The International Symposium Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Establishment of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies & 70th Anniversary of the Publishing of Red Star Over China Held in Peking University
On October 17, 2008, The International Symposium Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Establishment of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies & 70th Anniversary of the Publishing of Red Star Over China was held at Yingjie Exchange Center of Peking University. Delegates attending the symposium included Xu Zhihong, President of Peking University, Ling Qing, Honorary President of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, Jin Yongjian, President of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, Bill Skaggs, Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City, Gary Pettett, President of Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation, Wang Xuezhen, Vice Chairman of Peking University Council, and more than 40 scholars from China and the United States. Li Yansong, Assistant President of Peking University and Director of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies presided the symposium.
In his speech, President Xu Zhihong extended warm welcome to the guests on behalf of Peking University, and expressed sincere congratulations on the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies and the 70th anniversary of the publishing of Red Star Over China. He pointed out that the symposium provided a good platform to demonstrate that the contemporary scholars of Peking University are following the path pioneered by Mr. Snow, continue to promote and show China’s development and progress to the world, strive to enhance mutual understanding between people of the world and the Chinese people, and make new contributions to the promotion of the friendship between China and the rest of the world and the world’s lasting peace.
He Liliang, Advisory Board Member of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, read out the congratulatory letter from Huang Hua, Honorary Director of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies and Former Vice Premier. The congratulatory letter said that since the establishment of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies at Peking University, Snow studies have opened up a new dimension in its scope and depth, making new contributions in promoting China-US friendship.
Jin Yongjian, President of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, Bill Skaggs, Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City, and Gary Pettett, President of Edgar Snow Memorial Fund, also addressed the symposium. They recalled Snow’s monumental achievements as the first foreign journalist to visit the northern Shaanxi Soviet Area to “uncover truth and promote justice”. They also recalled Edgar Snow’s profound friendship with PKU faculties and students, and gladly spoke highly of the outstanding contributions of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies to the promotion of China-US academic exchanges and friendship.
Later, Xu Zhihong, Jin Yongjian, and Gary Pettett jointly unveiled China Center for Edgar Snow Studies. Xu presented gifts to Bill Skaggs and Ye Tiehua. All delegates took a group photo at the entrance of Yingjie Exchange Center.
In the second part of the symposium, Gong Wenxiang, Professor of School of Journalism and Communication, Peking University, Chen Xiuxia, Vice President of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, and Zhang Zhuhong, Professor of Department of History, Peking University, gave keynote speeches. Under the theme of “the perception of China”, Professor Gong Wenxiang analyzed the stereotype about China and misunderstanding of Snow in the eyes of the Americans from the perspective of the gap between the perception and the reality, urging that “cooperation between the two major countries is very important to the world, and we all have responsibility to promote cooperation”. In her speech entitled “Edgar Snow’s Outstanding and Unique Contribution: Showing the Chinese Revolution to the World”, Ms. Chen Xiuxia introduced how Red Star Over China was written and published and its positive influence at home and abroad, and spoke highly of Edgar Snow’s outstanding contribution to the introduction of the Chinese revolution to the world. Based on his own experience of reading Red Star Over China five times, Professor Zhang Zhuhong told the audience what he learned from the book and the book’s influence on him. He believed the book is a masterpiece of everlasting value and one of the best books that will remain in his memory, and recommended the book to contemporary youngsters.
Mr. Xu Junqi and Ms. Ye Tiehua donated RMB 500,000 as research fund to China Center for Edgar Snow Studies and were appointed as Council of the Center. After receiving the letter of appointment, Ms. Ye said the appointment brought great honor to her and her husband, and they would do their best to make greater contributions to academic research.
After the symposium, President Xu Zhihong told reporters in an interview that the “contemporary Snow spirit” can be understood as “forging China-US friendship and expanding bilateral exchanges”. He hoped that China would be more open, and more efforts can be made to expand China-US university exchanges and strengthen China-US cooperation so as to jointly build a harmonious world.
According to Li Yansong, Director of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies, the purpose of the Center is to further study and introduce the deeds and works of Edgar Snow and other international friends, and promote their excellent character. The Center plans to invite University of Missouri and Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation to jointly establish the Edgar Snow Reading room of Peking University to help young people understand Edgar Snow and his immortal spirit. ( PKU News reporter: Yu Xiao )
Expanding Dialogue between China and the World through Academic Symposium: Interview with Li Yansong, Assistant President of Peking University and Director of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies
Fluent in English, reserved and wise, the chair Li Yansong demonstrated the typical Chinese temperament in the international dialogue.
On October 17, 2008, Chinese and foreign guests gathered at Yingjie Exchange Center of Peking University to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies. Peking University held the International Symposium Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Publishing of Red Star Over China. Chinese and foreign scholars delivered keynote speeches at the symposium to express their great respect for Snow.
As Assistant President of Peking University, Li Yansong has been committed to the exchange and cooperation between Peking University and world-renowned universities. Appointed Director of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies at the end of 2006, he has witnessed the development of the Center in the past two years. From being approved as an interdisciplinary center in January 2007, to successfully hosting the International Symposium Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Helen Foster Snow in September 2007, the Center has been growing in its international influence, becoming an important platform for international academic exchange of Peking University.
Three Directors of the Center: Wang Xuezhen (central), Hao Ping and Li Yansong
In the interview, Li Yansong first recalled the original purpose of establishing China Center for Edgar Snow Studies. Snow came to China in the 1930s and became a lecturer of Department of Journalism, Yenching University. The first draft of Red Star Over China first circulated at Yan Garden and caused a sensation. The book showed the world the real picture of the Soviet Area and the struggle of Mao Zedong and his comrades. During his years at Yenching University, he made the visits many times and actively assisted in the students’ patriotic democratic movement, which enabled him to forge profound friendship with PKU faculties and students. With the aim of “inheriting the spirit of Edgar Snow and expanding international exchange”, Peking University established the non-profit organization dedicated to academic research on March 4, 1993.
“Uncovering truth and upholding justice”, Li Yansong shed light on Edgar Snow’s spirit. This spirit has influenced generations of Chinese people. The attitude of seeking truth and upholding justice has set an example for journalists and become a model for contemporary youngsters. With the development of the times, Edgar Snow’s spirit has been deepened and enriched, with “enhancing mutual understanding and friendly exchanges” becoming the call of our times. “We play a part in academic exchange between Chinese and American universities, and the dialogue between China and the world through hosting international symposiums”. He summarized the new mission of the Center in the new era, which is of far-reaching significance.
As for the topic of “planning”, he elaborated with great interest on the new measures the Center will take in international exchange in the future. “The focus will be establishing a database to sort out and collect archives, books and papers about Edgar Snow and other international friends. It is a cooperation project between Peking University and University of Missouri.” Li Yansong expressed his hope that the students of Peking University can make full use of this database to improve their understanding of Edgar Snow and be inspired by his spirit so as to undertake the important mission of carrying out international exchange.
After the interview, Li Yansong got in a special car. He will show Chinese and foreign friends around the campus of Peking University and pay tribute to Edgar Snow at his tomb. We believe that the Center will have a promising future which is as brilliant as the smile on his face. ( PKU News reporter: Bai Huiyuan )