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The Value Cherished by Chinese People

An interesting and meaningful story:

A little cafe within the Forbidden City opened its business in October, 2000, located in a small room adjacent to the southern gate, selling coffees and snacks for tourists.

It sounds good because so many tourists are complaining that they can not find a place to loosen their leg muscle or fill their stomach while enjoying this vast museum (there is another name for the Forbidden City - The Palace Museum). Nobody supposed that such a tiny cafe would arouse a fervent, months-lasting debate over the Internet and newspapers. Many Beijing residents ask the museum administrators to shut down the cafe immediately.

But why? Because they are selling unhealthy food? or selling something illegal?

No. "Because they are selling coffee!", A Beijingnese told the media, "We won't say a word if this is a tea house. But when it comes to a coffee shop (cafe), it affects the HARMONY in the Forbidden City." (You must understand this: there are lots of people in China regard coffee shop as a synonym of western culture.)

Yes, harmony, that's the point. In fact, you can find handfuls of "harmony" in the Forbidden City where had been the imperial home of 24 emperors of The Central Empire: Gate of Supreme Harmony - the largest free-standing gate in the city; Hall of Supreme Harmony - the city's central palace where the most important ceremonies like enthronements were held; Hall of Medium Harmony and Hall of Protective Harmony; The overall architectural layout is based on the principle of balance and symmetry, which is another expression of harmony. And, if you have a deeper knowledge of Chinese culture, you can find that symbolic meanings such as benevolence, peace and harmony in almost anything within the Forbidden City...

What will you expect to see or get while visiting the Forbidden City after traveling half way of the globe from your Florida or New England hometown? Is it the sumptuously-furnished palace? The exotic grandeur of halls, pavilions, gardens? Or the innumerable works of art and cultural artifacts? Yes. But I think - or hope - you can get more.

Just like people from all over the world visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York, what they got is far beyond a statue masterpiece but a better understanding of liberty, freedom and democracy - the values cherished by the people who built this status, and a better understanding of the people who live there, the Forbidden City provides a window for people outside China to look into this oriental country which has a history of 5000 years, and the people who created this splendid masterpiece.

Profoundly influenced by traditional Chinese philosophies of Confucianism and Taoism, Chinese people regard harmony as an ultimate principle. They continually seek harmonious relationship between humans and the universe, between humans and the nature, between people and their neighbors, between nations... They believe that only after you have found the harmony between the inner and outer world, you can reach the eternal immortalisation of your life. Better understanding this, you can understand the people better. People from different cultural background need something to communicate or exchange their points of view. The cultural heritages such as the Forbidden City and the Statue of Liberty do the job.

Chinese people are friendly and peace-loving people, just as friendly and peace-loving as the Americans and people around the world. What we need is just more understanding of each other. After all, we are living in the same planet.

"Welcome to China. Welcome to the Forbidden City." Believe me, this will be the warmly greeting you can expect when you visit Beijing, now and forever...

Story Courtesy to Julienwen

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