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Poet Honored on 1,300th Birthday


To mark the 1,300th birthday of Li Bai, China's greatest poet of romanticism, Jiangyou City in southwest China’s Sichuan Province will hold the Li Bai Culture Festival from September 22 to 26.

More than 30,000 people from home and abroad will take part in activities including an academic seminar on the poet, the opening of a 20-hectare forest of steles on his masterpieces, trips to his former residence and scenic spots in the city, a large-scale performance by the country's top-notched singers and trade fairs, according to the festival's organizing committee.

Li Bai (701-762), who was born and lived in Jiangyou for 25 years, witnessed the beginning of the decline of the mighty Tang Dynasty (618-907). His poems are known for the strong contempt for the bigwigs, exposure of their corruption, depiction of the country's wonderful natural scenery, profound sympathy for the people's suffering and love for his homeland.

Li Bai is prescribed reading for every Chinese student and foreign student majoring in Chinese literature. Many of his existing 900 poems have been translated into 20 different languages.

To promote the ideals expressed in Li Bai’s poems and make the city known to the outside world, Jiangyou has stressed the spread of the so-called "Li Bai Culture," said Jiangyou Mayor Duan Yang.

Since China adopted the reform and opening policies in the late 1970s, Jiangyou has built China's largest Li Bai Museum housing over 10,000 cultural relics. It has built over 30,000 square meters of Tang-style buildings, including a cultural center, library, calligraphy and painting institute and park, on both sides of the Changhe River in downtown Jiangyou, reminding visitors of the time Li Bai lived in.

The city has set up the country's largest Li Bai Research Society. Each year, cultural activities relating to Li Bai’s poems, such as poetry recital, a lantern festival and Li Bai Cultural Festival are held in the city.

(China Daily 08/06/2001)

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