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TCM, martial arts still giants of China's heritage

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 07:36

Ancient cultural treasures maintain modern influence across the world

BEIJING - It is mid-June, and the temperature has reached 40 degrees Celsius on the outskirts of Samarkand, an ancient city in Uzbekistan, where an archaeological team composed of Chinese and Uzbek archaeologists is busy excavating a large tomb of the Yuezhi people.

"The development and prosperity of the ancient Silk Road started with the Yuezhi, an ancient nomadic people in China," said Wang Jianxin, leader of the archaeological team and a professor from China's Northwest University in the city of Xi'an.

Caravans along the ancient Silk Road carried China-made silk, tea and porcelain westward, and brought back while pepper, carrots and horses.

Like the ancient road that had brought change, the modern Belt and Road Initiative will play an important role in facilitating opportunities for both Chinese and non-Chinese alike, as well as helping the outside world understand and enjoy Chinese culture.

Instead of silk and tea, today traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts and language have now become the country's most valuable cultural treasures in the eyes of many.

Peru has embraced Chinese culture ever more as the two countries have developed their economic, trade and social ties in the last decade.

Chinese traditions such as martial arts and acupuncture are popular with Peruvians and act as windows to a distant culture.

In 1992, Vasquez met the great Chinese master Chen Zhengfei, the 11th generation master of Chen-style Tai Chi, and became his disciple.

Since 1994, he has taught Chen-style Tai Chi in Lima and has gathered over 100 disciples, ranging from children under the age of 10 to seniors over 80.

Among them, Marleni Calcina has been training for 13 years. She said after "feeling great stress" at work and in her life, it was Tai Chi that taught her the value of "going slowly".

"My transformation began with Tai Chi, which helped me gain peace and inner harmony," Calcina said. "For me now, practicing Tai Chi is like speaking with my soul."

Suheir Subhi finally got some relief from her chronic shoulder and neck pain, thanks to help originating thousands of miles away and dating back centuries.

Subhi, a 40-year-old advertising professional, is one of the patients receiving care from Ousama Habiballah, the first and only Palestinian in the West Bank city of Ramallah to have had formal training in TCM.

For almost two months, Dr. Habiballah has been providing Subhi with weekly 40-minute sessions of acupuncture, cupping and therapeutic massage at his one-room practice in downtown Ramallah.

"I feel more relaxed and feel the tension greatly reduced. The muscles are more relaxed; the shoulders are more relaxed; the neck is more flexible," Subhi said. "There's a big difference."

Habiballah, in his early 30s, graduated from the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing in 2011. He said his dream is to open a comprehensive center in the West Bank for Chinese philosophy and medicine.

For 87-year-old Peruvian sinologist Guillermo Danino, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative means stronger cultural and humanitarian ties between China and Latin America.

In an article published in local Chinese media in Peru, Danino called on Chinese people to study traditional culture and introduce its core values to the Western world.

"As a native Peruvian, I would like to tell you, hundreds and thousands of Chinese descendants and overseas Chinese, be proud of your culture and your motherland! Please don't stop learning, promoting and spreading Chinese culture. In this way, you will make a greater contribution to Peru and the world."


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