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Culture and the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
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In the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a
commentator stated that this represented the first step of China
onto the world stage. It may come as a surprise to some people, but
China has been on the world stage for a very long time--almost as
long as there have been people!
China has had a continuous written history since the Chinese
invented paper in the second century B.C. They celebrated this
invention in my favorite part of the opening ceremony, directed by
well-known Chinese film dirfector Zhang Yimou, the section with
the huge CGI scroll. It featured the four great inventions of
China--paper (the scroll itself), gunpowder (the spectacular
fireworks), printing (the rippling display of moveable type), and the
compass (the syncopated dancers wielding oars in the trade secton).
Each of these inventions has had a profound effect on the history of
the world. We should be grateful for their civilizing influences, and
cautious of their destructive ones. The four great inventions have
been used both to bring the world together and to divide it. I, for
one, appreciated the Chinese emphasis on unity rather than division.
This month, I plan to feature the Five Dynasties of China, the major
religions of China, and what we as Americans can learn from China.
I'd like to hear your thoughts about China, the Olympics, this
website, and anything else that's on your mind. Just email me at