and at the same time assist the folk music industry through policies. We should also strengthen more professionalized management of the music industry and ban vulgar content. Artists, as public figures, shoulder responsibilities to steer aesthetic tastes of the public, so we must also be in possession of high moral ethics.

Jackie Chan, Actor, Vice-Chairman of China Film Association

More foreign films are entering China. This is a big challenge for us, and challenge is a good thing. Today's box office figures could not have come by without competition. Pressure pushes us filmmakers forward. China is a grand market. Chinese filmmakers should include Chinese culture in films, and at the same time show the world what Chinese culture is all about. I believe with the effort and support from 1.4 billion people, our films and traditional culture are bound to make it on the international scene.

(Source: China Daily)

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