The year 2014 drifted away, leaving both joy and pain in the circle of culture. Now let’s pick ten of the most influential cultural events that happened in the past year and refresh our memories together.
China’s Grand Canal and Ancient Silk Road listed as World Heritage
China’s Grand Canal and ancient Silk Road were inscribed on the World Heritage list on June 22 during 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar, which makes China one of the top countries with the most heritage sites in the world, second only to Italy.
The Grand Canal is the longest artificial waterway in the world, with more than 2,400 years history. The 1,794-km canal runs across four provinces from Beijingto Hangzhou, playing an essential role in transportation, irrigation and flood control in the area.
President Xi calls for higher pursuit in the arts
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for pure and spiritual pursuit in the arts to the circles of culture in a symposium where the country’s most influential authors, actors, scriptwriters and dancers gathered on Oct 15, 2014 in Beijing. He stressed that artists should not lose their artistic ideal for commercial success and that art works should not be the “slaves” of the market.
Celebrities arrested for drug taking
The year 2014 saw a string of stars in entertainment circles falling for taking drugs. Popular singer Li Daimo was arrested in April, followed by famous screenwriter Ning Caishen (born Chen Wanning) and director Zhang Yuan in June, actor Zhang Yaoyang and Zhang Mo in July and actor Gao Hu in August.
One of the cases that drew the most public attention was the arrest of filmstars Ke Zhendong (Kai Ko) and Fang Zhuming (Jaycee Chan), the son of international superstar Jackie Chan. With so many celebrities exposed for drug talking, the Beijing Trade Association For Performances and the SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China) urgently called for stronger self-discipline and higher moral standards in the arts.
Little Apple sweeps the country
Composed and performed by the Chinese musical duo Chopsticks Brothers, the song Little Appleearned unprecedented popularity since its debut in May. People across the country imitated the dance in the music video and different versions of the song went viral online, such as Little Applefor soldiers, students, air stewardess and nurses.
Little Applewon the AMA International Song Award in November 2014 and the duo performed the song at the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, which not only fueled its popularity but also brought a fierce debate questioning its values and taste.
Endless disputes towards literary awards
The Lu Yao Literature Prize 2014 was released on Dec 3 and the 57-year-old writer Yan Zhen won for his new work, Huo Zhe Zhi Shang(Beyond Survival). The news immediately caused a public outrage because the work was only issued two weeks earlier and its books hadn’t been published by then. Therefore the award became questionable.
Looking back to 2014, disputes were endless concerning various literary awards: The Lu Xun Literature Prize became controversial because of suspected corruption. The Lao She Literature Prize was nearly cancelled because of technical flaws.The establishment of the Lu Yao Literature Prize was protested by the writer’s daughter and relatives.Experts say that the disputes regarding literary awards reflect the public trust crisis towards so-called “professionals” in the corresponding areas.
Supportive policies gear up cultural industry
A series of policies that put considerable support into the culture industry took effect in 2014. State documents and corresponding funds were set to push the development of cultural enterprises in the fields of design, film, culture creativity and relevant subjects.
Under those supportive policies, cultural enterprises are integrating with other industries at an accelerating rate. State-owned cultural enterprises have enhanced its strength, with some of the large ones reaching tens of billion yuan in annual income. So far, up to 45 cultural corporations have been listed and the culture section is becoming a new power in Chinese A share market.
Media convergence upgraded to a national strategic level
A meeting of the central leading group to deepen overall reform strongly addressed the importance of media convergence amid the development of information technology on Aug 18 in Beijing. This is the first time that media integration was upgraded into a national strategic program.
President Xi Jinping urged media to strengthen the “Internet way of thinking”, follow the development law of new media and to speed up the “convergence” between traditional media and the Internet and mobile media.
Confucius’ 2,565 birthday anniversary fuels up traditional culture heat
Chinese president Xi Jinping attended an international symposium to mark the 2,565th birthday of ancient Chinese sage Confucius on September 24 in Beijing. He said that one cannot create a future without learning from the past and encouraged the pubic to advance the essence of traditional culture and values.
Ceremonies were held in a number of cities across the country on the following weekend, including Beijing, Guiyang, Harbin, Changsha, Cangzhou and Qufu, Confucius’ hometown in Shandongprovince. Various cultural events heated up people’s passion for traditional Chinese culture.
24-hour bookstores light up the whole country
Beijing’s first 24-hour bookstore lighted up the night for booklovers in April 2014. Sanlian Taofen Bookstore offered the public a “Midnight Reading Room” by opening its doors 24/7, which has been warmly received by the public.
Inspired by Sanlian, bookshops across the country followed its move successively, including those in Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Shandong and other cities. The idea of “national reading” was widespread.
Cultural stars falling from the sky
A chain of cultural masters died over the past 12 months. They are like shining stars falling from the sky, leaving a beautiful glow in people’s memories. Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away on April 17 at the age of 87. As one of the most prestigious writers of the 20th century, his magic realism and his monumental work One Hundred Years of Solitudewere an essential influence on Chinese contemporary literature.
Famous Japanese love-story novelist Junichirou Watanabe died at the age of 80 at the end of April, with his most well-known work, The Lost Paradise,remembered by the world. Celebrated Chinese philosopher and educator Tang Yijie passed away at 87 in September, leaving outstanding contributions on Chinese culture studies. Famed Chinese writer Zhang Xianliang followed Tang the same month and left the world at the age of 78. Zhang was the representative master of “Trauma litgerature” (literature about the suffering of the cultural revolution) and his popular works, such as My Bodhi Treeand Half of Man is Woman, were highly positioned in contemporary Chinese literary circles