Year of the Monkey connects China and India

By Swaran Singh
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, February 4, 2016
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China is not alone in preparing to celebrate the Year of Monkey.

China's "Monkey King" symbolizes a deeper cultural connection with its biggest neighbor, India. India is not just home to the world's largest number of monkeys but also has a monkey god, Hanuman, as the central character of one of its mythological stories and part of everyday cultural narrative.

The Year of the Monkey should, therefore, offer China and India more avenues to address the arduous task of deepening mutual understanding and trust. For instance, the two neighbors signed a memorandum of understanding on co-producing films during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Beijing in May 2015 and Xuanzang was their priority project. The film is scheduled for a joint release to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Xuanzang, the famous Tang Dynasty (618-907) monk, returned from a 17-year pilgrimage to India in 629 AD with 657 volumes of Buddhist scripture. His pilgrimage was first fictionalized as Journey to the West during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) marking the revival of consciousness about the ancient Silk Road connecting China with India. In the Journey to the West, Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King, protects Xuanzang during his journey to India along with three other characters, Zhu Wuneng (or Zhu Bajie) the Pig, Sha Wujing (or Sandy) and Bailong, a dragon prince who acts as Xuanzang's steed, a white horse.

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