On our way to China

Natalia , PO

Although almost every corner of the world has been discovered, everyone can be a discoverer. Going to a library or searching through the Internet’s news is enough to awaken tremendous curiosity for places and phenomena around us. We may not be shown on the front pages of some famous newspapers, but we would enthuse ourselves with an idea of infinite exploring, meeting new communities, admiring unusual pieces of architecture.

China is one of these countries which location or the capital city is hard to forget, even if our last geography lesson took place several dozens of years ago. Economic prominence on the map of the world, as well as huge quantity of products exported from the Middle Kingdom result in even average European realising the great significance of China.

Moreover, not only do countries of the European Union cooperate with the Chinese on economic field more and more often (they are the biggest business partner of this country), but also some advanced research is done together. A lot of international projects and frequent students’ exchanges to some Chinese universities contribute to development of diverse scientific branches. The shared aspiration toward the innovation is seen in many disciplines e.g. biotechnology, genetic engineering or clean energy. The fruits of cooperation are shown on “The Research and Innovation Tour” in several Chinese cities.

This country was a big riddle for me. Even though I knew the most famous inventions and discoveries from China as well as I associated basic historical events, I still felt lost among names sounding very strange. All the news from the Far East were highlighting something that was obvious for majority of people – the fact that local areas were unrolling at the rate of growth.

The breakthrough in the relationship between me and China took place when I had to choose my field of study. My interest in literature led me to study Chinese. I wanted to discover a completely different culture and see how similar or distinct people from the various parts of the world are. Although my oriental adventure at the university will begin in October, I have been learning Chinese characters for a few months. Furthermore, I have been reading pieces of some literary works.

I have not been so curious about etymology of words in any other language so far. It certainly is correlated with pictorial style of writing, more sophisticated than alphabet that I use every day. I value traditional Chinese very much. It shows the meaning of a phrase in a striking way. The well-known example is 馬 (meaning: horse). These 4 lines representing its feet always touch me.

Chinese literature is a considerable challenge for people who have just started to discover it. Particularly poetry, rich in peculiar comparisons and metaphors, without footnotes seems incomprehensible. In spite of it, I appreciate the artistry and the colourfulness of Li Bai’s poems that show the everyday life of the Chinese a few hundred years ago in a vivid way. However, it’s philosophical works that are the most valuable for me. One of the remarkable sages’ writing is a treaty containing expositions of the great philosopher of ancient China, master Mo. One of the chapters entitled “Condemning the aggressive war” is a consideration about understanding justice by some governments. It is appalling that authorities are condemning single felonies, glorifying victorious wars. There, on battlefields, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, dying for lords’ ambitions.

I realise that these areas hide plenty of secrets and surprises which discovering I feel being invited to. The beauty of landscapes (e.g. The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, inspiration for authors of the film “Avatar”) delights and encourages to contemplate the wonders of nature. The architecture links the cultural legacy of previous ages (The Forbidden City) with the modernity (Beijing Central Business District). The appearance of cities show that China doesn’t forget about its roots, however it is not afraid of challenges that the contemporary world brings. The result is that they are becoming an associate of the European Union in many fields, from the business and the trade to some scientific activity.

From 1975, when vice-president of the European Economic Community Commission Christopher Soames visited China a lot of time has passed. The cooperation lasts uninterruptedly and its fruits are visible for everyone. This bond will be developing and I hope that thanks to it we will be able to create the unity in the diversity someday.

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