Remembering a great poet and his love of China with a statue and a reading
Updated: 2014-11-17 07:22
By Zhang Yuchen in Beijing(China Daily USA)
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and Liu Yuzhu, assistant minister of China's Ministry of Culture, at the unveiling ceremony of a statue of Pablo Neruda, on Nov12, in Beijing. Provided to China Daily
During his life, the late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was a great admirer of China and its people, conveying a love for the country in works, statements and deeds.
Neruda, who died at age 69 in 1973 and made three trips to China in his lifetime, wrote with fondness about those visits, and returned to Chile to establish a still-operating cultural institute that promotes Chinese culture.
"Neruda, as you know, was a great admirer of China," said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who at the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing, unveiled a bronze statue of the celebrated poet. The statue, located near the Jintai Museum in Beijing, was unveiled on Nov 12, with several Chinese and Chilean dignitaries looking on.
While China and Chile are geographically far apart, the two countries enjoy a close relationship and the statue of Chile's favorite son in China is further proof of those close ties.
"He was here [in China] in 1928, 1951 and 1957," Bachelet said of Neruda at the unveiling. "Regarding his navigation of the Yangtze River on his last visit he wrote: ‘There are few landscapes like this on the earth of such overwhelming beauty."
The artwork, by Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun, recalls that great admiration of the literature giant.
During that trip, Neruda wrote some great poems.
"Those places of stunning beauty we owe some very important texts in Neruda's work and speak to us of the greatness of China," said Bachelet, citing "... From sea to sea / land snow / all men you contemplate / China".
The president added: "Neruda was a man of his time, aware of the beauty, the majesty of the rivers and mountains, but also a great human transformation of his time in China."
The museum's deputy director, Liu Yuanyuan, also recalled the Neruda connection with China. The 1971 Nobel Prize winner was one of the founders of the Chilean Institute of Chinese Culture, established in 1952. For more than 60 years it has actively promoted the culture and arts of China and has served as a meeting place for prominent literary and artistic figures of both nations.
In his memoirs, Neruda wrote: "I confess I have lived the experiences of two trips to China. The first was in 1951, the year in which I had the mission of taking the Lenin Peace Prize to Mrs Song Qingling, widow of Sun Yat-sen." The second was his Yangze River trip.
Neruda, in his first impression of China, pointed out that "the Chinese people are one of the most smiling people. No matter the adversity that faced them, they smile like no other people know how to smile."
At the unveiling, a group of Chinese students recited one of his poems in Spanish and Chinese, with smiles on their faces.