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CPPCC Member Fan Jinshi: Protection of Cultural Legacy is A Systematic Project

Date: 2017-03-10
A short-haired and energetic lady, though with more white hairs than black ones, Fan Jinshi is sitting at a group discussion of the fifth meeting of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), sometimes deeply absorbed in her own thoughts and at other times listening to the discussion with a gentle smile on her face. The member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and Honorary Director of Dunhuang Research Academy is a much sought-after “culture star” of the media. At the moment, the almost septuagenarian “daughter of Dunhang” is surrounded by several journalists and bombarded by one question after another. She is answering them one by one.

“What’s your proposal this year?”

She smiled, “It’s about protecting cultural relics with modern technology. I have been accused of knowing little more than the protection of cultural items.”

Starting from 1993, she has been a member of the CPPCC National Committee for five terms, from the eighth all the way to the 12th. She told journalists the past 25 years had dyed her hair pale. An expert on the protection of cultural relics, she spent over 50 years studying and protecting Dunhuang at her research academy where she began her career right after her graduation from Beijing University in 1963.

She recalls clearly it was 12 years ago when she put forward the proposal of building a tourist service center at the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang. In 2007, a program was initiated based on her proposal. Members of a committee handling proposals arrived in Dunhuang to collect information and opinions from government officials, experts, and the ordinary people. In 2014, a digital display center at the Mogao Grottoes was officially opened to the public, greatly easing the burden on the receiving capacity of the grottoes caused by a massive inflow of tourists. Digital and multimedia display technologies also enable the viewers to understand the art of the grottoes in a more in-depth way. “I could not have made this happen if I had not been a CPPCC member. The CPPCC has a very efficient system to supervise the implementation of our proposals.”

Ms. Zhu Yan, the prima ballerina of the National Ballet of China, told us she and Ms. Fan served together as representatives of the women’s association at the CPPCC when the National Ballet of China was working on a piece about Dunhuang. They went to Dunhuang in 2015 to learn more about its culture and Ms. Fan would spent entire evenings with them explaining the history of the Mogao Grottoes for members of the choreography team.

Ms. Fan said, “Twenty-five years of working as a CPPCC members has taught me analytical thinking.” She has been constantly learning from others when representatives of different political parties, ethnic groups, and sectors of society sit together to voice their opinions. During these discussions, she realized the protection of the cultural legacy is a systematic project. In addition to the preservation and restoration of cultural relics, there are also other relevant factors to consider, such as in environmental protection, science and technology protection, education and inheritance. In this year’s proposals, she is calling for greater attention on protecting cultural relics from more sectors of society.

“Digitization will enable our cultural legacy to live on forever.” Right after these words, another journalist approached her with a question, “Ms. Fan, what are you going to propose this year?” And again, Ms. Fan is patiently retelling her story about the protection of cultural relics.