Tuesday, 29 September 2009
In the 1980s, when I was an undergraduate student, we had a Chinese reading class. It was mostly Chinese government brochures on Tibet. There was one phrase I remember. The soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were generous, so they didn’t ask the Tibetan people immediately to pay back the cost of pacifying their land. That was a memorable sentence. Then in 2001 or so I was translating and dubbing films for the Ministry of Culture in Beijing. There was a report on celebrating 50 years of liberating Tibet. Somebody important called me and asked me to please finish it quickly. It was a very important piece. Hu Jintao, who was already very important back then, had led a central party delegation on a fact-finding trip through Tibet to prepare for the celebrations. They staid at ordinary people’s homes. And when they left in the morning, they gave the peasant family gifts to thank them for letting them stay. They gave them framed pictures of the core leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. Chairman Mao Zedong, Chairman Deng Xiaoping and Chairman Jiang Zemin. That was a memorable scene.
What is art? What is music? Music makes you dance or cry. I guess there have always been found objects. And pictures of leaders.
MW March 2008