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Bilingual Film by WKU to Show Wenzhou in the Eyes of Foreign Scholars
【Fonts: Large Medium Small 【Source: Wenzhou·China 【Date: 2020.11.17】

Professor from WKU offered suggestions for the “pastoral scene” of the Zhaoshandu Diversion Canal.

“This is an idyllic pastoral scene!” exclaimed Vincent Peu Duvallon, professor from Department of Architecture of Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU), “Everything next to the diversion canal is beautiful.” At the press conference of “Find Wenzhou with Wenzhou-Kean University” series on November 9, Professor Vincent Peu Duvallon gave professional suggestions for the transformation of the Zhaoshandu Diversion Canal that runs through the Caocun Town.

With the support of the Office of the Cyberspace Affairs Commission of Wenzhou Municipal Party Committee, WKU has launched 3 episodes of the “Find Wenzhou with Wenzhou-Kean University” series by now, which are “Beautiful Caocun Town: A Humanistic World Built upon Nature” and “Intangible Cultural Heritage: To Inherit, To Last”, “Wenruitang River: A Living River Runs for Thousands of Years”. Foreign teachers at WKU from France and the U.S. visited the “first town for farming in China” - the Caocun Town in Rui’an (county-level) City, Wenzhou intangible cultural heritage art and the Wenruitang River, and presented the landscape and humanities of Wenzhou in the form of bilingual short films to everyone who likes Wenzhou and Chinese culture.

Beauty of Wenzhou in the Eyes of Foreign Scholars

French architect Vincent Peu Duvallon has lived in China for 8 years. More often than not, he introduced the “thousand-year old town” Caocun Town from his professional perspective to friends around the world. Walking between ancient and modern in the town, he is exposed to the interaction between humanities and historical buildings in each village. In addition to the movable type printing, he pays particular attention to the rural landscape and environment, and the way people create them. In Xu’ao Village, he found many ancient bridges with different functions, which integrate rivers into villages and connect the cultural heritages along the way. “Legacy itself is intangible,” he said, “if we can understand this wisdom as much as possible, our conservation work will be of better quality and becomes meaningful to the new generation.” To him, the uniqueness of the town lies not only in the beautiful mountains, but also in the people who have created this landscape. They turned the place into one rich in food and clothing.

In the eyes of Mieke Paulsen Bahme, an art history professor from WKU, cultural heritages like fine-grained papercuts, boxwood carvings and Ou Opera are the continuation of the vibrant and prosperous traditions and the “living history” she has been looking for in Wenzhou. “One of the greatness about fine-grained papercuts is that it bears the origin of an ancient tradition in a space.” Intangible cultural heritage makes her feel the loneliness of an individual, as well as the carnival of a group. “Dragon boating is impressive. It tells me the collective spirit of Wenzhouese. They know not to rely merely on themselves. Collective victory is individual victory.”

Professor Toby Michelena has a special liking for Wenzhou’s Mother River -- the Wenruitang River. As a professor in the WKU Department of Biology, he mainly studies the organic matters, bacteria and the existing pollutants in the Wenruitang River and their impact on the ecosystem in an effort to develop new technologies to prevent and eliminate pollution. During the ride, he found an underdeveloped riverside, where farmland nearby is in semi-open state, transportation and fishing are still very active, and the water is very clear. By comparing the composition of this section of water, he aspired to make a breakthrough in water management. “Participating in the management of the Wenruitang River is to the benefit of people living by the river.” Having stayed in Wenzhou for five years and having studied the Wenruitang River for three and a half years, he said that he would continue to be the “guard of the Wenruitang River.”

Inject International Genes into “Green Hills and Blue Waters”

“I think multiple step ladders can be added to the diversion canal so that visitors can get off the canal and enjoy the pastoral scenery at close range.” After the memorable trip to the Caocun Town, Professor Vincent Peu Duvallon figured out an immediate suggestion for the renovation of the Zhaoshandu Diversion Canal in the hope to attract the attention of relevant departments at the press conference. According to him, step ladder design draws on the bridges in famous rural landscapes in the U.S., France, South Korea, etc., and offers a variety of ways for the Zhaoshandu Diversion Canal to reach the countryside. He said that the bridge of the Zhaoshandu Diversion Canal connects several villages, and is a hub that connects man-made buildings with natural landscapes when viewed from afar. People need to walk down the diversion canal and discover the “beauty” of the countryside from more angles.

As the only Sino-American cooperative university in Zhejiang Province, WKU has a team of over 130 foreign teachers from 35 countries who cherish different views on the city of Wenzhou. Professor Gary Linebarger, Dean of the English Department of WKU School of Humanities, likes to study Buddhism in particular. He has visited many historic temples in Wenzhou, looking for old photos of the East and West Pagodas on Jiangxin Islet in Wenzhou and the historical development of Buddhism in Wenzhou . “Buddhist culture can be a fulcrum for Wenzhou to catch the eyes of the world,” he remarked. Besides, he has also translated The Wenruitang River Chronicle into English with the help of his students and promoted it overseas. He hopes that more Wenzhouese students could focus on culture and find the genes for Wenzhou to go global.

Wenzhou is a well-known hometown of overseas Chinese in China. 688,900 Wenzhouese have started their businesses all over the world and established more than 300 overseas Chinese delegations in over 130 countries and regions. Wenzhou’s special urban background and cultural tradition places upon the city a special historical mission and responsibility. “The promotion of Wenzhou by foreign teachers and their professional suggestions based on a more visionary perspective are too important for the development of Wenzhou,” said Wang Dan, Deputy Secretary General of the Municipal Party Committee, Deputy Director of the Municipal Party Committee Publicity Department, and Director of the Office of the Cyberspace Affairs Commission of the Municipal Party Committee. Overseas Chinese, overseas students and foreign teachers who come to Wenzhou worldwide are the “envoys” to spread the positive energy on the Internet and to enhance Sino-Western friendship.

It is reported that the series videos will be broadcast on major domestic video platforms, as well as WKU’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts, to promote the beauty of Wenzhou to the world. WKU will continue to invite more professional foreign scholars to visit Wenzhou, show Wenzhou with fresh eyes, and, relying on their professionalism, inject international genes into the culture of Wenzhou.

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