What are your first thoughts about symbols of Chinese culture? The Great Wall, the Bird's Nest or Peking opera?
A survey among 2,000 college students shows that Confucius,traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and former chairman Mao Zedong broke into the top 10 Chinese cultural icons among the 270 candidates.
Portrait of Confucius. [File Photo]
The survey is a result of research on the development strategy of the soft power of Chinese culture, which is a major project of the national social science foundation. Other items on the top 10 list are Chinese characters, calligraphy, the Great Wall, the five-star national flag, the Imperial Palace, statesman Deng Xiaoping and the Terracotta Warriors.
The investigation found that icons of contemporary culture lag behind those of traditional culture. For example, representative contemporary figures like Jay Chou, a 32-year-old pop singer, and Han Han, a best-selling author rank behind 200 on the list. Other low-ranking icons are literary characters, such as Sun Wukong, also known as Monkey King in the classical novel Journey to the West and Lin Daiyu, principal character of the romantic novel Dream of the Red Chamber. The top 50 icons mainly contain historical celebrities like Confucius and Mencius, modern politicians like Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong, and influential writers like Lu Xun.
The result of the survey showed the influence of modern and contemporary culture needs great promotion, said Wang Yichuan, professor at School of Art and Communication of Beijing Normal University and leader of the research. Cultural symbols in the fields of science and technology, economic brands and media should also be enhanced, he said.
The purpose of the investigation is to find out the perception of college students and current situation of the soft power of Chinese culture, said professor Dong Xiaoping, co-leader of the research at Beijing Normal University.
The research covered 24 universities nationwide.
(China Daily January 5, 2011)