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2017-04-10    来源:爱语吧    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


In 1647, three years after Manchu forces overtook the Ming court to rule China, the country was still in turbulence as advocates of the old regime battled the new. Xia Wanchun was one of them. The 16-year-old was captured but he refused to surrender, instead choosing to die for his cause.



The teenager’s sacrifice has fade in modern history, but a recent TV program on Heilongjiang provincial satellite channel brought the 17th-century fighter back to spotlight.


Letters Alive, a 12-episode culture program to showcase the enduring charm of written correspondence, invited actor Lin Gengxin to read Xia’s last letter to his family. To date, the program with 11 star performers reading 90 remarkable letters has been watched nearly 200 million times on the streaming site v.qq.com and miaopai.com. There’s a studio audience as well.


Up to 14 percent of the letters read on screen were written toward the end of a writer’s life. The majority are from Communist revolutionaries and military officers, with the rest penned by famous people who either committed suicide or suffered from major diseases.


Hailed as "serious" among mainly entertainment programs today, Letters Alive got high marks on Douban.com, a popular Chinese platform.


For producers, the overwhelming response to the program has not only been uplifting but has also highlighted a trend that they want to explore further.


Zhang Zixuan, the program’s chief editor who led the selection of letters from more than 10,000 entries, has read many wills and death-bed letters.


He said the crew selected the letters from online resources or handwritten copies, and the team discovered that military officers and soldiers regularly wrote final letters before big battles.


China’s mainstream education actually avoids talking about death, with such clues seen clearly in ancient school texts influenced by Confucius philosophy. It values the meaning of life and urges people to optimistically strive for this life, Zhang said.


Most Chinese would not prepare for death even after being seriously ill for long, he said.


But wartime is an exceptional time and probably creates the largest number of wills in every era, he said.


Warriors were ordered to write the last letters to their families. And the survivors would write other ’last letters’ for the next battle if they didn’t die in the last.


Many letters were written during the Chinese attempt to protect Changsha, capital of Hunan province, against Japanese invasion that caused 130,000 casualties among Chinese troops between 1939 and 1944. Up to 1,500 such letters were penned by Chinese troops during the battle, Zhang said.


The TV program displayed one letter from Chu Dinghou, a Kuomingtang sergeant who was killed in a battle near the north bank of Liuyang River in eastern Hunan in 1941.


His last letter to his older brother showed his determination in a desperate situation: his army column was ordered to fight until the last person to resist the Japanese invaders after a Kuomingtang backup failed to arrive in time.


Zhang said the letter shows unyielding Chinese patriotism. For Guan Zhengwen, the program’s chief director, the letters give a glimpse of Chinese values.


He cited the example of Yang Kaihui, Mao Zedong’s wife, who was executed by a warlord in 1930 at the age of 29 after she refused to renounce Mao and the Communist Party.


She was the mother of three children. You can sense the affection for her children through her letter, Guan said.


Guan also mentioned that Xia, the 16-year-old who died for the Ming court, made a moral choice to be faithful to the education he had received and the culture he had inherited.


Reading his last letter thrilled me. It’s really hard to imagine how a teenager calmly wrote down the words as he prepared for his execution, Guan added.


Other than letters from brave people, the words left behind by some others are also thought-provoking. Such cases include the last letter by Qiu Wenzhou, a Taiwan father who wrote to his daughter, who was 6-year-old, before he died of cancer.


Liu Yu, executive director of the program, said a last letter is "a solemn ceremony to say farewell". "For family and friends, a last letter is an important legacy," Liu added.


He said many Chinese don’t write wills or publish obituaries, and that they should write such letters to make sure that their children and loved ones follow their wishes after they are gone.


But a look back at China’s history and culture over the past 2,000 years may help understand more about Chinese outlook on life and death.


Yang Yu, a professor of ancient literature at the Changsha-based Central South University as well as a guest commentator on the TV show, said Chinese mainly regard death as an inevitably end of life.


Deeply influenced by Confucius philosophy, they can use faith to resist the fear of death, as well as the wish to pass on their knowledge and wealth to blood relations, she said.


Giving the instance of Zhuang Zi, an ancient philosopher who played a drum to laugh and sing after his wife’s death, Yang said Taoists take death as a natural process to see a return to life’s origin.


Qiu Anxiong, a Shanghai-based artist, echoed the view. He said the Taoist philosophy rooted in the theories of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi over 2,000 years ago, deems life as eternal to make followers more accepting of death.


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