Graceful Tunes, New Voices
Beijing has shown its growing vitality during its 3,000 years of history as a city and more than 860 years of history as a capital.
Like any other city, Beijing has its unique local culture, with four dimensions—an ancient capital, a revolutionary base, a city enriched with local customs and culture and a cradle of innovation. These dimensions form a comprehensive culture and display the city’s charm. Beijing boasts historical and cultural legacies formed over its long period of development. It maintains its revolutionary traditions. It has customs and habits featuring local flavour and reflecting the cultural temperament of locals. It also functions as a national cultural centre with various innovations. Every Beijinger preserves, inherits and develops Beijing’s culture.
One may find the city worthy of exploration from many perspectives.
Culture endows the city with gracefulness, enduring value and vitality. These qualities are infused in the city, which also continues to pursue more development and prosperity.
Every Beijinger has his or her favourite landmark. In this issue, we cast our eyes on the ancient Liulichang Cultural Street. The “Intangible Heritage” column introduces the Restoration Department of the Cathay Bookshop on the street, established in 1956. It is one of the few institutes in China working to restore ancient books. This institute occupies a unique position for book collectors. Restorers repair these rare books using their unique craftsmanship.
Forever Young, a film about the spirit of “establishing oneself through meritorious deeds as well as speech” of Tsinghua University, was recently screened. It depicts how intellectuals assumed the responsibilities of their time. The “Exhibitions” column introduces Alone in the High Tower —Commemorative Exhibition of Wang Guowei’s 140th Anniversary of Birth at Tsinghua University Art Museum. Readers can learn about the spiritual ethos of Wang Guowei (1877–1927), a professor of Tsinghua University, and other elite scholars.
While demonstrating its graceful charm, Beijing writes new chapters with innovation. The rebuilding of the turret of Zuo’anmen Gate is an example. The turret has been rebuilt into a library with rich local characteristics. As an ornate-looking building, the library restores its ancient charm; it also has many new functions to keep abreast with the times and benefit the public, and displays momentum in developing Beijing’s cultural and creative industry. The planning and rebuilding of the turret of Zuo’anmen Gate has drawn attention. Our “Around Beijing” column details stories behind the reconstruction of the corner tower and explains Beijing’s efforts to build the cultural centre.
Beijingers love the city’s cultural spirit, which continues despite the city’s vast changes; they admire the city for its elegance, which hasn’t been lost in its long history; they also love its new look and vibrancy in a new era. While graceful notes are retained, new voices of development are frequently heard, as everyone awaits an even better Beijing.