"Chinese Elements" and "Chinese Culture"
(Clearwisdom.net) During a folk music performance, the curtains were opened, the Chinese musical instrument guzheng was brought out, along with the pipa and erhu. All the traditional 'Chinese musical elements' were more or less there, as were the performers. Then, the presenter declared that the performance was over. The Chinese audience was somewhat confused, but those in the audience not from China perhaps thought that this is how Chinese musical performances should go, and they may even sing high praise of these rare instruments, and consider themselves lucky to have seen them.
That is how I would characterize the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, which was boasted as a collection of "Chinese elements." The "Chinese elements" such as jinghu (Beijing Opera fiddle), calligraphy, paintings, kunqu (Kun opera), flying fairies, Tai Chi, four great inventions, Confucius' disciples, the Silk Road, Zhenghe's voyages to the Western Sea, etc. were all brought out to show people, and then it was finished.
While many in the West admired the "extremely rich and grand" ceremony, some people with an intimate appreciation of genuine Chinese culture felt at a loss, as they did not see or feel the spirit of Chinese culture there, let alone the feeling of the greatness of the "divine land."
Being the host country, wouldn't China want to show the nation's history and culture? Why didn't it show "Chinese culture," but only "Chinese elements"? There are likely some deeper reasons for it. "Elements" are like ingredients in cooking, and they are used for flavoring and decoration. It seems that the directors of the ceremony avoided displaying the profundity of Chinese culture. Maybe they don't even believe that the Chinese culture has a spirit, or they don't dare show the spirit of our traditional culture. Quite simply, though, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that believes in atheism is incapable of conveying the spirit of Chinese culture, which is characterized by belief in and respect for the divine, loyalty, filial piety, moral integrity, benevolence, justice, observance of that which is proper, wisdom and trust, among others.
There was one performance related to the Tao during the opening ceremony, which was the Taichi performance. It was a pity that the performers mixed in a lot of military movements, like crawling and flailing along, completely distorting the Taoist movements. The gymnastics group gave a performance called the "Taiji Emblem." There would have been at least some cultural meaning there if they had shown the actual Taiji Emblem, as that is the symbol of Taoist culture. However, perhaps the directors were worried that by showing such an emblem, they might be propagating "feudalist superstitions," so there was no sign of it during the opening ceremony. I don't mean to say that there must be one, but from this we can see the Chinese Communist mentality at work behind the scenes. It did not want to truly present the Chinese traditional culture, because it is in direct conflict with what the CCP propagates.
During the show, the character "harmony" was repeatedly presented. However, it was no more than lip service to the image of a "harmonious society" that the CCP wanted to present. "Harmony" is a result, not a means to getting there. "Harmony" is the good outcome of respecting Heaven and the divine, and from paying attention to benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and trust. It is a natural state achieved by a society that respects being true, compassionate, and forbearing. If there is no sincerity and trust, whom does one harmonize with? The series of sleight of hand tricks at the opening ceremony, such as the lip-syncing by a girl deemed prettier than the actual singer, computer-generated fireworks images, ethnic Han posing as minorities, fake piano playing and falsified ages of the competitors, brought disgrace to the Chinese nation and what the Games are supposed to be about. As the CCP sets out to propagate its own version of "harmony," it is strangling the spirit of Chinese traditional culture and spares no effort in suppressing good citizens who believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. How could such a society be in true harmony?