Queen’s marks China’s 60th

Chinese studies club attracts about 30 to celebrations last night

Ludwig Wang, Comm ’11, sings in celebration of Chinese National Day.
Ludwig Wang, Comm ’11, sings in celebration of Chinese National Day.

Last night, several dozen students gathered on campus to celebrate a very special birthday—the 60th birthday of modern China.

The Queen’s Association of Chinese Studies (QACS) organized Chinese National Day celebrations, which took place in Robert Sutherland Hall. Anyone with an interest in Chinese culture was invited to attend.

The night’s events included speeches from keynote speakers, live music and video streaming of National Day celebrations in China and around the world.

Vivian Tang, ArtSci ’11 and QACS co-chair, said there was a lot of support for the event despite the People’s Republic of China’s turbulent history over the past 60 years.

“I haven’t met with anyone who has been against the event,” she said. “We hope to provide the space to discuss various ideas, because there has been much controversy in China.”

Tang said in advance of the event that she thought the celebration would garner more attention on campus because of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which brought focus to China.

“I feel like since the Olympics, the world has become more aware of China and realizing it’s a major force.” Tang said QACS is a politically neutral club.

“We’re not a pro-PRC [People’s Republic of China] event and we’re not a pro-PRC group,” she said. “The main mandate of Queen’s Association of Chinese Studies or QACS is that we want to provide events and an environment for students to be able to discuss, discover and learn about China.”

Religious studies professor James Miller told the Journal via e-mail that China has made great strides in developing as a nation since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949.

“Over the past 60 years China has achieved something close to a miracle when compared with other developing nations,” he said. “It by and large manages to feed, educate, house and employ a fifth of the world’s population.”

Miller said the political system in China provides freedom and security for its citizens. “Its social and political system provides sufficient stability for the vast majority of its people to pursue their own livelihoods in a rational and predictable way,” he said, adding that China is also a creditor nation and isn’t involved in futile and expensive military conflicts.

Francis Tse, ArtSci ’10 and QACS chair 2008-09, started the night by giving a short talk about the history of celebrating National Day. He said he thinks it’s important for Chinese Canadians to celebrate and remember their culture.

“Chinese are the biggest visible minority in Canada,” he said. “Celebrating Chinese National Day symbolizes Canada’s tolerance and multiculturalism and gives the opportunity for overseas Chinese to remember their [home] country.”

Tse, a founding member of QACS, said the group aims to inspire discussion about the questions that surround Chinese politics and society. “We want to provide a platform for students to talk about the issues,” he said.

During his talk, Tse said he hopes to see China continue to develop and grow over the next decade.

“I hope the next time we sit together in another 10 years, China will be an even stronger nation.”

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